Articles & News

Tell senators: Oppose anti-immigrant bills. Support sanctuary cities.

American Friends Service Committee - Mon, 07/10/2017 - 2:32pm

 

Last week the House passed two anti-immigrant bills that, if passed by the Senate, will harm our communities and further fuel mass detention and deportation.  

Please call your senators today and urge them to oppose these inhumane bills.

Categories: Articles & News

ePublishers of Truth

Friends Journal - Mon, 07/10/2017 - 7:00am

Swarthmoor Hall, photo Martin Kelley.

The shared lessons of strengthening a movement among Friends

My first introductions to early Friends characterized them as rebellious, Spirit-led trouble makers who brought haphazard and serious disruption to the official church of England. It seemed to me that Quaker ministers wandered forcefully and randomly into public spaces and other churches directly—without the formal training, credentials, or funding that supported the preachers of the established church of the time. I wondered how this group could have possibly survived, and in fact thrived and grown as a movement without more underlying organization. As I explored more, I learned about a strategic, direct attention to publishing tracts and books, and disseminating a high volume of printed works as well as spoken word shared by traveling ministers. In this way, this roaming band of faithful Friends was strategic, organized, and connected—and founded a movement with lasting and far-reaching influence.

What lessons can we take from this history of an early movement? As someone who travels with questions on how we connect and support faithful community in digital as well as brick-and-mortar spaces, I look at tools of communication and church-building that can be effective no matter what their platform. As my local meeting considers how to share a message, adopt a communications strategy, and faithfully carry a message of “who Quakers are” to the wider world, the call is clearly the same as what those early Friends heard. The tools are varied and different. The pervasive strategies that early Friends of the Quaker movement used hold some remarkable lessons in what we might use today in our rapidly changing, growing sense of networks and connections. In thinking more about these early Friends, I began to wonder if I could find the elements of contemporary church communication strategies in their actions.

There’s a few specific elements that help me to connect the motivations and faithful support of the Quaker movement of both early and contemporary Friends. This list of ”lessons” from these early Friends has emerged as encouragement for me, as I consider these questions of faithful message and purpose in my own meeting, wider yearly meeting, and the wider Quaker movement that we are a part of today.

1. Let the Life speak through you on all platforms.

It is adherence to the Spirit that is important. Early Friends considered their written tracts as important and representative as their preaching. This is why their publishing and distribution was both extensive, well discerned, and very controlled. Today our secular world might call that “branding.” What that really means is being consistent and recognizable in all places. We are faithful in those ways to our discipline. Then it was published tracts and preached messages—today it might just as easily be 140 characters on Twitter!

2. Have all information centralized in one place, easy to access

Friends recognized a need for a central hub for connections, dissemination of information, and standardization of publications and travel. Margaret Fell created this center for information and support at her house, Swarthmoor Hall, in North West England. Eventually this physical place housed the Kendal Fund for support of ministers. She insisted on there being a centralized address for letters and news carried by ministers. This gave the Quaker movement consistency and strength in being responsive and organized. Today? That might be our meeting website. A central place where we hold and share information with each other and the wider world, a consistent email address for new attenders to contact us and receive consistent information. We might post our minutes of importance, our spiritual messages to the world—sending them out as the early Friends did in this new way.

3. Consider how we use language publicly

Early Friends developed a careful consideration of use of language. The word “Quaker” seems to have been adopted by public ministers around 1652. Pamphlets published at this time of have the word “Quaker” in a larger font size, emphasized for consistency (usually with a “the people scorned as,” etc!). There was no mistaking when a Friend had adopted the more public (even derogatory) label to make it their own. How do we do this today? Early Friends recognized that how we present to the world is important. Consistency in describing fully who we are, either avoiding insider jargon or using it and explaining it clearly when absolutely necessary and makes sense, was their process, and should be ours. Early Friends public adoption and use of the name “Quaker” created a name for a movement recognized instantly by those outside their smaller circles.

4. Assume your reach is wider than the in-person contacts

In 1653, there were 23 Quaker pamphlets in print. By 1659 there were over 150. The sharp increase filled a need for the words of Quaker ministers to be carried beyond their in-person visits. Ministers would often share and preach from their own writings, but then would leave the writings behind for young and growing Quaker meetings. They were handed out at public meetings. The author was present to answer questions. If a need for more support and writings was sensed, Friends would write back to Margaret Fell (and George Taylor and a few others) at Swarthmoor to ask for books to be sent as soon as possible. Edward Borough, for example, found himself in Ireland in a “great want of bookes”—and writing back to Fell for more. He needed to have a consistent supplier for his tools when he needed them most.

5. Know your audience

Why would Early Friends bother to use so much print, in a world where “that of God in everyone” meant sometimes people only minimally literate would be hearing their message? Because that message was for everyone, not just the hierarchy of the state church. As Friends realized their message was being heard in written form, they increased their publications at a surprising rate. They still were preaching, and visiting in person, and gathering local meetings. Do we make those assumptions today? Do our meetings only use verbal announcements at the end of meeting? Do we speak to visual learners, digital learners, and the google calendars of all who might follow us on many platforms? We hope our message is for everyone; so how do we carry it in multiple ways, at varied times, to the audience of everyone?

6. Mobilize your volunteers

As the Quaker message spread, many newly convinced Friends were compelled to alter their very lives to be faithful to this message and movement. The seemingly haphazard lack of organization became a strategic process of sensing where ministers were needed, where there might be ears to hear, and where the Quaker Movement might grow. Ministers checked in with letters sent back to their meetings, and with letters sent to Fell, Fox, and others as coordinators of the movement. Growing meetings and newer Friends could ask for visitors to be sent to minister to their condition. This represented adept responsiveness to growing faith, wherever it had sprouted. How do we do this today? Do our meetings respond to growing and deepening faith with readings, in-person conversations, and digital resources in a timely manner?

7. Have a system in place

This “sending forth” and “hearing back” needed a codified system to be effective, even in 1650. This network emerged as crucial in growing areas of the movement. How do we do that now? Do we respond quickly to newcomers who attend more than once? Do we welcome and offer support and help to those who seem ready to grow and learn more, or become members of our society? Do we have a regular system to respond to inquiries from newcomers, and a published phone number and someone to respond promptly on social media?

8. Tell your story

Stories are what move people. How do you share yours? Early Friends knew the tales of each others’ journeys, of scripture (our “forefathers”), and carefully listened to what was emerging in the time. They shared these stories in their growing network of experience. We still are storytellers. How we share the story has expanded in breadth and depth. Why we share that story is the deep call that early Friends heard as clearly as we do today—in video, in Facebook posts, in written books and journals. Those stories have a far reach and can encourage us to find more and deepen our faith.

These lessons of early Friends help to guide my current work among Friends in sharing an eternal message in contemporary ways. It may seem that these platforms and methods are new in ways Fell and others might never have dreamed of. And yet, I suspect those Friends, in faithful adherence to the message they were given, would today find many ways to share as they did then. Early Friends innovated their systems to become a faithful people of a movement. We are still called, sometimes in ways that look very different from those of 1665, to spread that message today.

The post ePublishers of Truth appeared first on Friends Journal.

Categories: Articles & News

Welcome to Wichita!

Friends United Meeting - Sun, 07/09/2017 - 8:37pm

If you’re traveling to Wichita, Kansas, for the 2017 Triennial—good news! Several of the Meetings and Churches hosting the Triennial have prepared an e-booklet lovingly introducing you to their home. Complete with coffee shops, ice cream, restaurants, and a description of Friday’s Wichita service projects, you can view it online here, or download it and carry it with you when you’re able to explore Wichita.

Categories: Articles & News

‘Shovel This’ Pulls Most Garlic

American Friends Service Committee - Fri, 07/07/2017 - 12:58pm
News Source: Rio Grande Sun
Categories: Articles & News

Sanctuary as a sacred act

American Friends Service Committee - Wed, 07/05/2017 - 2:31pm
Jefferson Post logo Photo: AFSC/ News Source: Jefferson Post
Categories: Articles & News

Winners and Losers from West Virginia's Budget Battle

American Friends Service Committee - Wed, 07/05/2017 - 1:45pm
WV Public Radio logo Photo: AFSC/ News Source: Winners and Losers from West Virginia's Budget Battle
Categories: Articles & News

“Bigger Than Us” Project at Worthington Friends Church

Friends United Meeting - Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:35pm
Churches in Jamaica often find that they cannot meet their operating needs without income beyond tithes and offerings from the congregation. Many churches use other fundraising options, such as hosting fish fries or chicken bar-be-ques or running pledge drives. Friends’ Meetings and Churches are not exempt from this need to explore creative means of fundraising. Worthington Friends Church, in the capital city of Jamaica, has come up with a new plan. They hope to capitalize on their location in the heart of the financial and corporate center of Jamaica, New Kingston, by renovating some of their space to provide reasonably priced, quality accommodations to the Friends community as well as to the national and international business community. There has been talk for many years about a “refurbishing project ” of their Annex – a one room board with four bunk beds and a bathroom. There have been dreams, plans, discussions, etc.  Earlier this year, they decided to approach the idea again from a fresh perspective. The church is replacing the one room board Annex with two “mini-suites”. Each will have two twin beds and a private bath. In a later phase, a small kitchenette will be added to each. The church hopes to use income from renting the spaces to travelers to supplement their budget. The project is being funded from a number of sources including Worthington’s members at home and abroad, friends and family, and from project funds from two short-term mission teams who also volunteer their labor towards the project. They have made great progress so far and phases one and two are nearly complete! Phase three is removing the board structure and completing the roof. Remaining phases will include plumbing, electrical, interior and exterior finishes and finally furnishings and equipment. Friends at Worthington would welcome any and all assistance, whether in cash or kind. Prayers for this “bigger than us” project are also appreciated. Any plumbers, carpenters or electricians interested in some work in Jamaica? Pastor David is sure that at least one day at the beach could be arranged for workers! For more information, please contact Pastor David Goode at goode.dave@gmail.com or by local US phone call to (330)283-9832.
Categories: Articles & News

FUM Triennial Workshop Options

Friends United Meeting - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 3:43pm

FUM Triennial Workshop Options

You will have an opportunity to sign-up for workshops during the onsite registration process. The locations for each of the workshops will be available at that time.

Thursday—1:15pm – 2:30pm

A Necessary Good – Peace, Diplomacy and Development not War: After years of research and development, the U.S. government has new, non-military options to prevent violent conflict. But now these tools, structures, and resources face devastating cuts as the Trump administration solidifies its military-first foreign policy. The U.S. government needs tools outside of the military to address complex crises that the military should not and cannot solve. Presenter: Theo Sitther, FCNL’s Legislative Secretary for Peacebuilding Policy

Flourishing Pathways: Inviting Local Meetings into a Journey of Flourishing and Thriving: What does it look like for your local meeting to flourish? What does it mean to flourish? How can you keep from getting stuck in maintenance mode?  This workshop will explore these questions as well as four pathways to flourishing that can be adapted to your local meeting. Presenter, Scott Wagoner, NCYM pastor and clerk of FUM North American Ministries Committee

Maximizing Your Generosity: Farm commodities, antique cars, a cabin the mountains…What do these things have in common? They can all become wonderful gifts to your favorite charity. When individuals consider a gift to their favorite charity or local meeting/church they often only consider the cash they have available. Come to this seminar to learn about gifting of special assets, creative ways to remember your favorite charities in your estate plan, and gifts that can create an income stream. Join us to hear how Everence can help you maximize your generosity. Presenter: Mitch Stutzman, Everence Stewardship Consultant

Living Letters: What does it mean to be “a letter from Christ …, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God” (2 Corinthians 3:3)? How does it change our behavior and attitudes when we think about inter–visitation, travel in the ministry, and short-term mission trips from this perspective? Presenters, Eden Grace—FUM Global Ministries Director and Lisa Scarpelli, FUM Global Ministries Assistant

The Power of Enough: How can we balance our use of time, energy, and “things,” to free us for action to do God’s work and to contribute to right order in our world? Using queries, worship sharing and discussion we will listen and learn together. Presenter, Jacqueline Stillwell, General Secretary of RSWR

Mentoring—Discovering that of God in Everyone: A commitment to energize and equip one another into a community where Jesus Christ is known, loved, and obeyed as Teacher and Lord requires intentional relationships. In this workshop, participants will be introduced to God’s design for mentoring and practical ways to walk it out with others. Presenter,  Adrian Halverstadt—Chancellor of Barclay College

Queries from Young People: Throughout the history of the Friends movement, Quakers have asked questions or queries. These questions have the purpose of probing into what it means to be Quaker, both from a corporate perspective, as well as a personal perspective. As the leadership for the Triennial Teen and Young Adult programs, we would like to explore some of our own queries, and allow them to create discussion about who Friends are as a movement, where we might like to go into the future, and what we may want to see accomplished in the world. We will discuss queries the young people offer. Anyone, regardless of age, is welcome to join the Teens and Young Adults during these times.

Thursday—2:45pm – 4:00pm

Soul Care in an Age of Compassion Fatigue: Inspired by the life and ministry of the prophet Elijah, this workshop focuses on the importance of giving adequate attention to our own personal growth and development (self-care) as we are serving others in order to avoid burnout and sustain effective ministry for the long haul. Presenter, Dave Williams, General Superintendent EFC-MAYM

Benefits with Quaker Values: Retirement and health plan options from Friends employers, meetings and churches: Friends employers have employee benefit programs available for employees, including staff and pastors that incorporate and subscribe to Quaker values. Learn more about these exciting Friends programs for your organization, church and meeting. Presenter: Bill Hartman, Everence Vice President of Organizational Services

I Could Be Wrong: Conflict Resolution, Eldering, and Decision-making Among Friends: Examining together some structural sources of conflict in meetings, roles and strategies for addressing it, and turning the ideas into exercises. Friends seem not to have overcome our historical proclivity for disagreement among ourselves. Can we deal with each other in a more Christ-like way if we share some of the sources of conflict and examine strategies to address it? Can understanding my role within the meeting make me more like a peace-maker? Let’s look at these and related issues together. Presenter, Bill Eagles (NCYM) and FUM General Board member

Living Letters in Kenya: A visit to Friends Lugulu Mission Hospital: Friends Lugulu Mission Hospital in western Kenya has offered a ministry of medical treatment for over a century. Come hear about the 100-bed hospital’s work, including responses to changing local health care needs and challenges. Let’s exchange ideas about how we can help our Quaker brethren in Kenya to continue to provide compassionate and efficient Christian health care services. Presenters, Kevin and Candida Quinn—FUM Living Letters volunteers, members of North Pacific Yearly Meeting

Right Sharing of World Resources: God calls us to the right sharing of world resources, from the burdens of materialism and poverty into the abundance of God’s love, to work for equity through partnership with our sisters and brothers throughout the world”. Learn about RSWR work in Kenya, Sierra Leone and southern India through slides and stories. Presenter, Jacqueline Stillwell, General Secretary RSWR

Queries from Young People: Throughout the history of the Friends movement, Quakers have asked questions or queries. These questions have the purpose of probing into what it means to be Quaker, both from a corporate perspective, as well as a personal perspective. As the leadership for the Triennial Teen and Young Adult programs, we would like to explore some of our own queries, and allow them to create discussion about who Friends are as a movement, where we might like to go into the future, and what we may want to see accomplished in the world. We will discuss queries the young people offer. Anyone, regardless of age, is welcome to join the Teens and Young Adults during these times.

Quaker Lobbying: Powerful, Pragmatic, and Effective: Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has been engaged in connecting the rich inner life of the spirit with the life of service and political change since 1943. These times call for Friends to bring faith in to practice and action. We will discuss the various methods and best practices Friends can use to build long-lasting relationships with congressional officials using various methods.  FCNL has many tools and structures in place, just ready for your advocacy work! Presenter, Christine Ashley, Quaker Field Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation

Saturday—1:15pm – 2:30pm

Open Hearts, Open Hands: A Call to Stewardship: This workshop looks at spiritual affections and the biblical call to generosity and stewardship. We will unpack the unique Quaker testimony of stewardship as it relates to our care of the environment as well as the investments of time, talents, energies, and financial resources. Presenters: Kelly Kellum and Mitch Stutzman, Everence Stewardship Consultants

Queries from Young People: Throughout the history of the Friends movement, Quakers have asked questions or queries. These questions have the purpose of probing into what it means to be Quaker, both from a corporate perspective, as well as a personal perspective. As the leadership for the Triennial Teen and Young Adult programs, we would like to explore some of our own queries, and allow them to create discussion about who Friends are as a movement, where we might like to go into the future, and what we may want to see accomplished in the world. We will discuss queries the young people offer. Anyone, regardless of age, is welcome to join the Teens and Young Adults during these times.

Loving One Other (Workshop continues in the 2:45pm – 4pm time): In times as divisive as these, it may seem extremely hard to live out this fundamental command of Jesus.  Following it faithfully demands a radical reordering of our lives, from the inside out.  It begs the questions “How am I to live my life in this community?” and “How am I to live in the world?” In this workshop, we will explore the challenge of keeping our hearts open when confronted with the other—the parts of ourselves we would rather not acknowledge, or the aspects of others which might elicit fear, avoidance, distrust, and anger.  We will look at how keeping our hearts open to the other allows us to better live out loving one another, not theoretically, but in this very community.  We will also explore how this work is inextricably tied to the quality of our worship together. Presenter, Christopher Sammond, NYYM General Secretary

Big Things in Belize: Come hear about the expansion of Friends ministries in Belize. Presenters, Belize Team—Oscar Mmbali, Frank and Maggie Tench, Candi Young, Athina Major and Dale Graves

Water Matters! Why do Christians care about access to clean safe water for the world’s most vulnerable people? What can we do about it? What if we could promote self-sustaining small business development as a solution to water problems Presenters, Del and Suzanne Livingston, coordinators of FUM’s biosand water filter project

Inside the Wall, or On the Wall?: Making pictures for Newsletters and Websites: This workshop will give you some ideas for making successful pictures for your Meeting/Church. In particular, we will discuss how the place you want to use your pictures should guide you in the pictures that you make. Presenter, Dan Kasztelan, FUM Communications Director

Why Does Esther need an Education: Why do Friends focus on girl-child education among the nomadic people groups of Turkana and Samburu, in the deserts of Kenya? What happens when a girl gets a chance to learn? What happens in her life? What happens in the life of her community? Presenters, John Moru—Director Turkana Friends Mission and Sammy Letoole—Director Samburu Friends Mission

Saturday—2:45pm – 4:00pm

A Shared Tomorrow: The Ways We Serve: Friends will learn about the history and mission of Everence. Following the Stewardship Vine, this workshop will trace the various ways Everence serves individuals and local meetings/churches. The Vine illustrates how we integrate our faith and finances by discovering God’s plan, living responsibly, preparing for the future, and giving generously. In addition, we will highlight how local advocates connect congregations with Everence’s resources and services. Presenters: Kelly Kellum and Mitch Stutzman, Everence Stewardship Consultants

Shifting the Paradigm of Missions in the 21st Century: Building on the theme of The Living Flame, this workshop will cover ways we can serve God’s people both locally and globally.  Using the guiding principles of cultural humility, the presenters will offer specific ideas for those desiring a fresh approach to missions and community initiatives in this 21st Century.  Presenters, Eloise Hockett, NWYM/George Fox University and John Muhanji, FUM Director African Ministries Office

Queries from Young People: Throughout the history of the Friends movement, Quakers have asked questions or queries. These questions have the purpose of probing into what it means to be Quaker, both from a corporate perspective, as well as a personal perspective. As the leadership for the Triennial Teen and Young Adult programs, we would like to explore some of our own queries, and allow them to create discussion about who Friends are as a movement, where we might like to go into the future, and what we may want to see accomplished in the world. We will discuss queries the young people offer. Anyone, regardless of age, is welcome to join the Teens and Young Adults during these times.

Preventing Election Related Violence in Kenya: Friends Church Peace Team was formed in the violent aftermath of a contested national election in 2007. The next national election, in 2013, was largely peaceful, and there is evidence that Quaker peacemaking made a difference. Kenyans go to the polls again on August 8th, just a few weeks from now. Come hear how Friends are helping ensure the election is peaceful and fair. Presenter, Getry Agizah, Coordinator Friends Church Peace Team

Yikes! God may be Calling me to Cross-Cultural Ministry: Now what?? Discerning and following a call to cross-cultural ministry can be a daunting and exhilarating process. Come to this interactive workshop, no matter where you are on that journey. Presenter, Eden Grace, FUM Global Ministries Director

Loving One Other II (Continuation from the 1:15pm – 2:30pm time): In times as divisive as these, it may seem extremely hard to live out this fundamental command of Jesus.  Following it faithfully demands a radical reordering of our lives, from the inside out.  It begs the questions “How am I to live my life in this community?” and “How am I to live in the world?” In this workshop, we will explore the challenge of keeping our hearts open when confronted with the other—the parts of ourselves we would rather not acknowledge, or the aspects of others which might elicit fear, avoidance, distrust, and anger.  We will look at how keeping our hearts open to the other allows us to better live out loving one another, not theoretically, but in this very community.  We will also explore how this work is inextricably tied to the quality of our worship together. Presenter, Christopher Sammond, NYYM General Secretary

Introduction to Social Media: Confused by the changing social media landscape? This workshop will walk through the basics of establishing a social media presence for your Meeting or Church. Presenter, Julie Rudd, FUM E-commerce and Web Assistant

Categories: Articles & News

A Big Year for Belize – Frequently Asked Questions

Friends United Meeting - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 2:27pm
How much is all of this costing?

It’s a big project! Some of the major cost items are (in US dollars):

  • $173,753 for the purchase and closing costs on the new property on Central American Boulevard.
  • $21,389 to install exterior stairs and rooftop railings in order to convert the warehouse into a safe school building with multiple means of egress from each room.
  • $18,530 to cut openings in the concrete and install windows and doors with security grilles in the classrooms, offices, and multipurpose hall.
  • $13,555 spent so far on electrical work, plumbing repair, new bathrooms, roofing repair, painting, partitioning the classrooms, and other miscellaneous repairs/renovations (including removing a massive honeybee hive!).

Perhaps another $30,000 is yet to be spent in order to complete the renovation of the entire property. It’s hard to know exactly what we’ll find when we start work on the Director’s apartment!

Where is the money coming from?

So far, the money has come from the following sources:

$29,706 was already on hand in FUM, because we’ve been saving for several years in hopes that we would find the right building to buy.

$100,000 was raised in December and January through a matching grant issued by two anonymous families and generously matched by 22 donors.

$31,742 has been received so far from the sale of other properties owned by FUM in Belize (undeveloped land north of the city, and the former school building on Allenby Street). We still have one more parcel of land to sell, which should bring another $20,000.

Since the beginning of February, $33,156 has been donated toward renovation of the new building—by individuals, Meetings, and Yearly Meetings (not including the money that has started to come in for the Summer Mission Project).

$25,000 is our goal for the 2017 Summer Mission Project – “A Big Year for Belize.” Thanks for participating in the Big Goal and helping get our Big New Building in shape for God’s Big Plans for Belize Friends Ministries!

Can I come down to Belize to help?

We love this question! Yes, you may come down to Belize to help with the renovation and/or to volunteer in the school (and, once Oscar gets his feet under him, there will also be volunteer opportunities in the community). Dale Graves will be supervising renovation volunteers during the following dates: August 8 to September 5, from October 10 to November 20, and again January through March. Volunteers are housed in the new facility and can choose between bed-and-breakfast for $25/day or full board for $45/day. There are hot showers, laundry, and internet on site—and did we mention the roof deck with ocean views? If you’re interested in volunteering with the renovation, contact Eden Grace for more information. And even if you can’t go to Belize, you can follow the renovation progress on Dale’s blog: fuminbelize.org.

Do you need additional staff?

We’re still hiring for the position of Director of Belize Friends Ministries. This person will lead the staff team; oversee the building project; raise funds from individuals, churches, and grant-making organizations; and administer the expanding programs. It’s a role that’s crucial to the success of the big ministry plan. Click here to find out more about the position.

Could you be called to this work? Or do you know someone you could encourage to pray about it? Contact Eden Grace for more information.

Categories: Articles & News

Stoking the Fire 2017: Claiming Spiritual Power for Transformative Action Workshop Schedule

Friends United Meeting - Sat, 06/24/2017 - 11:42am

We are offering a range of workshops on Monday and Tuesday afternoons from 3 to 5 PM. We hope these will provide opportunities for us to reflect on past experience, learn and practice new skills, and prayerfully seek new avenues of transformation in Christ. Please note that some sessions are one-day only, while others offer a session on both days.

 

Two-day sessions:

Spirit-based Community as Foundation for Prophetic Ministry with Dorlan Bales (two sessions meant to build on each other): What is a prophetic call? What sort of support is required to respond faithfully to such a call? How did prophets stoke the fire in Israel, in the early church, and since then? Was the first Quaker generation prophetic, and if so, how? What prophets in modern times do we admire, and why? Are you prepared to respond to a prophetic calling? Could that response mean finding or helping create a supportive community?

Dorlan Bales (Heartland Friends, Great Plains YM) is a graduate of Earlham School of Religion and the Univ. of Chicago Divinity School, served meetings as a pastor in four Yearly Meetings, was part of the Friends of Jesus Community, worked for Sunflower Community Action, and is team leader for FCNL’s new Wichita Advocacy Team.

Discernment for Spirit-Led Action with Patricia Thomas (two sessions meant to build on each other, but that can be taken separately): In the first, we will explore the assumptions which underlie the gift of discernment, a foundation of our corporate Quaker faith and practice, as we share Scriptural and personal experience. The second, entitled “A Quaker Twist: What Canst Thou Say?” will delve into leadings and the role of clearness committees. Journaling and meditation will be part of both sessions. Please bring a Bible, pen and paper.

Patricia Thomas (Campus Meeting, Wilmington YM) is a life-long Friend from the unprogrammed tradition, and a graduate of Earlham School of Religion. The use of clearness committees and the reality of ‘leadings and being led’ are dear to her heart.

 

Monday afternoon, 3 – 5 PM:

Being Grounded in Spiritual Practice with Kathryn Damiano: This session will present an integrative and holistic approach to the many calls and demands of our lives, emphasizing self-care and care of others.

Dr. Kathryn Damiano (Heartland Friends, Great Plains YM) is a founder, with Fran Taber and Sandra Cronk, of the “On Being a Spiritual Nurturer” program; she is also an ecumenical spiritual director with a variety of faith traditions, grounded and working out of Friends’ spiritual practices.

 

The Third Way—Nonviolent Resistance and Civil Disobedience with Leslie Manning: Drawing from the teachings of Jesus and the writings of Dr. King, Walter Wink and Jean Zaru of Ramallah Friends Meeting, this workshop will involve reading, reflection and writing on selected prompts from these leaders.

Leslie Manning (Durham Friends, New England YM) is an activist and advocate, the legislative coordinator for Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy, and the former president of the Maine Council of Churches.

 

Tuesday afternoon, 3 – 5 PM:

Quaker Social Change Ministry—Reclaiming Spirit-Guided Social Change with Lucy Duncan: Are you wanting to enliven your faith with work to transform the world? Are you interested in reclaiming spiritual practice in your work for justice? This workshop will introduce Quaker social change ministry and lead participants through a process to consider how to center the voices and experiences of people of color or those most impacted by injustice in our work for just peace. This will be an interactive exercise which invites participants to reconsider how to bring mystics and activists together to work for social justice while practicing the spiritual discipline of accompaniment. To read more in advance, see www.afsc.org/qscm.

Lucy Duncan (Green Street Meeting, Philadelphia YM), has served the American Friends Service Committee as Director of Friends Relations since 2011.

 

Music as a Grounding for Action with Kathy Luethje & Leslie Manning: The tradition of the song circle helps us to recognize that voice from God in everyone. Kathy and Leslie have chosen some songs for all to sing together that have been an inspiration for various social justice movements. Stringed instrument players are welcome to bring instruments and jam—and we hope everyone will join us in song!

Kathy Luethje (Bloomingdale Friends, Western YM) is a graduate of Earlham School of Religion currently serving as a pastor, and formerly as a hospital chaplain. Kathy has been part of song circles and choral clubs in many places, is an avid collector of songs, writes musical plays, and is interested in music for healing. Leslie Manning (Durham Friends, New England YM) is an activist and advocate, the legislative coordinator for Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy, and the former president of the Maine Council of Churches.

Categories: Articles & News

Friends Fight Blindness in Africa

Friends United Meeting - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 8:55am

(Thanks to Alfred Wasike of Friends Theological College for this report and for the pictures!)

More than 500 clients or patients have converged on Kaptama Hospital, along the slopes of Mt Elgon for the much needed general medical & eye camp. A team of Friends from George Fox University School of Nursing, Wabash Friends Church (USA), Friends Sabatia Eye Hospital have been here since Monday, June 5th. This is one of the biggest medical camps ever organised by the Kaptama Hospital Board and the Africa Ministries Office (AMO), John Muhanji, AMO Director says.

The team leaders include Dr. Amos Kibisu (Kakamega County Hospital), Elizabeth Roark (Assistant Professor of Nursing at George Fox University), and Dr. Eric Dale (Wabash Friends Meeting). Friends Theological College (FTC) Kaimosi Students are helping in the Medical Camp as part of our Hospital Ministry. Dr. Robert J. Wafula, the Principal of the prestigious hub of top quality Quaker-backed education in Africa is among the people who came for an eye check.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), blindness prevalence rates vary widely but the evidence suggests that approximately 1% of Africans are blind. The major cause is cataracts; trachoma and glaucoma are also important causes of blindness. The bulk of blindness is preventable or curable. Efforts should focus on eye problems which are universally present and for which there are cost effective remedies, such as cataract and refractive problems and on those problems which occur focally and can be prevented by primary healthcare measures, such as trachoma, onchocerciasis, and vitamin A deficiency. Major development of staffing levels, infrastructure, and community programmes will be necessary to achieve Vision 2020 goals.

Africa, especially the sub-Saharan Africa is home to approximately 7.1 of the world’s 38 million blind (WHO/PBL/97.61 Rev 2). The shortage of staff to provide eye care in Africa is legendary. According to the British Journal of Ophthalmology, the barriers that prevent people from presenting for cataract surgery or trichiasis surgery in Africa include:

• Cost: This includes not only the cost of the actual operation, but less obvious costs such as transportation to the hospital, loss of work, and living expenses while in hospital as well. Additional costs will exist for a caregiver or guardian who is usually required to accompany a patient.
• Accessibility of services: Since most Africans are rural and the eye care services are in the cities, a journey, often a major one, is necessary to reach the service. However, while high quality cataract surgery generally requires a fixed facility, trichiasis surgery can be done in rural villages.
• Knowledge of services: Lack of awareness that cataract or trichiasis can be cured by surgery prevents many from seeking treatment. Lack of understanding of what will be entailed (time, money, pain) is another a barrier.
• Trust in outcome: Patients often fear the outcome of surgery, with justification. While there has been no assessment of outcome of routine cataract surgery in Africa, some outcomes are less than desirable. A few bad outcomes can discourage a whole community.
• Cultural and social barriers: Cataract occurs more frequently in females, yet a population-based study in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, demonstrated that females underwent cataract surgery at only three-fifths the rate of males. This may be due to less education, social support, and control of time and money among females compared with males.

VISION 2020 AND AFRICA

The Vision 2020 initiative refers to goals and priorities (described in the WHO/PBL/97.61 global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness) that are being adopted by many individuals, non-government development organisations, the WHO, government agencies, and ministries of health that work in the field of prevention of blindness. Its aim is to decrease the current projection of 75 million blind by the year 2020 to 25 million. The major causes of blindness in poor countries can be divided into three groups: (1) those which occur universally and for which there are successful cost-effective treatments, including cataract and refractive errors; (2) those which occur among specific populations and which can be prevented by inexpensive medicines, including vitamin A deficiency, trachoma, and onchocerciasis; and (3) major blinding diseases that are less well defined and for which cost-effective screening and treatment for poor people do not currently exist, including diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. For Africa, it is important to put high priority on the first two of these groups. In order to do so there will have to be tremendous developments in staffing, infrastructure, and organisational capacity.

Categories: Articles & News

Adrian Moody Appointed as Head of the Ramallah Friends School

Friends United Meeting - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 8:29am

Friends United Meeting is delighted to announce the appointment of Adrian Moody to the position of Head of Ramallah Friends School (rfs.edu.ps), effective August 2017. Adrian will succeed Joyce Ajlouny, who has served for thirteen years and who will be taking up the post of General Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee.

Adrian comes to the Friends School with an extensive background in international education, having served in school leadership positions in Australia, New Zealand, Tanzania, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and India. His depth of experience with the International Baccalaureate and his masters-level specialization in teacher assessment will allow him to shepherd the implementation of the RFS Board’s new strategic plan which focuses on strengthening the academic programs. His professional expertise in the management of large multi-campus schools will facilitate a thorough analysis of long-term financial and physical needs and the development of strategies for sustainability.

A committed Roman Catholic with a master’s degree in theology, Adrian feels deeply called to the particular witness of a Friends School under occupation. As he shared with the school when he visited: “I am drawn to RFS for so many reasons. It has a long history of shared communities. It has a strong academic program and is able to offer its students wonderful opportunities. But RFS is not just a school – it is much more than that. I look at RFS and I see that the grace of God is working within your community. I see God carrying us all on a journey, together through moments of success and challenges which strengthens our lives and our bonds with each other and God.”

Adrian, an Australian national, and his wife Gillian, a New Zealander, will take up residence in Ramallah at the beginning of August while their teenage daughter continues in boarding school in New Zealand.

Adrian will serve as a member of the FUM Field Staff, with his salary, benefits, and expenses covered through designated donations to FUM. In order to prevent a gap in leadership and to facilitate a smooth hand-over as Joyce leaves the school, a generous FUM supporter has provided transitional funding to allow Adrian to begin without delay. As FUM and Adrian work together to build his support community, these funds will be repaid.

FUM invites all Friends to pray for Adrian and his family during this transition and to give thanks that God has called him to witness to the transformational presence of Christ amid the Friends community in Ramallah at this time.

For more information, contact Eden Grace, Director of Global Ministries, at edeng@fum.org.

Categories: Articles & News
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