Name Change

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

For nearly twenty years I’ve been a member
of the “Men’s Spiritual Nurture Group”
at my Quaker meeting. 
There is also of course a
“Women’s Spiritual Nurture Group.”
Equality a Quaker testimony.
No creeds, but we do have a few testimonies.
But as of last week’s
Monthly Meeting for Business
(which is short for the official name,
“Monthly Meeting for Worship
with a Concern for Business”—
some make a point
of using the longer form),
we are now
“The Spiritual Nurture Group
for People Who Identify as Men.”
Corresponding change
on the women’s side.
Also, a new group was formed,
to be called
“The Spiritual Nurture Group
Where All People Are Welcome”—
a name which I think
puts the group that I’m in
at a disadvantage
as far as attracting new members,
and implies something about us
which does not really describe
the tone
or spirit of the group.
But let it go.
We discussed the proposal,
before it was approved
by the Meeting as a whole,
at the Men’s Group,
and I asked
whether it was time
to start over—
put all the names in a hat
and go with two
non-gender-specific groups.
But the men, or
the people who identify as men,
were clear that they (good pronoun)
want to continue
with the group
as configured. 
We have some history together,
though the cast of characters evolves,
people come and go—and
apparently there is some ground
of maleness,
whatever the hell it is,
that some people
who identify as men
feel and share.
There was no objection
to the new group being formed.
A couple of guys said they
might want to join that one too.
You can always use more spiritual nurture.

Howard Nelson

Howard Nelson is a member of Poplar Ridge (N.Y.) Meeting, currently serving as recording clerk (he considers this poem to be a different style of recording). He’s been writing poetry for 50 years or so, and his most recent book is That Was Really Something.

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