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Archive for Quaker Life Magazine – Page 2

Spreading the Word – March/April 2014

By Micah Bales, Communications & Web Specialist

One of the key teachings of the Quaker movement is that every Christian is called to ministry. It’s not just pastors, yearly meeting officials or employees of non-profits. Each and every one of us is called to a form of ministry, according to the gifts that God has given us. Whether we are physicians, accountants, janitors or farmers, God has a unique ministry in which each can participate. The hidden purpose of our lives is far more than what our jobs happen to be at the moment.

This is a big deal. For most human societies only a tiny minority of folks have been expected to spend much time thinking about spiritual realities. From the ancient Egyptians and the Levitical priesthood all the way down to modern-day religious hierarchies, the vast majority of the world has believed that intimate relationship with God was something for only a special elite. For the rest, it is enough to follow the rules and abide by what the priests tell us God commands.

The ministry of Jesus blew this whole worldview apart. He empowered all sorts of common people to have a direct relationship with God. Rather than having us seek his presence within the innermost room of a holy building where only the most special people could go, Jesus revealed that God is not confined to man-made temples or holy books. In Jesus, God became one of us and established relationships with women, fisherman, zealots, lepers and tax collectors. God broke all the rules of holiness in order to show his great love for us!

Still, old habits die hard. Despite the good news that God’s presence is not confined to special buildings or a priestly minority, most of us still act as if it were. Even groups like Quakers, who pride themselves on a lack of priestly forms, have developed all sorts of rules and procedures for how ministry is to be done. The outward packaging of our faith may look very different, but we have a sense of form, procedure and propriety that is just as baroque as the high church tradition against which we originally rebelled. If we are not careful, it is easy to get lost in process and lose sight of the fact that ministry is about relationship.

Growth in ministry requires us to deepen our shared life with other people. Much of the authority to serve others that Jesus gives us comes from the quality of the relationships that we develop over time. Do people know that they can trust me? Have I established a track record of fairness, honesty, wisdom and compassion? When people interact with me, do they see Christ’s reflection? These are some of the challenging questions that we must continually ask ourselves as we seek to participate in Jesus’ work of reconciliation and peace.

No amount of process and procedure can create this kind of relationship. It is only through our openness to the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit that we can live together in genuine community. In this Spirit-filled community, we find the strength to embrace the fullness and variety of ministry into which Christ invites us.

Where do you find support for your ministry — spiritually, emotionally, financially and practically? What does it mean to be part of a fellowship in which we find friendship, inspiration and a collegial community of fellow workers with a variety of gifts and callings? Do the patterns, focus and procedures of your local congregation facilitate this work of equipping each person for ministry? How can our communities become centered with a shared experience of Jesus, who calls us into his ministry of reconciliation?

Gentle Giants

By David O. Williams

Not long ago our family embarked on a two-week tour of the American west. We followed some of the most scenic highways in the country, including the “Loneliest Road in America” (U.S. 50), the Pacific Coast Highway and the Historic Route 66. As you might imagine, we saw a staggering variety of breath-taking vistas and awe-inspiring wonders of the natural world along the way. But there was one particular sight that stood out above all of the rest… literally.

During our visit to Yosemite National Park, we took a short hike down a peaceful trail that leads to Merced Grove, one of the few places left in the entire world (outside of fairy tale books, that is) where one can stand in the presence of genuine giants and live to tell about it. The Giant Sequoia trees that populate the western Sierra Nevada may be gentle giants, but by no means does this reduce the “shock and awe” factor when they are beheld for the first time.

Giant Sequoias are the largest trees in the world. Record trees have been measured to be over 300 feet tall and more than 50 feet in diameter, with bark as much as three feet thick at the base. With a total weight of several million pounds, these pine pillars are true freaks of nature. Like Frodo and his friends from the Shire, my family and I felt like Hobbits in the presence of the Ents.

Upon further review, however, we discovered that there is much more to Giant Sequoias than initially meets the eye. What was most fascinating, and most compelling in correlation to Christian discipleship and spiritual formation, is what is actually required for Great Sequoias to grow so strong and tall:

• Longevity: Giant Sequoias are no overnight sensations. In fact, it has been documented that some of these trees have been around for more than 3,500 years, dating back to the days of Moses and the founding of the nation of Israel. They don’t speak the language of instant gratification. On the contrary, they stand as towering testimonies to the truth that the best and most beautiful things in life take time. Needless to say, in order to reach their full potential, Giant Sequoias require lots of time. So do we (Ecclesiastes 3:11a).

• Adversity: Giant Sequoias cannot reproduce without the stress and pressure that accompany an occasional forest fire. Fire brings hot air high into the canopy which in turn dries and opens the Sequoia cones so they can release their seeds. Periodic
wildfires also clear competing vegetation. Without fire, other shade-loving trees will crowd out young Sequoia seedlings, preventing germination.

Clearly, Giant Sequoias must be willing to endure the heat in order to bear fruit. So must we (James 1:2-4).

• Community: Giant Sequoias cannot survive on their own. They only grow in groves. Their shallow roots can extend more than 200 feet from each tree, creating a massive, interdependent root system. The sustainability of each individual tree hinges upon the health and vitality of the wider community. There are no lone rangers among Giant Sequoias. Cooperation is non-negotiable.

Without question, Giant Sequoias must remain closely connected to one another in order to thrive. So must we (Ephesians 4:15-16).

Longevity, adversity and community are three essentials for the healthy growth and development of Giant Sequoias. Three essentials for the healthy growth and development of spiritual giants as well.

David O. Williams, D.Min., is a Professor of Discipleship & Spiritual Formation, the Director of the Center for Spiritual Renewal and the Director of the MATL-Spiritual Formation at Barclay College in Haviland, Kansas.

The Growing Edge of Ministry

By Scott Wagoner

A term that has significant meaning for me is that of spiritual life as a “growing edge.” I was introduced to the concept of “growing edge” through the writings of Howard Thurman. In his book, Growing Edge, he invites readers to, “Look well to the growing edge. All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born; all around us life is dying and life is being born…Look well to the growing edge.” These words give good advice. Often members of the Religious Society of Friends get trapped in a vortex of negativity and despair about its future. Friends often times resonate with the fact that, “All around us worlds are dying…” and even think this means, “All around us Quakerism is dying…” However, Friends should be encouraged for Thurman’s words do not end with death. “New worlds are being born” and all around us “life is being born.” Death creates the space for
the new that must be born.

We have often heard the phrase, “All politics is local.” I would also claim that all Quakerism is local. In other words, the lifeblood of the Religious Society of Friends is that of the local meeting, and the lifeblood of the local meeting is that of the individual person who is on a faithful journey in relationship with the Living Christ, seeking to live in faithful community with others. It would seem, then, that a key to renewal among Friends is creating ways to put people on a spiritual growing edge. Spiritually alive people create spiritually alive local meetings. Spiritually alive local meetings become the source of spiritually alive yearly meetings.

Entering my 12th year as pastor of Deep River Friends, I find myself reflecting upon moments and experiences within the meeting that have helped put folks on a growing edge. I have concluded a life that is on a growing edge includes:

Study of the Scriptures

It may seem like an obvious statement, but regular study of the Scriptures and the biblical story within a local meeting will serve to put folks on a spiritual growing edge.

Deep River offers the Disciple Bible Study, a 34 week study of covering both the Old and New Testaments. It is geared towards formation of the person rather than just providing a lot of information. The most helpful component is participation in the daily readings, which helps develop positive habits of daily study.

I have seen those willing to participate in this class experience — or any other Bible study experience — tend to be the ones that begin to experience a “growing edge” in their spiritual journey.

Spiritual Formation Groups

Spiritual formation groups can often be a great source of Living Water for those that are thirsty for more. This experience, along with Scripture study, is both a productive and profound foundation for growing edge spirituality.
Last year, Deep River Friends offered a year-long experience called Pilgrims of the Heart, a spiritual formation group based on the Song of Solomon 5:2: “I slept, but my heart was awake. Listen! My beloved is knocking.” Its focus was to provide an avenue in which the participants could come to know what it was like to be spiritually awake as well as live in to their identity as the beloved of God.

In our first meeting, the scope of the group was introduced. From there the format and topics were discerned. The group met at least twice a month for nine months because that period of time is a strong reminder that conception to birth usually takes nine months. New spiritual birth was our hope.

Those that participated in both the Bible study and the spiritual formation group want to do it again, as they had experienced significant growth in their lives. They continue to hunger for a deeper experience of the Living Christ.

Service to the Community

A growing edge spiritual life includes serving others. When individuals are hearing and responding to God’s personal call in their lives to serve in various ways, a significant growing edge is experienced. Engaging folks in service and ministry with the marginalized and suffering always puts people on a growing edge. Self-absorption is challenged. Being exposed to the needs of others has a way of tapping the compassion of Jesus within souls; so often buried beneath busy schedules, misguided pursuits of the American Dream and apathetic religiosity.

On the first Saturday of every month members of Deep River Friends provide service to the community. Once a month, our meeting prepares and serves lunch at a local homeless shelter for 125 people. Not everyone in the meeting participates in this ministry but having it as part of our congregational culture serves to remind us of the importance of serving.

The meeting also provides a monthly dinner for 25 at a women’s homeless shelter in High Point. Individuals and families within the meeting have taken it upon themselves to provide the meal at other times. The call to ministry is felt among individuals who are willing to obey it.

To be sure, living on a spiritual growing edge is not about programs. Rather, they are a means toward facilitating spiritual growth of meeting members. Programs act as trellises in developing a growing edge. A trellis is a simple framework of light wooden bars often used as a support for fruit trees or other climbing plants. The trellis is not the ultimate goal: rather, the trellis serves the purpose of providing a framework and supportive structure for growth and eventual fruit.

In the same way, having a spiritual formation program is not the ultimate goal. The program is the framework and supportive structure, which provides an opportunity for folks to discover a place where they can position themselves to manifest spiritual fruit and to discover the growing edge. As John 15:5 reminds, “Jesus is the vine and we are the branches.” Apart from the connection, we can do nothing. What meetings/churches can do, though, is provide the right environment, framework and structure that will give folks the opportunity to nurture and cultivate the life of the Spirit within.

Howard Thurman reminds us that there exists in life an inherent call to grow and live on a growing edge. When meetings and congregations fail to recognize this inherent desire to grow, it misses opportunities of nurturing new life and energy within its own walls. Living on a growing edge takes discernment. Sometimes it takes hard work and planning. But just like the hard work of turning over the soil and sowing new seeds in a garden, the effort always brings the possibility of new growth and fruit. Look well to the growing edge!
 
Scott WagonerScott Wagoner is presently in his 12th year as Pastoral Minister of Deep River Friends Meeting in North Carolina Yearly Meeting (FUM). Scott is a graduate of Taylor University and the Earlham School of Religion. He is married to Lynda Wagoner. They have two grown children, Chad and Erin. You can reach Scott at scottwagoner62@gmail.com. He is available for Congregational Coaching, retreats and special speaking engagements.

Gathered in Community: Growing in Ministry

By Dorlan Bales

The 2014 January-February Quaker Life scripture study focused on Jesus’ own calling, his choice of an inner circle of disciples and his definition of discipleship. The study continued to highlight the response of the first Quakers to the living Christ’s call and the allegiance followers have to Jesus today.

The heart’s response to the Spirit’s call is the decision to follow Jesus. That choice and continuing recommitment to Christian discipleship takes place in the context of a spiritual community.

In this study you are invited to rediscover the Good News Jesus taught and embodied as you open yourself to the words of Luke’s gospel. You are encouraged to remember how the gathered disciples were transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. As in our previous study, reflect upon early Quaker experiences of being gathered and then consider the process of growing in ministry in this, the 21st century.

Jesus’ Teaching According to Luke’s Gospel

How did Jesus help the men and women he gathered to grow in their ability to share the Good News? What did he teach them? A careful reading of Luke’s gospel reveals four powerful themes:

1) Love God and Your Neighbor as Yourself

Firmly rooted in prophetic Judaism, the most fundamental teaching of Jesus is best summarized in his response to an expert on the Mosaic Law. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” the lawyer queried. Jesus responded by asking this man to identify what the law said. To which the lawyer replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus affirmed his statement and urged him to obey the great commandment, rather than merely knowing it intellectually (See Luke 10:25-28.).

The lawyer then asked Jesus to define the word, neighbor. Consider Jesus’ response found in Luke 10:29-37.

Who is your neighbor?

Who have you ignored, walked past or avoided? What individuals or groups do you find easiest to judge and condemn rather than forgive?

Consider Luke 6:27-36, in which Jesus teaches about loving those who do not love us. Hold these words in your heart. What action is God asking you to do? Share your insights.

2) Blessed are the Poor, the Hungry, the Sorrowful and the Excluded

Jesus was frequently judged to be a lawbreaker by those who objected to his healing the sick on the Sabbath day. (See Luke 6:6-11; 13:10-17; 14:1-6). His disciples, themselves common people, were taught to discern the condition of people’s hearts rather than judge them by the usual social standards.

Jesus reached out to poor working people and the despised, including those who had become wealthy by collecting taxes for the Roman occupiers. The affluent “keepers of morality” were often angry with Jesus for befriending those they considered impure. Luke 15 provides a series of Jesus’ parables about being lost and then found. In a later chapter (20:47), another parable aims at the scribes and Pharisees who were getting rich by “devouring” widows’ houses. Then there is the story about a man who invited lots of guests to a banquet. Like the host, they were affluent, and having better things to do; they made excuses. The host, incensed, invited “the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame” and even sent servants to find others and force them to come. (14:15-24).

All these parables provide insight about the motivations from which Jesus’ actions sprang.

Study the above stories drawn from everyday life. Create a list of the truths Jesus taught in these parables. What insights does this list offer you?

Consider the people and groups around us upon whom society looks down. Using the list created, how would Jesus have us relate to them? What makes it hard for people to follow Jesus’ example? What are some of our unspoken rules that keep us from ministering to the people Jesus loves?

3) Take up Your Cross Daily and Humbly Put the Kingdom of God First

Jesus never said that being his disciple was easy. He was forthright about what was going to happen to him, and told his followers they must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow his lead. He said, “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?” (Luke 9:23-25)

Although Jesus’ humility redefined greatness, his closest friends argued about which of them was greatest during their last meal with their master! Jesus explained to them that “the Kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves.” Then, stating the obvious, Jesus said, “But I am among you as one who serves (Luke 22:24-27 see also Luke 9:46-48; 13:30; 18:14).”

Jesus warned his disciples not to be like the Pharisees, saying “you cannot serve God and wealth” (Luke 16:13) and said that one’s heart and treasure are likely to be side by side (Luke 12:33-34).

How would you translate “taking up one’s cross daily” in order to follow Jesus in a way that speaks to you?

How does our society define greatness? What does humility look like today?

Is having wealth the same thing as serving wealth? Is it spiritually helpful, or harmful, to store up wealth for retirement and/or to pass it along to family members, a faith community, or good causes?

4) The Kingdom of God is Within and Among People Now

“The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among/within you (Luke 17:20-21).”

Jesus knew the world’s tendency to create hierarchies and bestow divine authority upon them as did the Roman Empire. Jesus told his hearers that the kingdom of God is already come, a present spiritual reality for those who follow him. Accessible to all, the reign of God is small as salt, yeast and mustard seeds yet exceedingly powerful. The Kingdom of God is a reality within and among those who love God, themselves, and their neighbors near and far (Luke 13:18-21; 14:34).

How do you respond to Jesus’ teaching that the kingdom of God is something powerful in and among his followers now?

How is the kingdom of God a reality within your life and in the midst of your faith community?

The Gathering of the Jerusalem Church

The last few verses of Luke’s Gospel and the first few verses of his Acts of the Apostles connect the risen Christ and the Holy Spirit, which was poured out upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost soon after his crucifixion and resurrection. “I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). “While staying with them he [the risen Christ], ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This,’ he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now (Acts 1:4-5).’”

That day Jesus’ disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit. Thousands of people in Jerusalem for the feast day were added to the new Jerusalem Church. Their gathered life was powerful! Read about it in Acts 2:38-47 and consider these questions:

What surprises or impresses you about the nature of the newly-gathered church? What do you think has drawn Quakers to this passage of scripture?

The Early Quaker Experience of Being Gathered as God’s People

In 17th century England, a group of people nicknamed Quakers began a movement based upon the Holy Spirit baptism spoken of by John the Baptist and described by Luke in his Acts of the Apostles. This vibrant group proclaimed a present, living Christ, “Christ come to teach people himself by his power and spirit and to bring them off all the world’s ways and teachers to his own free teaching . . . (Fox’s Journal Nickalls ed. 1952, page 104; see also 98, 107).”

In 1652, after five years of active ministry, George Fox preached to a large cluster of northern England Seeker groups, men and women who had already separated themselves from existing church structures. His sermon, from a hill in Firbank Fell in the Westmorland region, and his encounter with Margaret Fell of Swarthmore Hall that year were turning points in the growth of the Quaker movement. Virtually all of the hundreds present at Firbank Fell were persuaded by the Gospel as Fox experienced, understood and proclaimed it.

Francis Howgill (1618-1669), one of the Seeker leaders who joined this new movement, later wrote that Fox’s sermon:

reached unto all our consciences and entered into the inmost part of our hearts, which drove us to a narrow search, and to a diligent inquisition concerning our state, through the Light of Christ Jesus. The Lord of Heaven and earth we found to be near at hand, and, as we waited upon him in pure silence, our minds out of all things, his heavenly presence appeared in our assemblies, when there was no language, tongue nor speech from any creature. The Kingdom of Heaven did gather us and catch us all, as in a net, and his heavenly power at one time drew many hundreds to land.

[Note Howgill’s Luke 5:1-7 fishing imagery above and the similarities to the Jerusalem church’s experience in what follows.] We came to know a place to stand in and what to wait in; and the Lord appeared daily to us, to our astonishment, amazement and great admiration … And from that day forward, our hearts were knit unto the Lord and one unto another in true and fervent love, in the covenant of Life with God; and that was a strong obligation or bond upon all our spirits, which united us one unto another … And thus the Lord, in short, did form us to be a people for his praise in our generation. (Quaker Faith & Practice: Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain, 1995, 19.08)

Margaret Fell, like Francis Howgill, became a Quaker leader after responding to Fox’s Spirit-filled preaching not many days after the Westmorland Seekers added tremendous new energy to the fledgling Quaker movement. She and her husband, Judge Fell, often extended hospitality to traveling ministers. A friend introduced George Fox to the Fell household. The next day Fox went to the nearby steeple house with Margaret. He stood on his seat and asked permission to speak. He said that those who wrote the scriptures, “came to the Spirit that gave them forth. You will say, Christ saith this, and the apostles say this; but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of Light and hast walked in the Light, and what thou speakest is it inwardly from God?”

Margaret had not heard preaching like this and it resounded within her. As she later wrote, “This opened me so that it
cut me to the heart; and then I saw clearly that we were all wrong.” She sat down on her pew, tears flowing freely as she
cried out inwardly, “We are all thieves, we are all thieves. We have taken the Scriptures in words and know nothing of them in ourselves (Quaker Faith & Practice 19.07).” Note Margaret Fell’s use of the phrase “cut to the heart”. It may have been drawn from Acts 2:37 where it described those who heard Peter’s Pentecost message.

Compare the testimony of Francis Howgill and Margaret Fell and their 1652 experiences. What similarities are there? What differences? What part of their testimony strikes your heart? Explain.

Why do you think Margaret Fell cried out, “We are all thieves?”

Can you remember gatherings when “the Lord of Heaven and Earth felt near at hand”?

How have you experienced a faith community that came to know “a place to stand in and what to wait in?”

Gathered Today in Communities Led by Christ and Growing in Ministry

Though I have not been caught up in God’s kingdom net as dramatically as the apostles or the early Quakers were, I have known some occasions of unusual spiritual presence, including the years around the turn of the 21st century when I was privileged to be part of the Friends of Jesus Community here in Kansas. It was an important time of growth for me, as we learned together how to love God, ourselves, and our neighbors in a cultural setting that was new to us. Because of the FOJ Community’s willingness to follow Jesus beyond its members’ comfort zones, it contributed some grains of salt, a bit of yeast and a few rays of light to the world, despite its small membership.

It has been seven years since FOJ was laid down, but I continue to value my relationships with its members and am closely involved with two of the three social ministries that grew out of that time in the heart of low wealth neighborhoods of color. As I look forward to years ahead, which are perhaps less busy and more creative, I am asking how God might use me to be a channel of God’s love both to those who are my spiritual brothers and sisters now and to people I will meet.

I’m pondering questions like these:

What would it take for Quakers to be gathered more powerfully, both locally and worldwide, in ways that go beyond self-care and mutual aid in times of personal crisis?

In what ways are we Friends willing to spend ourselves for others, even suffer for obeying the living Christ rather than another master?

What will make it possible for me and other Quakers to keep growing as ministers of God’s love in our various locales and circumstances?

One thing does seem clear. Being a witness to Jesus Christ’s good news about the Kingdom of God is much easier for those who are supported by a spiritual community that is willing to go deeper than Sunday morning pleasantries. In order to discern if I am being led by Christ, not following “the world’s ways,” and having the courage to obey the Holy Spirit, I need a spiritual community that encourages all its members to listen inwardly to the living Christ and grow in ministry to others.

A vital spiritual community provides grounding opportunities to study the Bible and more recent writings, creates spaces where individuals share deeply about their hopes and spiritual leadings, and moves to action when directed by the Living Christ. This is not the description of an ordinary social circle or interest group! Our loving God is still able to pour out the Holy Spirit upon those who are gathered together and eager to respond in faith, hope, love, and joy!

Describe your own spiritual pathway in the last ten years. Can you remember times when the living Christ spoke to you inwardly about ministry to someone?

What are the obstacles that keep people from seeking first the kingdom of God?

If you currently have a spiritual community, how does it offer you both support and challenge? How could you lovingly reach out to others in your spiritual community so that you are both receiving and giving?

If you are not currently blessed with a spiritual community, how might you find or help create one?
 
Dorlan BalesDorlan 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.

Ask Tom: How did early Friends develop and grow as ministers?

By Thomas Hamm – Professor of History; Archivist/Curator, Friends Collection
Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana

The first generation of Friends, and indeed, all Friends until the mid-19th century, was intensely suspicious of what they called “creaturely activity,” the idea that human efforts could provide anyone with a gift in the ministry. The language that Friends traditionally used — that of “gift,” something freely bestowed by God, and “recording,” recognizing, or making a record of a gift in the ministry, rather than even implying that some legitimacy came from human action like ordination — shows that. Since Friends believed that all Christians were called to be ministers in some way, they distinguished those with a gift for public speaking and debate by referring to them as “Public Friends.” Friends were particularly suspicious of the normal way to develop
ministers in 17th-century England: university training. One of George Fox’s early “openings” from God in 1646 was “that being bred at Oxford or Cambridge was not enough to fit and qualify men to be ministers of Christ.”

Instead, early Friends looked to develop as ministers in two ways. The first way was through obedience. Believing that all legitimate ministry came through the direct inspiration of God, the dominant note in their writings is passivity, being open to direction from God and following it without question. Again and again one finds George Fox saying: “That which I was moved to declare was this,” or “I was made to cry out” or “I was required” or “the Lord showed me.”

While ascribing all authority in ministry to God, Friends also looked to the nurturing care of other Friends. By the mid-1650s, in addition to general meetings for business by Friends, Friends in the ministry were meeting separately. Since no minutes were kept, we have only fragmentary evidence of what they did and said. But what we do have suggests their conversations were devoted to encouraging each other to obedience growth in the Holy Spirit.

By the mid-19th century, many Friends had become comfortable with education as a supplement to, although not the basis of, Quaker ministry. The development of the pastoral system encouraged such discussion. But at the heart of true Quaker ministry still lies obedience to God and the encouragement of Friends.

Do you have a Quaker history question to “Ask Tom”?
Send questions to annieg@fum.org.

Sarah Thompson appointed CPT Executive Director

Christian Peacemaker Teams is pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Thompson to the position of CPT Executive Director. Thompson brings a wide range of experiences to the position. Through her work in the international peace movement as a public-speaker and community organizer, she is adept at bringing people together across lines of difference and building momentum for positive social change. Her Christian church involvements include six years of volunteer work as the North American representative to Mennonite World Conference’s Youth and Young Adult Executive Committee and Global Youth Summit planning group, as well as service with Mennonite Central Committee in Jerusalem, the Washington, D.C. Advocacy office, and in her hometown of Elkhart, Indiana, United States.

Thompson has traveled across various continents through activist and volunteer work with feminist anti-war movements, Spanish translation opportunities, the Fulbright Scholarship, and Spelman College (graduated summa cum laude in 2006 with a Comparative Women’s Studies & International Studies double major, and a minor in Spanish).

A 2011 Masters of Divinity graduate of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Thompson writes, “I am thrilled and humbled to participate with CPT in this capacity. I feel called to the spiritual practice of building partnerships that transform violence and oppression. I am grateful to all who have gone before me to make this organization a place where I can use my gifts, bring my questions, encounter challenges, and rely on support from allies and colleagues.” Thompson recalls, “I first learned about CPT’s edgy peacemaking programs and analysis of structural oppression when I was in Peace Club at Bethany Christian High School in Goshen, Indiana (1998-2002). After attending the CPT Peacemaker Congress my sophomore year, I knew that CPT would be a part of my future. I was thinking more along the lines of when I retired, but was delighted to have been invited to participate sooner.”

Outgoing Director Carol Rose says, “This is going to be great! We are beginning a really exciting period in CPT’s history. I am confident to hand over leadership to Sarah who is creative, capable, and caring. Her activism grounded in deep faith, coupled with her brilliant thinking, brings a dynamism that will help keep CPT moving with joy and partnering powerfully.”

Thompson served as a member of CPT’s Steering Committee (2010-2012) and has worked for the past year as CPT’s Outreach Coordinator. “I am very grateful for these opportunities,” she says. “Like my previous work with grassroots, political, and social-justice organization, working through CPT has been a deeply formative and positive experience for me.” The focus of the Executive Director role will be on strategic directions for organizational development, undoing oppressions, and fund- and friend-raising.

Everence and Praxis Mutual Funds revamp environmental screening policy

Changes expand on fund family’s concerns regarding climate risk

GOSHEN, Ind.– Following an intensive eight-month process, Everence and Praxis Mutual Funds have announced the expansion of their environmental screening policy.

“Over the years, attention has grown around the impact climate change has on our planet, vulnerable populations and growing businesses,” said Chad Horning, Everence Chief Investment Officer. “It’s a situation that demands attention, and the time has come to incorporate these considerations more clearly into our screening policies at Everence and Praxis Mutual Funds.”
While many investors focus solely on avoiding carbon intensive industries (such as oil, coal and utilities) to send a signal to corporate and political leaders, Everence and Praxis have chosen a different path.

“Turning our backs on every carbon intensive company accomplishes very little,” explained Mark Regier, Director of Stewardship Investing for Everence and Praxis. “We believe it is important to make a difference, not just a statement. In order to make progress, we must actively engage with companies that are both leading the way and lagging behind when it comes to climate change.”

The new environmental screen does not avoid carbon intensive industries as a whole, but comprehensively assesses the environmental impact of all companies. Everence and Praxis will examine past environmental practices, current carbon emissions and proven ability to track and manage the climate risks faced by the companies.

To help implement the new environmental screening policy, Everence and Praxis are working with the Intangible Value Assessment system built by MSCI ESG Research, the world’s largest provider of sustainable investment research.

“This system is used by hundreds of large institutional investors around the world,” said Regier. “It will help us assess a company’s prospects for meeting the range of environmental, social and governance challenges and opportunities we face.”

The revised environmental screen adds approximately 160 new companies to the international and domestic restricted lists used by Everence and Praxis in internally managed investment portfolios. Everence and Praxis regularly assess over 8,000 companies globally across the developed and emerging markets, as part of a stewardship investing philosophy that embraces a wide range of social concerns.

“In formulating this new screen, we gave careful consideration to the potential financial impact it might have,” said Horning. “While it’s far too early to draw any conclusions, we are pleased that the new screen appears to be delivering a strengthened environmental commitment with minimal impact on the management of the funds.”

“As trusted fiduciaries for a diverse pool of individual and institutional clients, we have always believed it is our responsibility to manage portfolios based on the economy we have, not the one we wish we had,” added Regier. “Transitions, particularly in core economic structures like energy, will take a long time and the active involvement of many parties. We have an important role to play as engaged investors.”

About Praxis Mutual Funds and Everence

Praxis Mutual Funds, advised by Everence Capital Management, is a leading faith-based, socially responsible family of mutual funds designed to help people and groups integrate their finances with faith values. To learn more, visit praxismutualfunds.com.
Everence helps individuals, organizations and congregations integrate finances with faith through a national team of advisors and representatives. Everence offers banking, insurance and financial services with community benefits and stewardship education. To learn more, visit everence.com or call (800) 348-7468.

We Are All In This Together

By Noel Krughoff – FUM representative to FCNL

As the Religious Society of Friends, Quakers act in faith to create a world free from war, with equity and justice for all, where every person’s potential may be fulfilled, and where we live in right relationship with the earth. We do not expect such a world to emerge easily, but we are convinced by our faith and experience that building a more peaceful, just, and sustainable global community is possible. Following the advice of William Penn, we seek to “try what love can do” to advance such a world. From the Introduction to Shared Security, Reimagining U.S. Foreign Policy: A Working Paper of the American Friends Service Committee and Friends Committee on National Legislation, April 2013.

Through organizations like the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), and collaborative projects such as the Shared Security initiative, time-honored Quaker values continue to offer answers for today’s global challenges. For Christ to be credible to those of other faiths or no faith at all, people must see in action our stated conviction that everyone is valuable in God’s eyes — not just those who think like us, look like us and live where we live.

The Shared Security Working Paper offers U.S. policy makers concrete, common sense attitudes and strategies in line with Quaker values, ideas that are being offered to as options for addressing current global issues. Below is a brief description of some of the ideas. To read the entire Working Paper, visit the website: sharedsecurity.org

Human security: Instead of focusing primarily on the safety of nation-states, those who study peace and conflict issues urge the adoption of a new human security model. This puts the safety and well-being of individuals and their communities as a top priority. It requires starting the problem-solving at the local level and recognizes that stress can come from environmental degradation, economic injustice and public health crises. Effort is aimed at building well-functioning communities rather than destroying perceived enemies.

Global security: Replace the importance of state sovereignty with the broader view of global security. U.S. foreign policy should be directed toward building cooperative and effective international institutions, which serve to strengthen international law rather than narrowly pursue national interests.

Shared security: Our world is inextricably bound together even while it is constantly changing. Both global and local solutions are key to solving today’s problems. None of us are safe unless all are safe.

Motives matter. Isaiah 58 makes it abundantly clear. God is not impressed with religious acts that are self-serving, but rather delights in his people when we “Break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts.” (Isaiah 58:6 Message Bible) If I hope to speak Christ to the world, my actions for peace must translate into good for others, not just for me.

Faith matters, too. I recently enjoyed reading The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg. As he digs deeply into the concept of faith, Borg says historically at the core of Christianity there are four meanings of faith. Most will recognize the familiar definition of faith as belief, but faith also means trust, commitment, and a “way of seeing.” If we see the world as hostile or threatening, our natural reaction is defensiveness. We’ll be too fearful to seek global security when our own hide seems in peril. However, if we see creation as life-giving and nourishing, as a gift to us from a loving God, anxiety subsides. There is room for all, plenty for all, and safety for all, if we work toward that goal.

Noell Krughoff and her husband Tom are newly appointed FUM representatives to Friends Committee on National Legislation. They attend First Friends Meeting in Indianapolis and live in rural Shelby County, Indiana.

Passages: Quaker Obituaries – March/April 2014

BEAVERS Felecia Andrew Beavers, 78, of Siler City, North Carolina, died Saturday, November 30, 2013 in Asheboro, North Carolina. Mrs. Beavers was born in Chatham County on March 24, 1935, the daughter of the late Burton Albert and Eula (Whitehead) Andrew from the Rocky River Friends community. A graduate of Silk Hope School, she was a homemaker and in her earlier years she worked at A. J. Schneierson and Sons. Felecia was a member of Edward Hill Friends Meeting, where she taught Sunday school for 25 years, was a former elder, held several offices and served on several committees. She served refreshments for VBS, loved gardening, cooking and sewing. Felecia was a dedicated mother and loving wife. She is survived by her husband of 60 years: Cecil L. Beavers; two sons, Leon Beavers and wife, Annette, of Sanford, Lynn Beavers and wife, Becky, of Garner; three daughters: Cheryl B. Hilliard of Bear Creek, North Carolina, Janelle Beavers of Siler City and Julia B. Kidd and husband, Dennis of High Falls, North Carolina; one brother, Earle Ben Andrew and wife, Bessie of Robbins, North Carolina; grandchildren, Michael, Christopher and Daniel Beavers, John Hilliard, Jr. and wife, Hannah, Jana H. Hernandez; Kayla and Olivia Kidd; six great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

CAIN Nellie Ruth Cain died on Thursday, July 25, 2013. Ruth was born January 16, 1928, in Corryton, Tennessee, daughter of the late John Newell and Elsie Blanch Anderson. After spending the first half of her life in New Market, Tennessee, she moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, and became a devoted member of Knoxville First Friends Church, after moving her membership from Lost Creek Friends Meeting. She retired from Lakeshore Mental Health Institute where she served as a social worker for 27 years, after receiving her Bachelors and Master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee. While at Lakeshore, she was instrumental in the founding of the National Re-motivation Therapy Organization, serving as an officer for many years, and receiving national awards for her work. After her retirement, Ruth continued to make an impact in the Knoxville community as a busy volunteer at Lakeshore Mental Health Institute and St. Mary’s Hospital, a board member of Volunteer Ministries, and in various capacities with other organizations. She was honored with the Silver Volunteer Award for her contributions to Knox County, Tennessee. She also loved to travel around the United States, reaching her goal of visiting all 48 contiguous states and Alaska in 2009. Most importantly, Ruth’s goal was to do God’s work for as long as she could, spreading His love to each person she encountered. She took every opportunity to publicly thank the Lord for all He had done for her, for sending Jesus to be her Savior and to ask His help in doing His work. She exhibited her Christian faith through her generous spirit and always sought ways to help and encourage others. She remained actively involved in the Quaker Church, both nationally and through local missionary work. Through the years, Ruth held positions as president, secretary, and treasurer of the United Society of Friends Women of the Knoxville Meeting, as well as serving as chairman of the Board on Christian Concerns for Peace and Society in both the Knoxville Monthly and Friendsville Quarterly Meetings. She could always be depended on to serve as hostess for USFW or the monthly peace meetings, or to provide transportation to others. As she served her Lord by serving others, she was faithful to visit the sick and those in need and was a big supporter of missions. Ruth was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers, Horace “Jack” Anderson and Hugh Anderson. She is survived by her daughters and sons-in-law, Claudia and Barry Ritchie, and Terri and Jim Myers, all of Knoxville; much loved grandchildren, Courtney (Rich) Hilliard of Cherryville, North Carolina, Eric (Amy) Myers of Nashville, Tennessee, and Darcey (Charlie) Morris of Baltimore, Maryland; great grandchildren, Trey and Madeline Hilliard; special friend of over 40 years, John Hondulas of Knoxville; several nieces, nephews, and many dear friends.

COLTRANE Margaret Kirkman Coltrane, 92, of Pleasant Garden, North Carolina passed away on Sunday, December 8, 2013. Margaret was born in Randolph County, North Carolina, on May 17, 1921. She was a member of Centre Friends, where she sang in the choir and was an avid Bible reader. Margaret and her husband, Roy, were instrumental in forming the Vereen Bible Class. She worked at Burlington Mills and then left to help feed baby calves on the family farm. She was a homemaker and enjoyed sewing, cooking, traveling with family and gardening. She was preceded in death by her husband of 72 years, Roy Monroe Coltrane, her parents, Charles Webster and Lillias Hockett Kirkman, and seven siblings. Left to cherish her memory are her son, Branson Coltrane and wife, Kay of
Pleasant Garden, grandchildren, David Coltrane and wife Amy, Sylvia Davis and husband Aaron; great grandchildren, Cole, Sydney, Will, Lemuel and Joseph; and sister, Betty Hinshaw.

HATCHER Ellen Linsley Hatcher was born on June 7, 1916 and passed away, December 1, 2013. She was born in Redlands, California, graduated from UCLA, married Gordon Hatcher in 1941. She and Gordon lived in Bolivia, Peru, Honduras and Cambodia as well as her native California. Ellen taught English as a second language in those counties as well as to Vietnamese who came here as refugees. Her skills as an English major served well in other areas as well working for Heifer International, volunteering for American Friends Service Committee and various PTAs. One of her greatest passions was making 1200 dresses for refugees girls, beginning in Bosnia, over a 10 year period. She is survived by daughters Mary Kate Carter and Margaret Hatcher; a granddaughter Becky Schriber, two great grandchildren, Abby and Isaac Schriber.

HINSHAW Beulah Stone “Boots” Hinshaw, 92, of Siler City, North Carolina, died Thursday, December 5, 2013. Mrs. Hinshaw was born in Chatham County on November 16, 1921 the daughter of Willie Harrison and Elizabeth (Campbell) Stone. She was a graduate of the Burlington Business School. Mrs. Hinshaw was a homemaker and member of Plainfield Friends Meeting, where she was a life member of the USFW, served as Clerk of the Meeting and Sunday School teacher. She was a life member of the Silk Hope Home Demonstration Club. Beulah was preceded in death by her husband, Willard Hinshaw. She is survived by one son: Noble W. Hinshaw and wife, Kay; grandson, Roger Hinshaw and wife, Judy; granddaughter, Deborah Hinshaw Rickman and husband, Freddie all of Siler City, North Carolina; great-grandchildren, Brooks and Joy Hinshaw, Corey, Cassie and Carson Rickman; step-grandchildren, Nikki Edmonds and husband, Travis of Cary, NC, Kim Beane and husband, Don of Siler City, North Carolina; step-great-grandchildren, Katelan, Chey and Jillian Beane; and sister, Turlie Lievers of Golconda, Illinois and several nieces and nephews.

HOLLAND Mary D. Eason Holland, 74, passed away November 19, 2013. She was born on October 31,1939, in Chowan County, North Carolina, the daughter of the late Otis M. and Martha P. Eason. She was predeceased by her husband, Hugh K. “Pete” Holland and brother, Carl R. Eason. Mary retired as a nursing assistant for Commonwealth Health Care. She was a member of Somerton Friends Meeting, where she faithfully mailed cards to members and friends and family for numerous years. Mary is survived by her daughters, Mary Ann H. Price, Iris H. Carter, and Tina M. Holland; grandchildren and spouses, Daniel James “D.J.” Carter (Becky), Samuel F. Carter (Marian), Daphne L. Carter, and David Kevin Price, Jr. (Amy); great grandchildren, Keri, Sydney, and Caitlyn Carter; brothers, George M. Eason, John T. Eason, and M. Donald Eason; and numerous nieces and nephews.

MILES Frank Vernon Miles, 90, died on December 25th, 2013, in Hanover, New Hampshire. Frank was born in Salem, Oregon on September 16, 1923, the middle son of Ross and Laura Miles. He spent most of his early years in Hazel Green, a small rural community outside of Salem, then entered the Engineering School at Oregon State University. When the U.S. entered World War II Frank sought an opportunity to be of service in a way that was more aligned with his faith than the military and enrolled in a program at Guilford College, North Carolina, to train young men to work in international relief and reconstruction. Within months this training was discontinued as congressional legislation cancelled the right of conscientious objectors to go overseas. Frank was then drafted as a conscientious objector into the Civilian Public Service (CPS) and, for three years, cut trails in the Smoky Mountains National Park, served as a medical “guinea pig” for jaundice experiments at the University of Pennsylvania, and worked as an attendant in both the State Mental Hospital in Trenton, New Jersey, and in the psychiatric clinic of Duke University Medical School. Within three weeks of being released from CPS at the age of 22, Frank was on his way to China to begin an assignment with the Friends Ambulance/Friends Service Unit, which ultimately lasted four years. In 1946, he assisted in rebuilding Zhengzhou, Weiwei and Anyang Hospitals, which had been badly damaged during the Sino-Japanese War. Then in 1947, as medical mechanic, he joined Medical Team 19 (MT-19) at the International Peace Hospital in Yenan, during a truce established in the civil war between the Chinese Nationalists and Communists. Shortly after MT-19’s arrival, hostilities resumed and Yenan was attacked by the Nationalists. Along with the entire hospital the team evacuated on foot, often under the cover of night to avoid air attacks, for the next 14 months — moving from village to village to reestablish mobile hospitals treating both civilian and military casualties (15 main moves, with stays in 44 villages). In 1948, along with a government guide, Frank walked across North China to the port city of Tianjin so that a teammate could return to the United States. Next, he looked after a machine shop, garage, and a small fleet of trucks in Chung Mou — a period during which the village changed hands between Nationalists and Communists several times. In October 1948, Frank was named chairperson for all Friends Service Unit groups working in China. Following his term it took him eight months to secure the requisite permission to leave China because of the U.S. Navy blockade of the port of Shanghai. Frank entered Haverford College in the fall of 1950 and earned a B.A. in Economics and Sociology and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Villanova University. He and Patricia Beatty were married in 1951. After the devastating loss of their firstborn, Douglas, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Frank and Pat welcomed four healthy children into their lives. Pursuing employment that would support the family and allow continued exploration of other parts of the world, Frank worked as Chief Engineer at Lee Tire and Rubber in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, in anticipation of their opening a plant in the Philippines. When the company was acquired and liquidated, he joined the International division of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, serving as Chief Engineer for plants in Valencia, Venezuela; Bethune, France and then as Plant Manager in Menzel Bourguiba, Tunisia; Joliette, Quebec; and Hamilton, Ontario. In 1978 Frank became Manufacturing Manager for Firestone Canada. After retiring from Firestone at the age of 60, Frank served as General Secretary/Treasurer for Canadian Yearly Meeting, the national body of Canadian Friends (Quakers) in Toronto, Ontario (’83-’89). A second retirement took Frank and Pat to the small village of Kaslo, British Columbia where they relished a decade of living next door to son Dan and his family, contributing to several community service groups, hiking up to old mines in the mountains and swimming in the cold waters of Kootenay Lake. In 2000, after 38 years of living outside the United States, Frank and Pat relocated to New Hampshire so as to be closer to medical support in working with Pat’s advancing Alzheimer’s. They lived for 2 ½ years with daughter Cathy and her family in Piermont, New Hampshire. There, in addition to engaging fully with family life and projects, Frank volunteered at the Piermont Library, came to know intimately the early spring ephemeral wildflowers, and explored the surrounding hills by bicycle and on foot. Later, from a new home base at Kendal in Hanover (’03-’13), Frank sang with the Bach Study Group and the Kendal Chorale. Throughout his time at Kendal he gave generously of himself in supporting those whom advancing years had robbed of independence — and grew with grace into his own time of increased dependence on the help of others. Frank’s roots and contributions to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) ran deep. During his childhood his family participated in the Pacific Coast Association of Friends, a group of meetings that was re-establishing worship on the basis of silence. Witness to the peaceful resolution of conflict was an essential part of their life. Frank’s father had been a conscientious objector in World War I, working with the American Friends Service Committee to build orphanages for children who had lost their parents in the war. Frank’s brother Ward also served as conscientious objector during World War II. Frank and Pat were active in Radnor Monthly Meeting, Hamilton Monthly Meeting, Argenta Friends Meeting, and Hanover Friends Meeting. More recently, Frank was a regular presence with the Kendal Worship Group. Frank carried himself in a beautifully unassuming way that didn’t broadcast his lifetime of rich experience in Quakerism, and his international work and service. Nevertheless he was known by many as a source of light and wisdom with a ready ear for listening, a sense of perspective, and a warm smile and chuckle. Frank Miles is predeceased by his wife, Patricia Beatty Miles. He is survived by his brothers Ward Miles of Lacey, Washington and Rodney Miles of Portland, Oregon. Frank is lovingly remembered by his children and their families: Stephen and Ingrid Miles of Ipswich, Massachusetts, and their sons: Garth Landers and Stephen Miles, Jr.; Rebecca Miles and Ward Broderson of Tallahassee, Florida and her children, Jessamyn Doan and Daniel Doan; Dan Miles and Shelley Stickel Miles of Kaslo, British Columbia and their daughters Sarah and Hélène Miles; and Catherine Miles Grant and Charles Grant of Saint Johnsbury, Vermont and their sons Brendan and Julian Grant.

PERRY Carlene Williams Perry, 89, of Siler City, North Carolina, passed away on Sunday, December 29, 2013. Carlene was preceded in death by her parents, Walter Clyde and Bertha Hackett Williams; and was also preceded in death by her husband, Paul Staley Perry; sisters, Ailene W. Wright and Ann Albright; brother, Robert “Bob” Williams. Surviving is her daughter, Camela Beane Crutchfield (Alfred) of Liberty; grandchildren, Donald L Beane, Jr. (Kim) of Siler City, Perry E. Beane (Lindsey) of (Lenior); great-grandchildren, Cheyenne Beane, Jillian Beane, Sandra Lewis Beane, Colby Dulles Beane and Aiden Elizabeth Beane; sister, Josephine W. Nixon; sister-in-law, Ada Williams.

ROGERS Catherine Thomas Rogers, 101, passed away Saturday, December 21, 2013 at her residence. Catherine was born December 17, 1912 in Winchester, Virginia, to the late William and Carrie Leonard Thomas. She was a member of Concord Friends Meeting. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Ira Earl Rogers and several brothers and sisters. Survivors include her daughter, Janet Coltrane (Fred) of Greensboro; 3 grandchildren, Fred Coltrane, Jr. (Judy) of Atlanta, Georgia, Cathy Coltrane Allen and Kristie Coltrane both of Greensboro; six great grandchildren, Sarah Coltrane, Kyle Coltrane, Scotty Allen, Haley May, Hannah May and Carrie Allen; and a brother, Paul Thomas of Greensboro.

SPRUILL Cassie Winslow Spruill, 87, of Hertford, North Carolina, died Tuesday, November 26, 2013. Mrs. Spruill was born in Perquimans County and was the daughter of the late Velum and Emma Perry Winslow. A retired home health nurse’s assistant, she later spent countless hours as a volunteer at Hertford Grammar School. She was a life-long member of Piney Woods Friends Meeting. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Harry Lee Spruill, an infant daughter, Diane Spruill, brothers, Oras and Otha Winslow, and infant brother, Valentine Winslow. Surviving are her daughter, Linda Godfrey and husband Terry of Belvidere, North Carolina; a son, Dick Spruill of Hertford; and two grandsons, Benjamin Godfrey and wife Dare of Raleigh and Brandon Godfrey and wife Mary Allen of Asheboro, North Carolina.

THOMAS Clarence Ray Thomas, 95, of Climax, North Carolina, passed away Monday evening, December 30, 2013, at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital. Born September 16, 1918, in Randolph County, he was the son of George Newton Thomas and Dora Freeman Thomas. In his early years, Ray and brother Cliff operated service stations in Asheboro, but in the early 1950s, he moved to the country where he farmed the remainder of his working years. He was a member of Asheboro Friends Meeting, where he sang in the choir and was a committed member of Quaker Men. He was also able to help rebuild homes on several trips with the N.C. Friends Disaster Service. In his community he was an early member of the Climax Volunteer Fire Department and the Red Cross Civitans. Ray and his wife Pauline shared a love of camping, spending many weekends with the Randolph Ramblers at Ramblers Roost; later, upon retirement, they traveled in their camper throughout the United States. In addition to his parents, Ray was preceded in death by five brothers: Clyde, Clifton, Carlton, Floyd, and Linney Thomas and two sisters, Jewell Johnson and Alberta Allen, as well as his daughter, Janet Thomas Morris and great-granddaughter, Leah Elizabeth Way. He is survived by his wife of 76 years, Pauline Steed Thomas; one son, Neal Thomas and wife Susie; granddaughter; Martha Way, and grandson; Doug Thomas and wife Lorraine. He is also survived by six great-grandchildren; Will, Cam and Mailey Way and Anna, Luke and Andrew Thomas; several nieces and nephews; special family friends, Evan and Pam Griffin.

Quaker Life – January/February 2014

Gathered in Christ: Disciple Making

Jesus saw just what measure of evil God’s love was up against and how much sacrifice and devotion to God it would take by himself and those who would follow, if the light was to ever overcome the darkness.

Light would not prevail, however, by people being unwillingly led to their deaths. Rather, it would come by people voluntarily laying down their lives to take up a life of obedience to the will of God, no matter the cost. When Jesus called and continues to call his followers to take up their crosses — he was/is under no illusions as to what that would mean for him or us.

This, Friends, is the gospel at its most terse and dangerous. The cross is not a magic symbol or a fashionable decoration. It’s a symbol of a risky, alternative lifestyle. It is a symbol that makes normative claims about who God is, about who we are and about the shape and direction of our life together. It is a symbol for how God and God’s people exercise redemptive love that has and will eventually transform the world.

“Follow me.”

Colin Saxton – General Secretary, Friends United Meeting

Gathered in Christ: Disciple Making - By Dorlan Bales


 
“How and why do people become followers of Jesus Christ?” Learn more about Scripture’s witness in this, the first of a six-part Bible Study by Dorlan Bales.

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The Importance of Discipleship - By John Muhanji


 
“A great people gathers as they energize and equip others for reaching out for Christ to the whole world.”

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The Journey of a Disciple – By Manny Garcia


 
“Intentionality is one area where the Church falls short today. There just aren’t enough Christ followers purposely engaging in the discipleship of others.”

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Discipleship 101 – By Megan Anderson


 
“Congregations that foster a culture of discipleship stand to benefit as much as the individual disciplers and disciples.”

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It Cannot Be Completed Alone – By Susann Estle-Cronau


“May we continue to flourish like the grass upon the earth and cover the land with our sacrifice and service as disciples of God.”
 
 
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Discipleship: Relational Connections - By Matt Chesnes


 
“All mission statements connected to the local church must render disciple making as the central focus.”

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Other Articles In This Issue:

Staff Columns

Out of My Mind – Colin Saxton
Meanderings & Musings – Annie Glen
Grace Always – Eden Grace
Spreading the Word – Micah Bales

FUM News and Updates

FUM News in Brief

Other Content

Metamorphosis – David O. Williams
Meeting Christ in Prison – Lonnie Valentine
Football Nation – Barbara DeMille
Ask Tom: How have Quaker views on tombstones changed over time? – Thomas Hamm
Book Reviews
Passages: Quaker Obituaries