Layout Image

Archive for Quaker Life Magazine

Finding my Joy in the City

By Hannah Williams

When we think of missions, it is easy to focus on ministry in foreign fields. Many tend to neglect the need for missions right here in our own country and the needs that are literally right down the street or right next door. When Jesus commanded his disciples to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and care for orphans and widows, he didn’t place restrictions on where this ministry was to occur. This command is for everyone — anyone who follows Jesus Christ. We don’t need to go very far. We can start with our next-door neighbor.

This past summer I had the privilege of serving hundreds of children and youth in inner city Cleveland through an internship with The City Mission. The City Mission is a non-profit gospel rescue mission that desires to provide help and hope to all people through the transforming power of God’s love. This inner-city mission works incredibly hard to provide the children with a safe, fun, and loving environment and to ensure that every child who walks through the door does not leave without hearing the gospel message of Christ and offers youth and family outreach services (the department in which I worked).

Each day for 11 weeks, The City Mission ran a summer day camp for more than 250 kids who were from first grade to eighth grade, 98% of whom were African American. This ministry provided campers with breakfast and lunch, games, crafts, a Bible lesson and a two-hour intensive core group of their choice (e.g. drumline, gospel choir, praise dance, intramural sports, drama and poetry, graphic art and design, etc.).

Getting involved in urban mission work has been something I have always wanted to do. The Lord has given me a passion for the inner city and youth. Serving with The City Mission this summer only deepened that desire. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the significance of the number of the poor and homeless that this mission serves. It is very easy to lose sight of each person as an individual, but God is far beyond numbers and his desire is for all people to know him.

The first few weeks were extremely humbling. Extremely! I hated knowing about the poverty and pain that the children have to live with and the way they were growing up, but I am thankful that God chose to use me, and I know that somewhere along the way he was planting seeds in the garden of each child’s heart.

My heart would break when the children would talk about their home lives and their sense of normal. Our campus was right in the heart of things. We were surrounded by government housing projects for several blocks in Cleveland; so many of the kids came from the surrounding neighborhoods. It is not a safe area, but because of God’s provision and grace I did not have to live in fear, although I did worry about our kids walking around in the area by themselves. I loved each child as if they were my own, and I loved feeling like I had a sense of purpose and vision for how to help the people with whom I worked. God pushed me to do more than I knew I was capable of, and this experience revealed my strengths as well as many weaknesses.

One way that I saw God at work was in the life of one of the junior high girls, named Aniyah. This young lady came to camp looking angry most days. It was apparent to me that her life circumstances were blocking her from experiencing the complete freedom and joy of the Lord. As Aniyah and I got to know each other better, we became good friends. She would often follow me around at camp. Slowly through the weeks, I started to see a glimmer of change.

One thing I did with Aniyah each day was to sing the song, “I’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart” to her. I would grab her hands and sing and dance until she was either laughing or joining in. To my surprise, after several days (maybe weeks) of doing this, Aniyah came running up to me one day, smiling from ear to ear, with a note that said, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy in my heart.” At that moment I realized that the message had finally clicked for her. Jesus had taken hold of her heart and was filling it up with His joy. What a blessing it was to be a part of his work in little Aniyah’s life!

It was tremendously difficult to leave these kids when the summer came to an end. Though they would suck the energy out of me, push every button, test my patience and drive me crazy, their smiles and presence would fill me right back up again with love. They would laugh and play with me, hold my hand, wrap their arms around me, ask questions, allow me to pray for them, smile, cry and let me in their lives a little more each day.

This summer’s experience was an eye opening and a heart shaping one. Through this experience I realized that with Christ there is hope! After leaving Cleveland, there is hope! I know Christ is at work, and I know he will not forget his children. I miss each of the campers every day, but I trust that the Lord will protect, provide and guide them in the way he wants them to go. More importantly I know God is loving them in every possible way he can. My experience with The City Mission completely changed my life. It is my prayer that my desire to love and serve people in the inner city would only increase as I continue, by God’s grace, to commit myself to the work of his kingdom.

Hannah is a recent graduate from Barclay College with a major in Bible and Theology. She is a member of Haviland Friends Church and is very grateful to be a part of such a rich heritage of Quakers. She is the daughter of David Williams, Professor of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation and Director of the Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership-Spiritual Formation program at Barclay College and the new General Superintendent of Evangelical Friends Church-Mid America Yearly Meeting as of July 1, 2014. Hannah’s grandfather is John Williams, former Friends pastor and Academic Dean at Friends University, and is the great granddaughter of Walter and Myrtle Williams. Her great-great grandparents, Walter and Emma Malone, were the founders of Malone University. Hannah feels extremely blessed to call all of them her family and hopes to be a blessing to others as she continues in inner city ministry.

Private Quaker, Public Quaker – Part I

By Norval D. Reece

Quaker Lecture
Western Yearly Meeting
July 17, 2014

The theme for these sessions, stewardship, is something with which I have often wrestled.

What does stewardship mean? What does it involve?

What should we be doing to be good stewards?

Like many, I have traditionally thought of stewardship in terms of giving – money, time, talents and skills. Giving is central to stewardship.

But I’ve begun to think more in recent years of that part of stewardship that it is about preserving and protecting. Being stewards of the world around us, from our values to our form of government and our natural environment.

For many years I was a private Quaker. Now I’m a public Quaker. It has to do with stewardship.

I want to talk tonight specifically about stewardship of the Religious Society of Friends — of our churches, meetings, yearly meetings. Quakers have been around for 350 years.

Many of us have assumed Quakers will always be around. I no longer believe we can take this for granted.

We Quakers are more prone to think about righting the wrongs in society at large — feeding the hungry, preventing the next war, providing equal opportunities for all — than to think about ourselves. To do the latter seems somewhat selfindulgent. Self-promotional. UnQuakerly.

I will suggest otherwise in this presentation and make some specific recommendations for your consideration. I do this not as a theologian though I have studied theology, nor as a social activist though I have been one, nor as an historian though I’m a history buff, but as a pragmatist from the bottomline world of politics and corporate America and as one who loves the Religious Society of Friends.

My comments are in four parts: 1) a review of some personal experiences to indicate how I have become a public Quaker, 2) a look at the perception of religion in today’s world of high technology and individualism, 3) a brief, candid appraisal of the Religious Society of Friends, and 4) some suggestions about what we might do as stewards of the Religious Society of Friends.* (The fourth part will be in the Jan/Feb edition of Quaker Life.)

So, this talk is part confessional and part a call to action. I have just come from Cape Cod.

Down the beach from our house, across the salt marsh, is a wooden shack on the shore which all the children consider to be full of mystery, great treasures, and answers to all their questions — the “Doctor’s Boathouse.” Dr. Horatio Rogers was a fishing buddy of the father of my wife, Ann. He was gruff in manner with a heart of gold and the owner of this wonderful shack. “The Doctor’s Boathouse” had the best tools for miles around for fixing boats, fishing tackle, broken toys and almost anything.

But the Doctor had certain rules. 1) You had to be invited to enter the Doctor’s Boathouse. 2) If you were really special, the Doctor would let you borrow a much-needed tool. And, 3) what you borrowed had to be returned in better condition than it was when you borrowed it. “Had to be,” otherwise you might not be invited back, an inconceivable thought. The “Doctor’s Boathouse” and its contents were in very good condition — always.

I think of the Religious Society of Friends as being the Doctor’s Boathouse. It’s a magnificent, mysterious place with everything we need. All of us who share it have met the Doctor’s first two rules. We have been allowed in and we have “borrowed tools” from time to time. We have benefited from our Quaker faith communities. But what about Dr. Rogers’ third point: are we leaving it in better shape than we found it?

I like the quotes selected from the Gospel of Luke and John Woolman regarding stewardship. They are action-oriented and provocative. From Luke 12:42, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager…?” and from John Woolman’s Plea for the Poor, “To turn all we possess into the channel of universal love becomes the business of our lives.”

These quotes are action-oriented in capital letters. They are transformative in nature. We are not being asked to just “do something” for someone or for society or for our Friends Church or our Yearly Meeting. We are being asked to be someone, to become someone. “Be” a wise and faithful manager and “become” a channel of universal love. They are provocative because they challenge us to be better.

Whenever I am challenged to be better, to do better, I find it helpful to keep in mind three radical theological assumptions of Quakers: 1) all people are equal in the eyes of God and have the light within, the Christ within; 2) continuing revelation is possible, of understanding more about God and our life on this earth than we now know; and 3) the perfectibility of man, the promise that we can become better people, improve our behavior, our attitudes and our thoughts regarding other people and the world around us.

These three basic, radical Quaker concepts have punctuated my own improbable life and multiple careers.

Personal Experiences

I grew up in a wonderful, protective, comfortable Quaker cocoon. Every child should grow up this way. I stretched my intellectual and social world in college, and stretched my spiritual and theological world in divinity school and in India. My beliefs were refined, tempered and case-hardened by travel abroad and by my professional life as a social and political activist in the ‘60s, a state government employee in the ‘70s, a corporate executive in marketing and finance in the ‘80s, and an international cable television entrepreneur in the ‘90s.

Aristotle said there should be three phases to one’s life: the first phase should be devoted to the best possible education, the second to working and raising and caring for a family, and the third to serving society.

I unintentionally have done this, though I managed to rearrange Aristotle’s last two points into three separate careers — one with the Quakers doing service work, one in politics and government, and one in cable television.

After graduating from DePauw and Yale Divinity School, I went to India with the American Friends Service Committee for two years running an international affairs group at the Quaker Centre in Delhi and organizing work camps in Indian villages and Tibetan refugee camps.

When I finished my term in India, I cashed in my plane ticket home to hitchhike around the world. Along the way, I trekked in the Himalayas, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, went down the Nile on a barge and spent six weeks in the Soviet Union at a work camp/seminar on a collective farm.

When I returned home, I plunged full time into working in the civil rights movement and organizing protests against the Vietnam War. I ran political campaigns, lobbied, met with candidates for president, marched with Martin Luther King. Jr. in Selma, ran for the US Senate in PA as a candidate against the War in Vietnam, lost, but helped elect Milt Shapp Governor and became his Special Assistant and then the Secretary of Commerce in Pennsylvania.

After state government, I entered the private sector as Vice President for New Market Development for Teleprompter, the largest cable television company. Later I started my own cable company, which helped bring independent news to Communist Poland and held the first public stockholders’ meeting there in fifty years.

Through all these years my religious life was that of a private Quaker. It’s not that people didn’t know I was a Quaker. It’s just that I left it there. For twenty years I was immersed in political and human rights issues which seemed to be, and sometimes were, matters of life and death. For another twenty years I was involved in corporate America and starting my own business ventures. I was very comfortable in my Quaker cocoon, being a private Quaker.

Along the way, I did manage to fall in love, marry Ann Benson, and we had two boys.

We didn’t attend Quaker Meeting on a regular basis during this period until we moved from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Bucks County so I could commute to New York City for my new job in cable television. We joined Newtown Friends Meeting, in part, because it had an active religious education program for kids.

I learned a lot from being involved in social activism, politics, government and the competitive corporate world. It puts a huge magnifying glass on ordinary activities.
Here’s what I learned.

In order to be successful, one has to be: 1) very well organized, 2) focused in one’s message, 3) direct and simple in one’s comments for mass media, 4) self-promotional as a candidate for public office if one expects to convince people to support you and your campaign issues, 5) aware that the style and manner of one’s presentation are important (Hence, thousands of students went “Clean for Gene” for the McCarthy for President campaign in 1968 by getting haircuts, shaving and wearing “real clothes”) and 6) patient when delivering one’s message, realizing that some people’s perception of what is true may be more important to them than the truth itself. These were new lessons for a Quaker kid from Indiana.

In protests, politics, government and business, I readily used strategic planning, prioritizing goals, advertising, promotion and fund raising to get my message across. It was absolutely
necessary for success, whether the goal was civil rights, to end the war in Vietnam, to double the size of our company or to bring uncensored news to people in a communist country.

I was very comfortable during this period in keeping my life-long Quaker faith to myself. I compartmentalized my religion and kept it separate from my “worldly activities.”

The thought never occurred to me that the skills I put to good use in the secular world might have any relevance to the Religious Society of Friends.

The thought did occur to Thom Jeavons when he was General Secretary of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) in the early 2000s. We were having lunch one day and talking about my various ventures and adventures when Thom asked, “If you’re willing to use these skills for politics and business, why not for your religious beliefs? Are they less important?” Good question. Good question for all of us. Before long, this “private Quaker” became a “public Quaker.”

The State of Religion in the United States

So, what is the relevance, if any, of all of this for the Society of Friends, for Western Yearly Meeting, for our local churches and meetings…and stewardship?

Public opinion polls have indicated for many years that “organized religion” is on the decline in the United States. Membership is down and attendance is down in virtually every religious group. More people now consider themselves to be “spiritual” rather than “religious.” This turn away from organized religion seems to most observers to be a negative reaction to traditional top-down, creedal religions. People today seem to want to define their own truth and follow their own insights rather than those of “the church.”

That should be good news for an independent-thinking, individually-oriented group like the Quakers.

The State of the Religious Society of Friends in the United States

But, we are also on the decline numerically. Some Quakers like to take comfort in the fact that we are small in numbers but big in influence. That what counts is quality not quantity. This is true to a large extent, but this is only part of the story. Quakers have been in the forefront in many ways historically.

Quaker business people helped launch the industrial revolution in 17th and 18th century England by having fixed prices, agreements based on trust, and caring for the interests
of their employees.

William Penn helped launch American-style democracy by establishing the “Holy Experiment” in Pennsylvania based on a staggering number of firsts: freedom of religion, women’s rights, limited power of government, private property, free enterprise, free press, humane penal code and the right to trial by jury.

It is no wonder that Thomas Jefferson called William Penn “The greatest lawgiver the world has ever known.”

And, of course, the Religious Society of Friends became the first religious group to ban slavery in the United States, and Quaker women were in the forefront of the women’s suffrage movement. In 1947, “all Quakers everywhere” were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, accepted on their behalf by the American Friends Service Committee and the British Friends Service Council.

So, yes, a small group can have a big impact. And Quakers have had a huge impact historically. But what about today? Earlham School of Religion published in 2005 its Comprehensive Case for Support with some sobering statistics. “Over the past 30 years, membership in North American Yearly Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends has dropped precipitously. Between 1972 and 2002, total membership in these meetings has declined by 28,594; from 121,380 to 92,786….”

The report goes on to say, “This signifies a drop in membership of approximately 23.5% in just 30 years.” And later adds, “If these downward trends in the Society’s membership were to continue unchecked, American Quakers would become extinct sometime late in the 21st century.”

Friends World Committee for Consultation, Section for the Americas, provides some more recent data — the number of Quakers in North America fell further to 88,053 in 2007 and to 77,660 in 2012. Overall, we have seen a 36% drop in 50 years. Yet during the last 17 years, my home meeting, Newtown Friends Meeting, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania has increased in membership by a whopping 46%. Why? And how? Keep tuned until later in this talk.

I used to have a financial consulting company which provided valuations of media companies, cable TV companies, TV broadcast stations, cable programming channels and so forth. We appraised them for banks, the IRS, private equity firms, pension funds and others considering buying these companies or investing in them.

If my company were evaluating Quakers in America today as an investment opportunity, what would we find and what would we say?

My summary might read something like this:

Dynamic, aggressive, history-altering past performance; currently holds some valuable real estate; perception of Quakers historically is of high quality, integrity, prudence, trust and dependability; little knowledge or understanding by general public of current Quakers who seem to have no plans for growth or expansion. In short, investing in Quakers today would involve a strong historic brand name with considerable risk — a good, undervalued entity but a risky venture.

I also asked my friend John Spears, a deeply religious and generous member of Princeton Friends Meeting, a stock analyst and one of four managers of the $20 billion Tweedy Browne financial management firm in NYC, for his independent judgment of Quakers today. I asked if he would invest in Quakers if they were listed on the stock exchange. Here’s what he said:

“If it were a public company, no, I do not think I would buy it. I think the Quaker brand and old Classic Quaker product is a great brand/a great niche product that used to have wider appeal, but it has been mismanaged, mispackaged, mismarketed, undermarketed- and the numbers on membership and attendance and financial support over the last few decades show that the Quaker product is losing market share and financial support . . . the message, the benefit to people of Quakerism, is generally not selling well in competition with other religions . . .”

John goes on to say, “But I think the Religious Society of Friends has turnaround potential. Some of the franchises of the RSOF, such as Newtown Meeting, have been competing well, offering a product that appeals to people, that is gaining market share. The organization has speculative potential over the long run. For that turnaround to occur there needs to be significant adaptation of best practices at the local level. It is not a slam dunk at all that this will happen given the corporate culture.”

Did I say John Spears is one of Wall Street’s most highly regarded analysts?

But, lest we despair, here are some remarks made last March by a young convinced Friend, Ross Hennesey, who set aside his intentions to become a college professor to work with the Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS) as the director of the Philadelphia unit. Quaker Voluntary Service is the two-year-old dynamic organization started by thirty-five-year-old Christina Repoley that now has offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon, with one year service internships for 10-12 young Friends at each site, which operate under the care of a nearby Friends meeting or church. The young interns share a house, meals and regular worship together and are assigned to different charitable agencies in the area for their work assignments. Here’s what Ross said:

“I have on more than one occasion been told I am part of a dying religion. My non-Quaker friends are baffled by why I spend so much time and energy with you. They don’t get it, neither the silence, nor the tired debates we circle around and around long after they have ceased being relevant. Our congregations are aging. . . . And while we may be great listeners, we are terrible at communicating the things that matter most to us. . . . Who among us is laying the plans for Quaker utopias? Who are the innovators who are speaking relevant Truth and organizing us into communities that will not only survive, but thrive, that will change the world to be more just, more peaceful, and more equitable?

Ross continues to say,

“Quakerism for the 21st Century . . . needs a panoply, a bouquet, of individuals and organizations, old and new, that move us forward. . . . Rufus Jones’ idea of continuing revelation . . . reed Quakers to pursue Spirit beyond the confines of tradition or text. But more than that, this idea . . . also contains within it both a promise and a threat. It is the promise that each generation which inherits this ongoing story acts as midwife to an unfolding of Truth lived out. But if we ever let this generational pact be broken, Truth will arrive to us still-born. This is why I have thrown my lot in with you peculiar people. This is why I am a Quaker. It is the faith commitment that the greatness of our community is yet to come, that we still remain a great people to be gathered.”

I don’t know about you, Friends, but I find that flat-out inspiring.

These descriptions are anecdotal perceptions of the Society of Friends today. They are from different perspectives and say different things but share a common theme:

The Society of Friends is not in great shape at the moment; we have an incredibly inspiring history with an impact on society way out of proportion to our numbers; there are some signs of new vitality and we have great potential — if we act on it.

But, returning to the John Spears hypothetical analysis of Quakers today, we are not potential investors. We are the investors. The owners. We are the stewards. So, what could we be doing? What should we be doing? (See the Jan/Feb edition of Quaker Life for the conclusion of this lecture.)

Norval D. Reece is a birthright Friend and former Chair of the Board of Advisors of Earlham School of Religion, former clerk of Newtown Friends Meeting (Pennsylvania), and former Secretary of Commerce for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Friends Fiduciary Corporation, George School, Haverford College Corporation and the American Friends Service Committee’s Centennial Campaign Leadership Committee. He and his wife, Ann (Benson) have been married for 47 years and they have two grown sons, Tim and Stockton.

FUM News in Brief – November/December 2014

An Interview with Darcel Murray and Candi Young

By Dale Graves

Darcel is the second teacher in the Belize Friends School classroom in the mornings and supports Candi. In the afternoons Darcel teaches language arts and social studies. Candi teaches in the mornings and serves as Acting Principal.

Dale Graves: (I knew that Darcel lives on the south side now, and Candi did until she bought a fixer-upper just over the river into the north side and moved there a couple years ago.) Did you grow up on the south side?

Darcel: I was born on the north side on Freetown Road and moved to the south side when I was in standard 1 or 2 (Primary school).

Candi: I was born on Caye Caulker and came into Belize City for school. I moved to the south side when I was in high school.

Dale: Do you have brothers and sisters?

Darcel: I have two sisters and one brother. I was the third child.

Candi: I have three brothers. I was the first one. (Dale: “You were the more mature one.” Both laugh and agree heartily.) Dale: Where did you go to school?

Darcel and Candi: We actually went to the same elementary school, St Joseph’s, and the same high school, St. Catherine’s Academy. (Candi graduated in 2000, Darcel in 2001.)

Dale: Did you know each other in high school?

Darcel and Candi: Only as acquaintances, to say hi as we passed each other.

Dale: What about after high school?

Darcel: I went to 6th form at St John’s Jr College and studied business administration. In two years I earned my associate’s degree.

Candi: I went to the University of Belize for one semester and then started working here when Mr. Cain offered me a job. (Side note: Mike Cain had met her from her frequent visits to the school where her cousin was a teacher.) I was secretary from January to March then became a part time teacher in language arts. In the fall of 2002, I became a regular teacher.

Darcel: After college, I worked as a cashier at Cort’s (the largest appliance retailer in Belize). I also have worked as a secretary and most recently as a collections clerk for ESSO.

Dale to Darcel: How did you find out about this opening?

Darcel: I saw the ad in the newspaper.

Dale: Darcel, I understand you played basketball in Jr College.

Darcel: Oh yes. It’s my favorite sport.

Dale: What other sports did you play?

Darcel: Softball and track and field.

Dale: Tell me about your family, do you have children?

Darcel: I have one daughter.

Candi: And, I have two boys.

Dale: We had some conversation where Darcel expressed her gratefulness for how Ms Candi has been really helpful, and Candi expressed her appreciation for Darcel’s ability to stick with it. To quote Candi, “I’ve had other teachers who had much more training and higher degrees who just walked out the door because they could not deal with our kids.”

FTC Principal Ann Riggs Concludes Her Service

Thank you!

Join in giving thanks for Ann Riggs’ five years of ministry at Friends Theological College. Through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, Ann has:

• Nurtured and encouraged a younger generation of leaders and provided opportunities for them to develop their skills through the assignment of challenging teaching, research and administrative duties.

• Collaborated with several yearly meetings and mission sites to launch satellite campuses of FTC, to better meet the needs of nontraditional students.

• Progressed the college to the point where it is ready for “candidate” status in the accreditation process.

• Developed the college’s e-library, so that students at the satellite campuses could have access to a full theological research library.

• Initiated small business ventures to teach students entrepreneurial skills and to provide locally-sustainable income for the college.

• Taught the highest-level students and helped them achieve academic excellence.

• Recruited many visiting faculty from universities and seminaries in North America.

• Strengthened FTC’s collaborative relations with other theological colleges in East Africa. Friends have been richly blessed by Ann’s service and appreciate all that she has done.

“Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Rotary Clubs Donate Books to Belize Friends School

Bob Miller, from Cincinnati, Ohio, was part of a team that went to Belize from Wilmington Yearly Meeting in March 2012, led by Mike and Nancy McCormick. He came and helped with the repairs and installation of the second chalkboard.

During the visit Bob discovered that on Thursday of that week, Sam was to speak at the Sunrise Rotary Club. Bob, a Rotary member from Cincinnati, went along. After the speech, members asked how the Rotarians could help the school. Sam gave a few suggestions, and the Rotary Club chose the project of purchasing more books. When Bob went home, he urged the Cincinnati Rotary Club to partner with the club in Belize City.

It was a blessing to have both clubs work together to enhance the school’s library.

Wafula’s update

Robert Wafula was welcomed as the new principal of FTC during graduation on October 19. Wafula wrote on his Facebook wall, “I’m finally here where I belong.” Friends stepped up to the 21-day challenge and made it possible for Robert to be at hand for FTC’s graduation. Generosity abouds throughout FUM!

Iowa Yearly Meeting Helps Kyela Friends

The Friends of Kyela Monthly Meeting, in the far south of Tanzania on the border with Malawi, live in a flood-prone area where periodic heavy rains cause major damage. In April 2014, however, the floods were unusually destructive. Homes and crops were washed away and lives were lost. Friends in Iowa Yearly Meeting assisted the Kyela Friends to provide relief assistance to flood victims, including food, bedding, mosquito nets, clothing and the reconstruction of several homes.

Education for Esther Update

The 2014 Summer Mission goal is nearly met! As of this printing, $19,200 has been donated to this program. FUM has received many letters of appreciation from youth in East Africa.

ASHA Visits Ramallah Friends School

On Saturday, September 13, Ramallah Friends School was honored to receive a visit from the leadership of ASHA — the American Schools and Hospitals Abroad program of USAID. Pictured is Katherine Crawford, ASHA Director (pictured at left, holding a plaque from the school) together with (from left to right) Farhat Muhawi, Facilities Manager; Samer Shehadeh, Board Chairman; Joyce Ajlouny, RFS Director and Mahmoud Amra, Upper School Principal. Not pictured are Gary Barrett, ASHA Senior Program Advisor and Eduardo Vargas, Deputy Director for USAID’s Office of Community and Faith-based Initiatives.

ASHA has invested nearly $10,000,000 over the last two decades in Ramallah Friends School. After making their first-ever senior staff visit to the school, the ASHA leaders reflected with gratitude on the positive impact of the school in the Palestinian community.

FUM is now registered in Palestine

After much hard work by many Palestinian F/friends, FUM is now a registered entity with the State of Palestine Ministry of Interior as a Branch of a Charitable Society / Foreign Organization. This registration (similar to 501(c)3 status in the United States) will greatly facilitate FUM’s expanding work in Palestine, beyond the confines of the Ramallah Friends School.

The text from the certificate shown here states: The Ministry of Interior does hereby certify that the society/organization: FRIENDS UNITED MEETING, whose main head office is in Al-Bireh, of Ramallah and Al-Bireh Governorate, Al-Bireh city, has been duly registered with the specialized department according to the Charitable Societies and National Organizations’ Law No. (1) of year 2000, on this day Tuesday, corresponding to 19/08/2014, under number: QR-0239-F.

Co-Principals, Sam and Becky Barber Conclude Their Service with Belize Friends School

Thank you!

Join in giving thanks for the Barber family’s five years of ministry in Belize. Through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the Barber family:

• Gave glory to God in all things.
• Bore witness to the qualities of healthy Christian family life in all their daily interactions.
• Taught, counseled and encouraged scores of at-risk youth and witnessed to God’s transforming work in those students’ lives.
• Introduced the Alternatives to Violence Project to the country of Belize.
• Helped the school transition from all-boys to co-ed.
• Built meaningful relationships within the South Side community.
• Provided leadership within the Belize District Association of Primary School Principals.
• Gathered an Advisory Board to invite more community involvement in the school.
• Facilitated meaningful ministry experiences for numerous short-term mission teams.
Friends have been richly blessed by Sam & Becky’s service and appreciate all that they have done.

“Well done, good and faithful servants”

Friends Helping Friends in Jamaica

Submitted by Melissa Partin
Poplar Ridge Friends Meeting, NCYM

About one year ago, my husband, John, and I had finished reading Radical by David Platt. We never would have imagined how much God would use this book and scripture to speak to our hearts and give us a desire for missions.

We have been on mission trips before and loved every minute of those intimate moments with God — those moments where the busyness of life was unimportant — those anointed moments where the only priority is being the hands and feet of God. But, as years would pass between those opportunities, we found ourselves falling back into the realities of what it means to live an American life while also adding three beautiful children to our family.

After having to come face-to-face with the excess of our life and the reminder that being a child of God is more than blessing the already blessed,God placed an incredible burden on our hearts to love him more, spend more time with him and go out into the world to share the hope, joy, forgiveness, grace and love that he has to offer. We were obedient — we prayed. We had a phone conference with Colin Saxton, and we met with the then current superintendent of North Carolina Yearly Meeting in efforts to seek wisdom and discernment as to what to do with this burden and where we could serve.

I can now say in hindsight that Satan did not like the idea of our openness to be God’s hands and feet in the world. I Friends Helping Friends in Jamaica now believe that Satan launched a full attack against us. As we prayed and sought discernment, life got even busier and more distracting. However, our prayer remained steady. We prayed that our hearts would be open to missions, that we would be obedient if God would call our family into short-term or long-term missions, and that he would reveal where and how we would serve. While our hearts remained open, our ears were filled with noise.

As I reflect now on the year, I can say a silent prayer of thanks that God knows what his children need. While God was working in our hearts for the purpose of missions, he was also working in other hearts of those around us. One day, our pastor, Dave Mercadante, announced that he wanted to get a group of us together to serve the people in Jamaica in the summer of 2014. My husband John and I looked at one another and instantly our hearts knew that this was where God was calling us in this season of our walk with him.

As we raised funds as a team, God provided all we needed. It was in our own community where the mission trip had begun — the blessings were beautiful. I would like to say in the moment that I was able to be thankful, but I was exhausted. I did not cry out in words of praise in every moment, I cried out wondering how I would ever have the energy to now go to Jamaica and physically build a church. I cried out that I had been through a difficult year being attacked from all sides by Satan and I just wanted to rest. I cried out that I did not feel like I had enough time to spend with my children and I would be spending a week away from them. I actually cried — a lot. After reflecting on the year, I now speak many prayers of thankfulness that God is patient, he renews spirits and he enjoys using the least of these so that he can be seen and glorified.

I boarded a plane set for Jamaica with an assignment from my friend and pastor. He had enough wisdom to know that we needed to center ourselves as we left our American lives and transitioned to spending our days serving others in Jesus’ name. I flipped to Isaiah and while I was supposed to be reading a different chapter, my eyes fell onto Isaiah 52:7-10. Two parts of the scripture spoke to my heart: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion ‘Your God reigns!’… they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted His people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.”

Have you ever had those moments that you just needed scripture to be literal? In that moment, and I laugh a little now, I thought, “how beautiful it is to be able to go out into the world, into the blue mountains of Jamaica to proclaim salvation and that our God still reigns even though they have not had a place to worship in years. How wonderful that this community will be able to burst into songs of praise as we work together to rebuild the physical building that had been left in ruins! How divinely perfect!”

We arrived in Saint Mary’s Parrish only to find that the whole team would really not be needed to help build the church for most of the week. The building project had reached the point where several people were needed to set reinforcing wire and pour concrete. The rest of us would be doing something else. God knew this would be the case — he always knows. He had different, more beautiful, and more important plans for our team. He had us running two Vacation Bible School events in two different locations; serving the community of Friendstown through Vacation Bible School as well as the community that surrounded Albany Friends Meeting. He surprised us with Jamaica’s Independence Day and the opportunity to provide a Family Day to celebrate and break bread with the Friendstown community. He allowed us many opportunities to worship alongside our Jamaican Friends.

God introduced us to Jamaicans who have a desire in their hearts to proclaim the gospel but needed encouragement and support. I constantly spoke the words, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.” It was beautiful — I realized that while I had my eyes fixed on wanting to actually build a church building, God had plans for us to help our Jamaican friends in actually building his church. What good is a physical building if there is no one to fill it? I stand firm on the fact that his plans are always better than my plans — they are always beautiful! What an amazing experience it was to grow relationships with our Jamaican Friends as we served alongside one another seeking to share the gospel with the communities we were in.

As our week came to a close, God revealed to me yet another lesson from Isaiah 52. While meditating on it again, he spoke to my spirit, “When the Lord returns to (Melissa), she will see it with her own eyes. Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Melissa, for the Lord has comforted you, he has redeemed you!” The previous year’s attack by Satan left me in ruins; as such, I arrived in Jamaica tired, thirsting for connection with the Holy Spirit, hungry to be filled with God’s word in the Bible, and wondering how he would ever be able to use me. In every moment, God knew how to redeem me — he always knows us better than anyone or we could ever know us. He is our Creator.

I arrived home only to jump right back into teaching the day after and start back into the busy American life. This time around, my eyes are still focused on him, his purpose for me and his calling to others. I am filled with a burden to continue to serve God in partnership with my Jamaican Friends.

Do you wonder if you are enough to be used by God? You see, God does not always choose the most obvious people to do his most special work. He delights in choosing those of us who are broken and in ruins. He is a God who loves us more than we could ever imagine and he enjoys drawing us closer to him and redeeming us. He wants to use us in serving others and sharing the salvation of Christ.

Whether you choose to help support Jamaica (because God is not finished there) or whether you feel called to serve people somewhere else, I plead you to go. Let God use you — the end result could lead to salvation for others and reconciliation of you to God as you live out your purpose in him.

Abraham and Isaac: A Pacifist Story?

By William H. Mueller

God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, your beloved Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, where you are to offer him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I shall point out to you.’ Genesis 22:2 [New Jerusalem Bible])

The first test of faith in the Bible is the story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19). Abraham risked leaving his familiar land, to be guided eventually to the land of Canaan by God’s word. Abraham is thus the first of the homeless, scattered faithful whose story will be told over and over again in the Hebrew Bible (Esther 3: 8).

This particular narrative is close to the end of Abraham’s story, suggesting its importance. This teaching was also noticed by first-century Christians, making Abraham the quintessential “person of faith” for them (Romans 4: 1-3). The outcome of this test is so significant that Abraham is told afterward “because you have obeyed my command,” all nations on earth will be blessed (Genesis 22:18).

However, in my experience not everyone is comfortable with the story of Abraham and Isaac. Recently, I heard: “What sort of God would order a man to offer his son as a sacrifice?” Of course the story of Abraham and Isaac has a happy ending. In the end God stays the hand of Abraham and doesn’t allow him to kill his son. Nevertheless, we may be left with mixed feelings about the whole affair. What is the story about?

For starters, it is about getting our attention. Religion, for that matter, is also primarily about getting our attention. The shocking aspect of the story keeps it in people’s minds. If the Rabbi who told this story for the first time had simply said to his congregation, “You are to trust God in all things for the good,” all would have nodded agreement and promptly forgotten. Thousands of years later, Rabbi Jesus taught in parables for the same reason (Matthew 13:10-16). Stories get our attention more than mere instructions.Stories that rile us up really get our attention.

Isaac is Abraham’s only son, his beloved son. This is the first time that love is treated in Western literature says Thomas Cahill (The Gifts of the Jews, 1998). More is the anguish in this test of Abraham’s trust. Abraham knows somewhere deep within, God is a God of love and not a God of harm, as so many gods of the cultures surrounding the Jews in his day would have been. He knows that there is a good reason for God’s request. And that reason is, we are to honor love and never, ever kill another human being in the name of God.

We must remember that human sacrifice was routinely practiced in Abraham’s time. This story is thus the beginning of the Law, the delineation of what a Jew should and should not do, and by extension, what we should and should not do. Nowadays of course, human sacrifice is no longer practiced. Perhaps the story has outlived its usefulness? Sons, beloved or otherwise, are no longer sacrificed on sacred altars. Or are they?

One needs only refer to the carnage of the 20th century, the bloodiest on record, to show that sacrifice continues unabated. It is not couched in the same terms as in Abraham’s time, yet sacrifice it is, and in the name of some “god,” whatever sacred cause it happens to be: Patriotism, communism, capitalism, and freedom to do as we please are some “sacred” causes offered up as recent excuses. The word sacrifice is often used by political and military leaders to describe war dead. The message of Abraham and Isaac’s story is conveniently forgotten: It is a fearless testimony against war.

It is interesting that this testimony comes very early in the writings of the Judeo-Christian tradition. The first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis show the essential goodness of God’s creation, elaborate on subsequent human mismanagement of the creation and dramatize a new world order after a flood of human wickedness has brought about destruction of the old one (Genesis 6:1-11: 26). Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah are characters in this part of Genesis. These individuals have a mythical quality and may not feel “real” to us.

Abraham, first known as “Abram,” is different; he is clearly flesh and blood like you and me. When Abram reaches the land of Canaan, his just actions speak for him. The inhabitants recognize his goodness and peacefully invite him to stay. Later, God makes a covenant with Abram and he becomes “Abraham,” a new name signifying new birth.

The narratives of the book of Genesis, beginning with Abraham and following, are all stories about the human propensity to do harm followed by making amends and reconciliation.

For example, Sodom and Gomorrah is a story about the roots of violence. In it is dramatized how failure to give hospitality to the stranger may lead to objectification of, and subsequent harm to, the outsider (Genesis 18-19). In the story of Isaac (Genesis 24-26), Isaac’s example allows him to live and prosper peacefully among the Philistines in spite of potential conflict. In the end the Philistine king Ambilech pursues Isaac, who he has sent away because the Israelites have grown so numerous, only to make a peace treaty with him.

In the story of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 27-33), Abraham’s grandsons, sibling rivalry, deception, betrayal and cleverness abound, resulting in a number of human difficulties, however ending in poignant reconciliation of the brothers. And in the story of Jacob’s favorite son Joseph, though betrayed into slavery by his brothers, he chooses reconciliation over revenge, thus saving Israel for its eventual meeting with God at Sinai (Genesis 37-47).

In the last two chapters of Genesis, Jacob leaves a testament to each of his sons, the leaders of the twelve tribes. His discourses are wonderful studies of human character. Among them he curses two sons, Simeon and Levi, because in their rage [they] have killed men (Genesis 49:6).

We could say the main message of the book of Genesis is the goodness of God’s creation and our responsibility to avoid the causes of violence among people and to offer instead amendment and reconciliation when we make mistakes, as inevitably we will.

I have heard it said that some do not care for the violence portrayed in the Bible. I wonder what people believe religion is about. Religion is about solving human problems, and the main one, if history be judge, is war. The human capacity to make mistakes has not changed since Biblical times. In our secular world with its worship of material well-being, it may occur to us that the only way to prevent war is through humanitarian political and social action.

Certainly the time must come to act; however, how can we be sure we are taking the right action? As religious people, ironically, it often seems the last thing that occurs to us is to consult scripture and find the roots of righteous indignation against killing there. We have lost the message about the human tragedy that faced the ancients — and still faces us —- told in this great body of literature.

What can we ask ourselves? Do we seriously take biblical narratives and make the necessary time and effort to seek the presence of God in them? Do we earnestly seek these texts as sources of inspiration for right action in our world today? Have we forgotten that God will provide answers to human problems, and show us the proper course to take, as intimated in Abraham’s answer to his son’s anxious inquiry on that fateful day: “But where is the lamb for the burnt offering? Abraham replied ‘My son, God himself will provide the lamb…. (Genesis 22: 7-8).’”

William H. Mueller is a retired anthropologist who did research and teaching in the field of public health. He is a member of St. Lawrence Valley Friends Meeting, under Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. His articles have appeared in Quaker journals, including Quaker Life, Friends Journal, The Canadian Friend and What Canst Thou Say? He and his wife Pat edit a monthly inspirational letter, “The Inlook-Outlook,” supporting a prison ministry.

Where Does Quaker Leadership Come From?

It Has Seemed Good to the Holy Spirit and to Us:

The Wellspring of Quaker Leadership

By Dorlan Bales

Has the Quaker approach to leadership and authority been remarkable since the earliest days of the movement? Absolutely! Rather than look primarily to tradition, human hierarchy, intellectual arguments or the translations and interpretations of inspired writings; the Society of Friends has put its highest confidence in the eternal Word, the present-tense Holy Spirit promised by Jesus.

Quakers, at their best, seek the guidance of the Living Christ, who gathers us and gives us power for ministry to one another and the world. This movement has kept the Gospel fresh by listening inwardly and corporately for the leadership of the Holy Spirit in every aspect of life. This precious heritage of practicing the presence of God alone and with other disciples may be the most important gift Friends have to share.

Leadership in the First Century: Jesus and the Prophetic Tradition

The message and actions of Jesus are closely related to the Hebraic prophetic tradition. He called hearers to repentance and embodied the healing presence of God among working class people. This Spirit-baptized prophet spent most of his time healing and teaching common people who had uncommon faith, particularly his small group of disciples. Jesus also pointed out the hypocrisy of the religious leaders who often asked questions as a ruse to discredit him.

Just before he was betrayed into the hands of his enemies, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet to warn them against self-promotion and urge them to serve one another (John 13:1- 17). Jesus’ teaching, example and spirit continued to unite his disciples even after he was taken from them bodily. After the Holy Spirit was poured out and the authorities began to persecute the young community (Acts 2), Jesus’ message and ministry continued to grow.

Peter, Barnabas, Paul, James, and the Jerusalem Council of 50 A.D.

There is no more important milestone in the earliest history of the church, following Pentecost and Paul’s conversion, than that of Peter’s vision on a rooftop that ultimately led to the Holy Spirit being poured out on the household of a Roman military officer (see Acts 10). This breakthrough set in motion a series of actions by courageous Spirit-led early church leaders that broadened early believers’ understanding of God’s intentions and created a new name, Christian, for Jesus’ disciples (Acts 11:1-26).

Some believers settled in southeast Turkey after fleeing persecution in Jerusalem. They founded a congregation in Antioch where Jesus was proclaimed to Greeks as well as Jews. Barnabas was sent to help this new church. After encouraging the Antioch believers and seeing that new people were joining daily, Barnabas found Paul in south central Turkey and returned with him to teach the new Antioch converts.

After they returned, some believers from the sect of the Pharisees in Jerusalem began to teach that all Christians (whether Jew or Gentile) must keep the Mosaic Law and be circumcised. After Paul and Barnabas had “no small dissension and debate with them; Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to discuss this question with the apostles and the elders (Acts 15:2).”

How would the earliest church contend with its biggest crisis? The issue of Gentile inclusion had the potential to split the fledgling church! Great wisdom was needed. Acts 15 describes what happened.

Paul and Barnabas were welcomed in Jerusalem by the church and the apostles and elders. They shared their news about what God had done. The believers from the sect of Pharisees shared their deep conviction that Gentiles who follow Jesus must keep the Law of Moses. There was “much debate” before Peter reminded those present that he had been called by God to speak the good news to Gentiles and had witnessed God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to them. For Peter, that was the compelling evidence that God loves Gentiles, as well as Jews.

Then, “the whole assembly kept silence, and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles.” James stood up and proposed that a letter to be delivered by Jerusalem leaders, Judas and Silas, that said, “It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.” This decision was accepted by everyone including the Jesus-following Pharisees and was received by the Antioch church with joy.

According to this narrative the experience of Peter, Paul and Barnabas and the immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit in their midst had more authority for James and the earliest church than even Hebrew Scriptures and tradition.

The founding fathers and mothers of Quakerism in 17th-century England read of this incident depicted in Acts 15 and saw their own experience and emphasis on the Holy Spirit affirmed. These holy words, no doubt, gave them boldness!

Queries for Reflection and Discussion

Describe the way Jesus taught and led his disciples, spoke to the crowds who followed him, and responded to the scribes and Pharisees who tried to stump him with difficult questions. Is it surprising to you that some of the Pharisees became Jesus’ followers on or after the Day of Pentecost? Why or why not?

What seems important about how early Christian leaders took action, both in Antioch and in Jerusalem, to resolve the pivotal controversy about Gentile inclusion? Quaker Leadership in the 17th and 18th Centuries Early Friends, like the first Christians, experienced the Living Christ as the source of their unity and as their leader in all things. They practiced an active inward listening in both meetings for worship and business so they could be grounded in the presence of the Spirit.

Just as Jesus, the carpenter’s son, and his unschooled disciples were recognized by their hearers as speaking with authority, the authority of Quaker leaders flowed from the working of the Holy Spirit. Though many were literate and familiar with the scriptures and a few knew church history, Friends did not appeal primarily to outward authorities. Quakerism emerged early as part of a fundamental change from reliance on prevailing church and state hierarchies to a new foundation of inward authority and democracy. As George Fox put it, “Christ is come to teach his people himself, and bring them off the world’s ways.” (Journal, 1652) Truth, according to early Friends, was not to be determined primarily by what ancient authorities or contemporary bishops and kings said, but rather by the present inner workings of Jesus’ Holy Spirit, discerned by all who would listen together and come to a shared understanding of God’s will.

This theological conviction had consequences for leadership. During the 1650s, Quaker emphasis was on preaching the good news, particularly to groups of seekers who had stopped attending church services in order to wait together and listen for a word from God. The earliest Quaker preaching took place in the midst of seeker gatherings, Church of England meetings for worship, open air marketplaces and in public halls where people gathered to hear Quakers debate clergy of various sorts.

Then in the 1660s, King Charles II replaced Puritan Oliver Cromwell and the Parliament of Saints, ushering in a period of greater persecution for Friends. Quaker leader James Nayler, four years earlier, had publicly reenacted Jesus’ triumphal entry. Both events triggered widespread criticism and awakened Quakers to the importance of oversight by Friends communities. Though weak from a long and brutal imprisonment, Fox and others travelled to Quaker worship groups in the mid-1660s and to help set up order and stability to the movement. 18th and early 19th century American Quaker leaders, such as John Woolman, grew up in colonies where Spiritcentered community shaped their attitudes toward material goods and promoted openness to travelling with a concern.

At a time when it was tempting to be satisfied with a formal cultural Quakerism, ministers and elders offered important leadership in maintaining Quaker practices, including plain speech and dress, in order to promote unity and warn Friends not to conform to the world’s values. Self-centeredness was discouraged because it hindered discernment of God’s will.

Some Friends had the gift of sensing the pulse of a meeting for worship or business. Others met with families in their homes to encourage them spiritually, or offered vocal ministry during meetings for worship as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. (See Samuel Bownas’ A Description of the Qualifications Necessary to a Gospel Minister.) Elders offered nurture to ministers and others, building meetings’ unity and offering an example of strong inward connection with God and neighbors. The practice of having separate men’s and women’s meetings for business, and the establishment of meetings for sufferings (assistance for those in need) encouraged women’s leadership. Ministers and elders, both men and women, typically travelled in pairs to keep Friends meetings connected with one another and grounded.

Queries for Reflection and Discussion

Why do you think Quakers were criticized for allowing anyone, including women, children, and people with little education, to offer their leadership during meetings for worship and business?

Why was the Quaker emphasis on shared leadership of their meetings under the guidance of the Holy Spirit important as new generations took the place of the founders? How do you account for the fact that many people were willing to become Quakers in the early years when that choice often meant loss of possessions and social standing, even imprisonment in terrible conditions? Why did later generations choose to be Quakers when Friends had become a “peculiar people.”

Quaker Leadership in the 21st Century

Today, as in centuries past, the most powerful examples of Quaker faith and practice flow from discernment of the Holy Spirit’s leading, whether the Quaker body is as small as a household or international like Friends United Meeting. Faithful decisions rely upon Spirit-led unity as to what is God’s call and a shared willingness to act accordingly. Such discernment requires both careful inward listening to the Guide by individuals and equally sensitive listening to one another.

Robert Greenleaf wrote an essay in 1970 that was welcomed by many Friends and influenced the writings of Stephen Covey, M. Scott Peck, Margaret Wheatley and others who were moving away from a “top of the pyramid” leadership model to a more organic power sharing approach that helps others develop and seek the common good. It is available online at www.leadershiparlington.org/TheServantasLeader.pdf. (See also Lloyd Lee Wilson’s influential and more recent “Helping One Another Take on the Risks of Ministry” in his Essays on the Quaker Vision of Gospel Order.)

Quakers traditionally have not asked selected individuals to make a group’s important decisions, because the Holy Spirit is at work in and among each of its members. Ideally, there are no passengers on the good ship Quaker! All are invited to be members of the crew, exercising gifts that build up the church. The adventure of faithful response to the Holy Spirit’s leadership is not limited by genealogy, age, gender, disabilities, sexual orientation, race, class or academic credentials.

Everyone who responds to the Holy Spirit’s call is welcome on board, invited to share the journey’s labors and experience the spiritual bounty of the Captain’s table. In the midst of this inclusiveness, some Friends are recognized as leaders because they are called to serve by listening inwardly and outwardly, encouraging others to do so and discerning how meetings are being led by the Spirit.

In contemporary Quaker practice, there are unfortunately at least two ways in which Friends make individuals’ service difficult. On the one hand, Friends can sometimes assume that the work of the church is to be done primarily by those who are financially supported, theologically educated and/or blessed with winsome personalities. Church members not supported, educated or winsome assist these leaders as they are able. When problems arise, the church or meeting too often blames the paid Friend, who is urged to find a place of service elsewhere. In these churches and meetings, pastors and meeting secretaries are the crew who keep the ship’s engines running, the passengers fed and the vessel sailing toward a destination agreeable to most passengers. What should be a sense of spiritual partnership in a ministry shared by all, with released Friends equipping other members, easily becomes a secular business model that often leaves paid Friends feeling isolated and unrealistically responsible.

On the other hand, there are Quaker meetings and churches where the service of new gifted and called Friends is discouraged, especially the ministry of those who cannot afford to volunteer. That service is actively resisted and even dismissed as prideful self-promotion and a needless drain on the treasury. Leaders of these meetings and churches who pride themselves on defending the status quo against change have forgotten Friends’ history of creative insights and innovative action.

Fortunately, Quaker schools are leading the way in providing leadership programs that are equipping a new generation for leadership in the Society of Friends and the wider world. Guilford College, Earlham School of Religion, Friends University, Friends Theological College, Westtown School, Ramallah Friends Schools, and Wichita Friends School are only a few of the encouraging examples.

In this new century, Friends dare not rely on a warehouse stocked with spiritual food gathered by past generations. Like the manna in the wilderness, God’s nourishment must be sought and received constantly and lived out in fresh ways if we are to be faithful servant leaders. Let’s avoid the temptation to assume that only a few Friends are called by God to do the Spirit-directed work the world desperately needs, and reexamine our penchant for discouraging ourselves and others called to serve meetings and churches in various ways. Let us heed the Apostle Paul’s plea to the Ephesians in chapter 4: “Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Queries for Reflection and Discussion

How can Friends today encourage those in our midst who are called to ministry? How can the recording of gifts and minister be of assistance or of hindrance? Who is doing the work of the elder?

What can we say to each other and the world that springs from Christ present among us now? How can we learn together to better communicate that Good News beyond our church’s membership and meetinghouse walls?

Can you think of an example or two of Quaker leadership in the 21st century, by groups and by individuals that have built up the church and advanced the kingdom of God?

What particular challenges in your Friends meeting, church, or organization require particularly close attention now to our Guide?

Dorlan Bales grew up in Northwest Yearly Meeting, the eldest child of pastor/teachers George and Elenita. Between ministry studies at George Fox University and Earlham School of Religion, he completed two years of alternative service at a children’s hospital in Vietnam. After studying theology in Chicago, he was led to Wichita, Kansas where he lives with his wife Kathryn Damiano, stays in touch with sons Micah and Andrew and writes grant proposals for Sunflower Community Action, which he helped found. He is a member of Heartland Friends Meeting, works for peace and justice, and enjoys playing and making violins.

Silent Night, 1914

By Charles David Kleymeyer, PhD

Christmas Eve 2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of a remarkable event in the history of war and peace. Across two-thirds of the British-German front, and along the French and Belgian fronts as well, as the early months of that terrible and ironic “War to End All Wars” drew to a close, soldiers and officers on both sides of the hostilities spontaneously laid down their weapons and joined one another in the no-man’s land in what came to be known as the Christmas Truce of World War I.

This event was widely documented in letters home, photographs, and a shortlived spate of newspaper articles. But then the media fell virtually silent for decades, and accounts of the event were spread largely by word of mouth. Quaker Life, in its December 1981 issue, published an earlier version of the literary non-fiction below that had been inspired by one of these oral reports.

This piece, written in 1974, has been passed around ever since in photo-copy and digital form to large numbers of readers. Subsequent to its 1981 publication, a string of books and articles appeared — some by military historians—as well as a trilingual film (“Joyeux Noel”) by a joint British/German/Belgian team, and a poignant folksong and children’s book by Quaker singer-songwriter, John McCutcheon (Christmas in the Trenches). By now, earlier claims that the event was apocryphal have long been laid to rest by the indisputable evidence.

To mark this event of a century ago, Quaker Life is now reprinting the 1981 story, revised slightly for accuracy, for readers to ponder and share during the holiday season and beyond. Here lies hopeful evidence of the humanity that beats in the hearts of common people, even in the worst of times. There is indeed that of God in all of us — revealed on special occasions and at festive times, but also eternally present as surely as the sun rises and sets.

The Christmas Truce lives on in history — for those who seek peace in all spheres of life, it is a beacon pointing the way forward.

What you are about to read is absolutely true. A small, white-haired Quaker told me this story as the two of us waited in line at the United Nations to hear Henry Kissinger address the General Assembly in 1974. Fall was fading into winter and the nations of the world were at each other’s throats once again. My newfound friend spoke to me of his frequent visits to the UN to observe nations talking at one another about their conflicts. He told me also of his efforts over the years both in his native Britain and his adopted U.S. to halt or prevent violent discord between groups of human beings.

As we stood talking, a man standing behind me broke in with what many would consider an ingenuous question. Speaking English with difficulty and emphasizing each word, he asked my new friend, “Why do you think people fight wars? What brings men — like you and me — to want to destroy one another over their differences?”

My friend leaned his head back and smiled. “If I could answer your question, I would be famous.” He threw a quick glance at me. “Like your Mr. Kissinger!” We joined him in his laughter.

“Well, I cannot answer your question,” he went on. “’But let me tell you a story instead.” This, then, is his story:

“In 1914 I was a young man just out of school. I didn’t know much, least of all what I wanted to do with my life. But I did know one thing. I wanted nothing to do with the ominous war that had begun that year — what we now call World War I. I was an objector.

“Life forces its contradictions on one, however, and I soon found myself on the front as a non-combatant, a stretcher-bearer to be exact, with the Regiment of Welch Fusiliers. That was 60 autumns ago.

“Oh, it was dreadful. Cold, wet, brutal. Moreover, no one on the front lines really knew what he was fighting for. Or against. After all, Europe was barely into the 20th century. Nations were generally ignorant of one another. Radio and the airplane were new inventions. And, if you traveled, it was by horse or ship or steam locomotive. Not very fast and rarely very far. Even the city dwellers were provincial. And there we were, all of us green young fellows, shivering in desolate trenches way over on the Continent.

“The shaking was only partly due to the cold. Smoking bombs fell near us. Friends were torn limb from limb. And you see, we couldn’t really say what for. After all, as the officers told us, we weren’t there to think but to fight. So the soldiers fought, primarily to stay alive, and we stretcher-bearers carried their broken bodies back to the hospital tents. It was that simple. That terribly simple.

“December came and I longed for that miserable war to be over so that I could go back to Wales. Little did I know what awaited us! Such is life. I remember feeling hollow and bewildered. And as long as I live, I’ll never forget that first Christmas at the front. There were few of us who didn’t want to be home, safe and sound, roasting chestnuts on the hearth, eating meat pies, and spiriting a piece of plum pudding off to bed on Christmas Night.

“The morning of the 24th, we walked about with grim looks on our faces. Christmas Eve, and we at war. We may not have been very worldly, but we knew a bit about life …and now about death. We weren’t boys, after all, but men: blacksmiths and shepherds, waggoners and farm hands, masons and clerks. War was no lark for us, and we clearly saw the irony in shooting and being shot at on the anniversary of Christ’s birth. We still had our humanity, you know. We were no Christmas bombers.

“In any case, evening inevitably came, and after a special ration of dried meat and corn bread, I went out with B Company to help keep a few small fires going while they manned the trenches. The night sky was like obsidian, glistening from countless points of starlight. And as we talked, we could see one another’s words billow out in small clouds of breath that faded into the night along with the sound.

“We were all feeling, in our misery, even more solidarity than usual and a deepening distaste for where we were and what we were doing. Midnight was approaching. For some time there had been quiet. We had no heart for confrontation or for even keeping up the pretense.

“I stared deep into the night towards the German lines. There was little detectable movement there either. And yet I felt uneasy, as always. Who could be at peace with his world at such a moment?

“Down in a trench, I huddled my arms and legs together, trying to feel as much as possible like a small group of friends, and I blew warm breath into my hands. Then something caught my eye and I looked up. Off to my right a man had stood, his helmeted head facing the heavens, his thin body silhouetted against the stars. And then this heedless figure began to sing! As the first heartbreakingly beautiful notes reached me, I recognized the fine tenor voice of Wells, the cooper’s helper. He sang as he had never sung before:

SILENT NIGHT…
HOLY NIGHT…
ALL IS CALM…
ALL IS BRIGHT…

“Each note of each phrase struck deep into me, into the farthest reaches of my troubled soul. Without a thought of danger, I too, stood. Transported, I felt a strong breath rush into me and the words soar back out in accompaniment,

‘ROUND YON VIRGIN,
MOTHER AND CHILD…
HOLY INFANT,
SO TENDER AND MILD…

“Tears welled in my eyes when voice after voice joined in, swelling the sound as in a cathedral and sending the song out into the cavernous night:

SLEEP IN HEAVENLY PEACE…
SLEEP IN HEAVENLY PEACE.

“Such a singular occurrence was not apt to end so quickly as it had begun. We all began again to sing this familiar first verse. After the second round something happened that was even more extraordinary. Floating back through the cold night air came the sound of the German troops answering us:

STILLE NACHT…
HEILIGE NACHT…
ALLES SCHLÄFT…
EINSAM WACHT…

“Imagine! Our ‘enemies’ had joined us. The longings of brothers had locked arms. We sang with new joy — and new sorrow:

‘ROUND YON VIRGIN,
HOCH HEILIGE PAAR…
HOLY INFANT,
IM LOCKIGEN HAAR…

“The song rolled back and forth across the no man’s land. The distant voices gathered into one rising surge of wishful lament:

SLEEP IN HEAVENLY PEACE…
SCHLAF IM HIMMLISCHER RUH.

“Over and over we sang these resonant and simple lyrics until we were hoarse and emotionally spent. Then we went further. We clambered out of the trenches to do what one does with brothers — fraternize. All that night we sang and laughed and traded rations and gifts from home. German beer flowed as freely as British ale. Chocolate bars were pressed into our hands and we reciprocated with sticks of cinnamon and peppermint. Those of us from each side who knew a few words of the other language acted as stumbling interpreters, causing great hilarity. The dawning of Christmas Day found some of us dancing to a mouth organ, others smiling broadly as they pulled out tattered pictures of family members and girl friends, to pass around in the pale rays of morning light. “In the days that followed, the commanding officers were furious. They threatened to throw us in the nearest stockade and have us court-martialed. Only the fact that it was Christmastide saved us…and rightly so. We were ordered to maintain silence about the incident, but it was too late. Later I learned that similar occurrences had taken place all along the battlefront, and now I know this was neither the first nor last such event in human history!

“It must have been the same or worse on the German side because it’s said that their soldiers were the main instigators. Back home and overseas, many people heard nothing of what had happened, faraway on the killing grounds of France and Flanders, one silent night in nineteen hundred and fourteen.” My friend smiled softly and looked away. Deep inside me his story swept about, leaving trails of feelings wherever it went. The conversation around me turned back to high-level diplomacy. But I was still seeing and hearing those young men rising out of the trenches dug into that perilous frozen field. Nothing could tear my thoughts from this small piece of history, from the enormous story that this lively wisp of a man had just told.

[Originally printed in Quaker Life, December 1981, pp 22-23; Slightly revised for style and accuracy, 9/14]

Meanderings and Musings – November/December 2014

By Annie Glen – Communications Editor

All organizations go through seasons. During the spring there is a sense of renewal and vibrant growth occurs. Spring turns to summer and more and more activities progress. As pastor of Dublin Friends Meeting in Dublin, Indiana, I have noticed that the meeting is in the season of late autumn. They are prepared for winter, yet the congregation believes they still are to be an influence in the community and in the world. The activity has lessened, but not stopped. Though many leaves have fallen and scattered, Dublin Friends knew they needed someone to lead and guide them to be a scattered people—scattered to be of influence in the lives that surround them.

Like leaves on a tree we grow, bloom and mature. As autumn arrives, the winds of the Spirit scatter Friends into the world to influence, sustain and nurture new growth. Some of us will be gathered together to provide nutrients in a garden that has been seeded for the spring. Others will be placed in a compost pile to be purposely recycled at a later day. And some might lie moldering on the forest floor, surrendering constituent nutrients and fiber in the underbrush. Yet, none of us believe we are to stay still. In this season though few in number, we continue to
be alive and vital to the spiritual growth of a new generation.

It is too easy to be distracted by what limits us — our age, our number, etc. Our season may be autumn and we may be scattered. But that does not matter. We are placed in an area where we are to be vital and nutritious to a world that seems to be hungry for Christ. Dublin Friends has nurtured a small group within a retirement apartment complex. The last Sunday of the month our congregation offers worship and a pitch-in meal in the common room of the complex. Several of the residents feel that our meeting is their meeting. Many of them do not hesitate to call me with prayers and concerns. Although they cannot get to meeting, they are considered a vital part of the meeting.

Midweek several of us attend a biker’s Bible study. Those that started this group felt led to provide the gospel to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. Each person who has attended leaves with the sense that God loves them. Some stay afterward to talk further. It has been great to be able to be a support and a mentor to this group. I have seen them soak up the nutrients of the Spirit as they wrestle with questions and issues that are present in their lives.

Dublin Friends Meeting also touches lives within the community. Two of our members serve on the town’s council; one serves on the library board and one as president of a Kiwanis club. Both are asked often why they wish to volunteer and thus, an opportunity to witness to their faith arises.

Most of all, this scattered community is led by Christ in the presence of the living God. They personify George Fox’s exhortation. They are patterns, examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever they go. Their life and conduct preaches among all sorts of people, and to them. Because of this, they come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one. They are a blessing, and make the witness of God in people a blessing to everyone.

Leading this scattered people is a blessing to me, and I am honored to be called their pastor. As we prepare for winter, I see this community preparing for new growth. What our garden will look like in the spring is not apparent as yet. But this I know: the Master Gardner is tilling the soil, planting the seed and providing the nutrients through the scattered leaves of Dublin Friends. The whole process is beautiful to behold.

Passages: Quaker Obituaries – September/October 2014

BRYAN Margueritte Elaine Bryan, known to friends and family as Marbie, passed away peacefully in Tucson, Arizona, on January 14, 2013. Born in Hutchinson, Kansas on September 18, 1930, she was the youngest of four children born to George Wilson Bryan and Maude Alice Vancil Bryan. Marbie seemed to develop some significant concepts at a very early age. She spoke of her childhood memory of running for the first time at two and being aware of a sense of “freedom” to go where she wanted to go. A concept of justice came to her early, too, when she was spanked by her mother, at the age of four, for not settling down and then spanked again for crying about the incident. After graduating from high school, Marbie attended the University of Wisconsin and received a B.A. in Education. While there, she met and married James Brault. It was during this time, also, that Marbie and Jim came upon Quakers when they attended a “faith fair” organized by the University. They found that the Quaker world view matched their own perspective. As a young person, Marbie was moved by the mystical power of life, hymns and the teachings of Jesus and by the age of 19, she had read the Bible. She tried various practices, including Christian Science. While with a Quaker group that worshipped in the Rathskeller at the University, Marbie realized how noisy her mind was, and it was there that she experienced a transformation through silent worship. The couple moved east, first to Ithaca, New York, and then to Princeton, New Jersey, where Jim pursued his Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Physics, and Marbie worked for Educational Testing Services. A friend from that time remembers how Marbie often came up with challenging ideas for projects and then followed through with the hard work needed to complete them. Some of her activities were connected with Princeton Friends Meeting and others with a small but energetic group of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. After nine years in Princeton, the family — now including three small children moved to Tucson in 1964, relocating because of Jim’s job at the Kitt Peak National Observatory. Marbie was grateful for opportunities to travel with Jim to such places as Europe, China and India, and the couple hosted many overseas visitors. Marbie loved to experiment with food and encouraged others to do the same by initiating and hosting international potlucks with a foreign foods club. At age 39, Marbie went back to school and completed a second Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Drama. She also took a Progroff Intensive Journal workshop and continued journal writing throughout her life. It was through her writing that she learned to address injustice and her anger. She never stopped learning. In 1984, after 32 years of marriage, Marbie and Jim divorced. It was at this time Marbie attended Findhorn, a spiritual community and eco-village in Scotland, to find healing. She later talked of experiencing an awakening and a new awareness of Truth and Love. Her spiritual journey led her to consider, “Where do I get wisdom?” She also studied “A Course in Miracles” and took a class titled “People Facing Change in Their Lives.” Marbie Brault applied for membership in the Religious Society of Friends and became a member of Pima Meeting in 1985. In her letter of application, she stated that after many years of association with Friends it was time to “stand up and be counted” as she was moved by the work of the Sanctuary Movement. Marbie believed it was important to live your beliefs and she contributed to many charities. As an active member of Pima Meeting, she served in many roles and committees, including Long Range Planning, Ministry and Oversight, Trustees and Greeters. She also began a practice of making dolls, which would be sent to El Salvador through the American Friends Service Committee. She was asked to bring that work to Intermountain Yearly Meeting where, known as the Doll Project, it became a popular crafts activity, the creations being sent on to various communities. At Pima Meeting, Marbie was asked to take over the Homeless Hospitality project, and she kept that active for several years. Marbie looked for opportunity for work that would combine her love of writing, acting and teaching. She engaged with Sci-Expo, a venture for schools and went on to develop a program called Science Alive!, which brought into classrooms dramatizations of famous scientists who would explain their discoveries. Marbie directed this non-profit organization for 13 years, writing scripts, making costumes and training actors. She sometimes appeared in classrooms in costume as Madame Curie. Community and connections were always important in Marbie’s life. She felt inspired to provide land next to her house to create a community garden for the neighborhood. She sheltered many refugees in her home, worked with women’s gatherings and loved to open her home to her many friends and activities. She traveled the world, determined to live her life with the perspective that “everything is important and nothing is important.” She was a follower of the Dalai Lama, and one of the highlights of her life came in 2009 when she received a hug from him on her birthday. In her later years, rheumatoid arthritis curtailed her travel and activities. A memorial service celebrating Marbie Bryan’s rich life was held on July 27, 2013 at Pima Friends Meeting House. She is survived by her children, Stephen Brault and wife Jill Thorpe, Lisa Midyett and husband Jay, and Jennifer Wright and husband Frank, all of whom live in Tucson. Her three step-grandchildren, from the Wright family, are Irene (deceased), Rocky, and Shane. (Memorial minute approved 2014-07-13 by Pima Monthly Meeting of Friends, Tucson, Arizona)

CHETSINGH Dilawar Chetsingh, 75, died on May 31, 2014, at Noida, New Delhi, India. Dilawar was born at the Friends Mission Hospital, Itarsi, India, to Doris and Ranjit Chetsingh on October 26, 1938. He had a carefree childhood at the Friends Rural Centre, Rasulia, India. After schooling in India and at Friends School, Saffron Walden, England, he studied history at University and went into Indian Government Service. Dilawar later used his retirement to the full, continuing to give significant help and support to individuals and taking on responsible honorary positions in four organizations concerned with religious, educational and social work. He was a key member of the General Conference of Friends in India, where he is remembered as “a loving elderly figure who was always there to help and guide with a smile on his face.” From 2004-2012, he served as Clerk of the Asia West Pacific Section of the Friends World Committee for Consultation, and concurrently on the Central Executive Committee. An FWCC colleague recalls his “perseverance and non-confrontational and even temperament. Dilawar undertook administrative work for the Lott Carey Baptist Mission in India, becoming its president, with responsibility for four secondary schools in Noida as well as AIDS and leprosy clinics and attending the Biennial Conference of the Mission in the USA. Dilawar loved to travel and to interact with people. He always had plenty of questions to ask them. He was a keen and knowledgeable birdwatcher. Tributes since his death emphasize how his names set the benchmark for his life. His first name, Dilawar, can be translated Greatness of Heart, and his second name, Kripal means merciful, compassionate. These qualities in his character remain present to his wife, Snehlata, his daughter Kripa and her family in England, his son Ranjit in Canada, and relatives and friends worldwide.

REYNOLDS Floyd Addison Reynolds, 88, passed away on July 11, 2014. Mr. Reynolds was preceded in death by his parents Solon Addison Reynolds and Alma Barker Reynolds; brothers, A. Ray Reynolds, Joseph P. Reynolds and Paul E. Reynolds, James C. (J.C.) Reynolds and sister, Margie R. Pike. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Susie Latham Reynolds; daughter, Jane R. Beck of Thomasville; son, Bruce L. Reynolds and wife Donelle Sain Reynolds of Wake Forest, North Carolina; grandchildren, Austin Beck and wife Rachel Clift Beck, Taylor Beck, Stafford Beck, Connor Beck, McKenzie Reynolds and Cameron Reynolds and Floyd’s sister, Lucille Hylton. Also surviving are numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Mr. Reynolds was born in the Providence Friends Community near Pleasant Garden, North Carolina and graduated valedictorian from Providence High School in 1943. He was awarded a B. S. degree in Mathematics by Guilford College in 1949 and a Master’s of Education by UNC Chapel Hill in 1954. He was employed by Guilford College as an Instructor of Mathematics from 1960-1963 and as registrar from 1963-1992. He was an avid gardener and loved spending time with his children and grandchildren.

THOMPSON Donna M. Thompson, 86, of Wabash, Indiana, died June 12, 2014, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She was born June 14, 1927, in Wabash, Indiana, to Ora Rife and Ethel (Garner) Rife Rettig. Donna was a 1945 graduate of Linlawn High School. She married Robert A. “Gus” Thompson in Wabash, Indiana, on November 23,, 1949; he died May 26, 1990. She managed the ABC Curb-A-Teria in Wabash for 20 years. She was a member of Wabash Friends Church and the Alpha Pi Omega Sorority. Donna loved her family and enjoyed reading. She is survived by her two daughters, Debbie Higgley Sailors and Karen (Gary) Halverson, both of Wabash; two grandchildren, Jason Higgley of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, and Christi (Todd) Bland of Wabash; two great- grandchildren, Hayley Bland and Joey bland, both of Wabash. She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and her step-father, Frank A. Rettig.

WINSLOW L. Clinton Winslow Jr., 81, died quietly at his home on July 12, 2014, after a long struggle with health issues stemming from cancer. A lifelong resident of Belvidere in Perquimans County, North Carolina, he was the son of the late Lynwood C. Winslow Sr. and Sylvia A. White Winslow. He married Catherine Goodwin on his 22nd birthday, and they enjoyed 59 years of marriage together. Mr. Winslow was a graduate of Perquimans County High School where he was named All-Eastern in football and known to many as “Big Clint”. After graduation he worked for Hertford Motor Company and J.C. Blanchard and Company Department Store before taking over operation of the family farm at his father’s death in 1957. At one point cultivating just over 400 acres, he found great satisfaction and pride in his crops of corn, soybeans and peanuts, and was among the first in the area to return to growing cotton in the early 1980’s. After retirement he continued to raise several acres of vegetables, readily sharing the produce with friends and family. He combined his love of mechanics and auctions through the buying, rebuilding and re-selling of used farm equipment, as well as by collecting and restoring antique tractors, gas engines and tools. Mr. Winslow was an active, birthright member of Up River Friends Meeting, and his Quaker faith, up-bringing and heritage played major roles in defining his life and character. He had served Up River over the years as Sunday School Superintendent, clerk of Ministry and Counsel, a Trustee and chairman of the House and Grounds Committee. In his younger years he sang in the Up River Men’s Chorus and later in the adult choir. He was an active supporter of Eastern Quarterly Meeting and North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends, attending both regularly from childhood up until his failing health prevented him from doing so and serving for a time on the Board of Directors of Friends Homes in Greensboro, North Carolina. He was a trustee and treasurer for the Up River Community Cemetery and dedicated many days towards its mowing and upkeep. He had served on the Perquimans County Planning Board, the county committee of the Perquimans A.S.C.S. (now Farm Service Agency), and for many years on the Perquimans County Farm Bureau Board of Directors. Mr. Winslow was a member of the Parksville Raritan Club for well over 50 years, a charter member of the Perquimans County Volunteer Rescue Squad and a retired member of the Belvidere-Chappell Hill Volunteer Fire Department. Early in life he developed an enjoyment of hunting, spending many nights ‘coon hunting and days bear hunting with friends, and later hunting deer as a member of the Bear Swamp Hunt Club and the Belvidere Nicanor Hunt Club. When his health kept him from participating in the hunt, he kept up an interest in watching deer and wild turkeys in the field behind his home. Although Mr. Winslow served his meeting and his community well throughout his lifetime, his love for his family was evident in everything he did — even through the difficult times of illness which filled his last years. In addition to his wife, Catherine G. Winslow; he is survived by a daughter, Beth (Anna Elizabeth) Winslow Sanders, and son-in-law Stephen O. Sanders of Rock Hill, South Carolina; a son, Lynwood C. Winslow III of Belvidere, North Carolina; a grandson, Adam O. Sanders and wife, Dana of Apex, North Carolina; a granddaughter, Rachel E. Sanders of Greenville, South Carolina and a great-grandson, Luke O. Sanders. He is also survived by his sister, LaClaire W. R. Anderson, and brother-in-law Garland Anderson of Elizabeth City, North Carolina; nieces Susan R. Harris (Phil) and Ann R. Carpenter (Roger), three great-nieces, four great-nephews, seven great-great-nieces and nephews, and many cousins and friends.

My Visit to Baragoi in Samburu North

By Sammy Letoole

In mid-May 2014 I went to Baragoi (Kenya), which is approximately 200 kilometres north of Samburu central. I went with my family to visit the church and my in-laws who live there. Baragoi is a dry place, more so than Samburu central. Both the Samburu and the Turkana people live there and have been fighting for many years due to cattle, sheep, goats and camel rustling, with many losing their life over these conflicts. We had started a church in the middle of both groups in a strategic place where these groups could worship together.

After visiting my in-laws, the Holy Spirit gave me an idea. I felt I needed to talk to both groups so that they would come together and live in peace. I knew it would be a difficult and a dangerous thing to do, but I believed that God sent me to do it. I informed my family about the idea of going down to visit the Turkana settlement. But my family didn’t like the idea. My wife got mad and through her tears, she asked, “How can you decide to do such a dangerous thing?” I tried to encourage her, pleading that I should go because it was God who was sending me and our lives are in His hands. Finally, my family gave me their blessings and wished me all the best.

The Turkana settlement is about 40 kilometres west of Baragoi town (headquarters of Samburu North) — approximately three to four hours walk. There is no public transportation to that place and no person wanted to risk his or her life to take me there because of so many incidents of fighting.

Luckily enough, there was a Turkana man that day who was going there to take food stuffs to the people who lived in that place. I asked him for a lift. But the first thing he asked was, “Which tribe are you?” I hesitated and finally said, “I’m a Samburu pastor.” And he said, “Sorry I can’t carry you in my Land Rover, since it’s so risky.” I kept on begging him to agree to take me there since the risk was greater if I walked. He agreed and told me he would not be accountable for whatever was to happen to me.

We drove for about one hour or so before we reached our destination. The man introduced me to other men using the Turkana language. I didn’t know what they were saying and assumed he was telling them about me. One of the young men went right away into the settlement to inform the people I was there. He came back after half an hour or so and took me by the hand to lead me in.

What I saw made me more worried, and I prayed silently while following the man. As we passed through three fences I prayed for courage. These fences indicated that people were trying to protect themselves against outside attack either by the Samburu or the Pokot. The settlement was so big and had approximately 260 households or more. A man took me in the middle of the settlement where both old and young were seated. I was given a chair in the middle of them and as they surrounded me.

Luckily enough, there was a man who could speak Swahili, which gave me the chance to explain what brought me there. When others heard that I’m a Samburu by tribe they concluded that I was a spy. But before I started talking I prayed, “Lord, here I am. You sent me to these people, so give the words to speak.” I started speaking by greeting them. I introduced myself, where I came from and my work as pastor in a Quaker church. No one had an idea what the Quaker church was, but I took time to explain it to the best of my knowledge.

I stated that my intention was to bring the Samburu and the Turkana people together. I said that one part of the work the Quaker Church does all over the world, is to bring peace between the communities and countries. “Today God sent me to bring peace between the Turkana and the Samburu people, since you had been fighting for a long time. So this is the time you need to come together and live as brothers and sisters, since all of us belong to God our creator and protector.” I made sure that I spoke carefully so as to not hurt or annoy anybody.

After they listened to me for about an hour, I answered their questions. One man stood up and said, “We have never heard something of this sort and we thought all these years that this was the work of the government.” I explained to them that the work of the government is to intervene and attack the group that had raided the other ones. By doing so many people died. I also said that the government can’t solve the problem. The work of the church is to initiate a conversation so that people will reach a mutual understanding and know the will of God in their lives. He said, “Surely this is what we have been looking for throughout many years. We are tired of losing young, innocent lives.” I was really moved by that testimony. I was about to shed tears, as I had in my mind that 42 young soldiers had lost their lives and many young Turkana, Samburu and Pokot lost their lives too.

Finally he said, “Man of God, welcome to our place! Anytime you want to arrange a talk between the Samburu and the Turkana people, God will help you to bring us together!” Then they gave me their blessing. I felt like I had become friends with them and stayed there for three days. Then they accompanied me back to Baragoi where we walked together for three hours, since we didn’t have means of transport. So Friends, please pray with me, and let’s join hands together to support this great work ahead of us.

Sammy Letoole is Director of Samburu Friends Mission, Kenya