Friends United Meeting

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Updated: 37 weeks 1 day ago

Sad News from FUM

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 10:44am

The global community of Friends United Meeting grieves the loss of DaleGraves, who died on December 10, 2018, eleven months after receiving a cancer diagnosis.

Until January, 2018, Dale served as Interim Director of Belize Friends Ministries, an FUM field staff position. In this capacity, he gave tirelessly to fulfill God’s call on Friends to witness to the love of Jesus Christ among the Southside community of Belize City. He was instrumental in helping FUM reach clarity on that call, and led the work of finding, buying, and rehabilitating a new facility in which to house a burgeoning ministry.

Dale and his wife, Sylvia Graves, are beloved by Friends from around the world, who experienced their humble and generous gifts of service over many years. Eden Grace, FUM’s Global Ministries Director, shared these thoughts:

“Each morning in Belize, Dale would rise before the sun and set out on a jog along the seashore. This morning routine was not only a time for physical exercise, it was a time for spiritual sight, in which he attuned himself to the beauty and wonder of his surroundings. Many mornings, he would return from his run to post a breathtakingly-beautiful sunrise photograph on Facebook as testimony to the glory of God and the gift of a new day. Dale’s collection of sunrise photographs have served as many things for me – background images for powerpoint presentations, memes, and screen savers – but also as visual reminders of the wonder and joy of each moment in each day, in all things vast and minute. Dale’s unique combination of good cheer, hard work, and spiritual perception have left an indelible mark on countless people, and he will be dearly missed.”

A service of thanksgiving for the life of Dale Graves will be held on January 5, 2019. Details will be shared as they become available.

Categories: Articles & News

New Director of Belize City Friends Center Called

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 12:51am

Friends United Meeting has called Nikki Holland to fill the position of Director of Belize Friends Ministries! This full-time, long-term field staff position will have primary management responsibility for coordinating all of FUM’s work in Belize, including supervising the staff, managing the facilities, developing donor relationships and coordinating with the FUM headquarters in Richmond, Indiana, USA.

Three years ago, Friends United Meeting committed itself to pursue a significant expansion of its ministries in Belize. Building on more than twenty years of success in operating a small non-traditional school for at-risk inner-city youth in Belize City, FUM is now working to:

  1. Gather a worshipping body of Friends in Belize through incarnational and relational evangelism in the Southside neighborhood of Belize City
  2. Grow the Belize Friends School to serve more young people, to offer primary-level education to adults, and to provide pastoral counseling to students and families
  3. Facilitate the Southside community’s transformation from a place of hopelessness and violence to a place of hope and peace through multiple ministry initiatives, beginning with the re-launch of the Alternatives to Violence Project in Belize
  4. Identify and develop suitable facilities to house the expanded Friends work in Belize

As the Director of the Belize City Friends Center, Nikki will lead the staff team: the school Principal, teachers, administrative assistant, Pastoral Minister, and other staff and volunteers. She will participate actively in the ministries of FUM in Belize, serve as a member of the Belize Friends School Board, write grants and develop donors, manage the physical plant, and host Living Letters visitors and volunteers. Nikki will also work with the FUM Communications and Global Ministries staff teams to share compelling stories of what God is doing in Belize, cultivate relationships with government and non-governmental entities in Belize, and build networks among the various stakeholders in the Southside neighborhood, and, as way opens, build relationships among the wider Friends community in the Caribbean region.

Nikki is a member of The New Association of Friends and has spent the last four years living in Mexico. During this time, in addition to raising a family and working, she has been part of starting a Quaker worship group; has been studying for an M.Div at Earlham School of Religion; and has been investigating potential solutions for problems with domestic violence that exist in her city.

Nikki writes, “Each of these activities has taught me about what kind of ministry I have been created to do. I am called to a ministry of spiritual hospitality. I am called to make space for people to rest and grow in the love of God. I believe that my calling is consistent with the role of Director of Belize City Friends Ministries.”

As a member of the FUM field staff, Nikki will work with the Global Ministries staff to raise prayer and financial support sufficient to sustain the ministry. Communications staff are already at work preparing her magnets, pledge cards, and more.

General Secretary Kelly Kellum says that Nikki brings a lot of energy and capacity to the work in Belize, and that “her teachable spirit will serve her well in a new cross-cultural environment and her experience in working internationally will greatly benefit the Friends Center. Most importantly, Nikki is enthusiastic about Jesus and about being a Friend.” In addition, Kelly says, “I’m certain that she will fit well within the FUM community and become the leader she is being called to be,” and he encourages the beloved community of Friends to support her with prayer and financial pledges.

About her sense of call, Nikki writes: “The work that I see happening in the Belize City Friends Center (BCFC) is about transforming difficult situations. It’s about offering second and third and fourth chances. It’s about believing in youth to live into their potential. BCFC makes space for young people to rest from turbulent pasts so that they can grow in a loving and encouraging environment. An inspiring team of people are doing this work in the same spirit that I see in the gospel work of bringing the Kingdom of God to this world.”

“Peace overcomes violence. Hope grows in frustrated circumstances. Love never fails—

“It is beautiful work and I feel honored and excited to have the opportunity to participate in it.”

Nikki, her husband, Brian, and their three boys, are hoping to make the move to Belize by July 1.

Belize Friends Ministries Mission Statement: Building on the existing Belize Friends School ministry, Friends United Meeting will engage in a holistic Christian Quaker ministry that is deeply grounded in the discernment of God’s direction in Belize. We seek to witness to the transforming power of Jesus Christ and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit through our witness, including worship, discipleship, education, leadership development, alternatives to violence, community building and economic empowerment.

Categories: Articles & News