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Genesee Valley Meeting Formed in New York

By Suzanne Blackburn, Genesee Valley clerk

Dansville Worship Group has been meeting for worship on and off for over a decade. In recent years, the group has been under the care of Alfred Monthly Meeting, New York Yearly Meeting, with several members of Alfred alternating worshiping between the two groups. Over time, attendance settled within the two groups and the time seemed right for Friends in Dansville to be more independent from Alfred. This fall, Alfred approved the formation of the Dansville group as a preparative meeting and initiated the process of subdividing into two independent meetings. A special committee was formed at Farmington-Scipio Regional Fall Gathering to work with the two groups during this transition.

The transition to a preparative meeting has been a very exciting time for us. Meeting for Business and making decisions as a community has brought us closer together. At our first Meeting for Business on November 6, 2011, Dansville Preparative Meeting renamed itself Genesee Valley Meeting, Religious Society of Friends, aka Genesee Valley Quaker Meeting. We felt led to change our name to reflect the wide geographic area we serve. We have reached out to other community groups in the Genesee Valley (south of Rochester) and are forming a friendly partnership with Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace.

We have a core group of three families (with nine kids ranging in age from two up to 11), with other families from Alfred Monthly Meeting or from the local community who also attend regularly. We meet for worship on odd Sundays of the month. First Day school gathers before Meeting for Worship, from 9:30 to 10 a.m. One of our greatest strengths is that all of the parents sign up to lead First Day school on a rotating basis, whether for the school-age kids or the toddler group. We worship in the unprogrammed tradition from 10 to 11. The kids stay in worship for 20-30 minutes and then, if they would like to, leave to play together under the supervision of a volunteer childcare provider.

We have several days of semi-programmed worship planned throughout the year in which we will read stories, sing songs, share other talents with one another and enjoy a meal together. We look forward to building up our adult religious education and enrichment program in the coming year.