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Archive for Quaker Life Magazine – Page 3

Listening and Learning at FUM Triennial

By David Herendeen

My decision to attend the FUM Triennial this year arose from a desire to act on a long-held concern that New York Yearly Meeting Friends remain engaged and connected with FUM. Coming to terms with my reservations (and fears), I felt I was ready now to follow through on my concern. I am thankful for the generous support of Northeastern Regional Meeting and New York Yearly Meeting, which enabled me to attend this year.

listening and learning at FUM triennialAttending FUM’s Triennial also enabled me to reconnect with old friends I had known during my 12 years of pastoral ministry in the Midwest (1982-1994). Many changes have taken place in FUM since that time. FUM has grappled with some tough issues. Some of its Midwestern yearly meeting members have suffered painful and divisive conflict. Friends meetings have separated from Indiana Yearly Meeting and formed a new association. I wanted to hear their stories personally, rather than rely on reports and internet blogs.

Indiana Yearly Meeting served as gracious hosts of this gathering, which met at the modern and comfortable campus of Indiana Wesleyan University. Meals were abundant and pleasing. There was ample time for conversation at mealtime and after evening programs. This was a time for me to sit in on some challenging and difficult conversations concerning issues of concern within the FUM family. I strove to listen lovingly. While Friends shared stories of pain and woundedness, I also heard stories of hope and new beginnings.

The theme for the week was, “A Great People to Be Gathered: In Christ, In Community, For Mission.” Plenary sessions began with a devotional worship or hymn singing. And, how these Friends love to sing! Gospel hymns and praise choruses projected on an overhead screen were mostly familiar to me. Although some of the texts no longer speak to me, still, I found joy entering into song with other Christian believers! FUM gatherings provided an opportunity to meet and hear from field staff working in global ministries. One evening session was devoted to hearing their stories, and slides and videos of this work enlivened my sense of these ministries. The story of Cuban Friends, who have developed their own unique indigenous Quaker identity, was uplifting. We sang a song, based upon Isaiah 61:1: “Si el Espíritu está aquí hay paz, Si el Espíritu está aquí hay amor . . .” A touching end to this evening was the laying on of hands and prayer offered for all new field staff.

A more recent development among FUM global ministries has been a renewed call for reconciliation and peacemaking. A Peace Panel held Saturday evening consisted of representatives from
Friends Church Peace Teams (Kenya), two Cuban Friends sharing about their Peace Institute, Quaker Volunteer Service and FCNL. Kenyan Friends have worked in Trauma Healing Reconciliation (in
partnership with African Great Lakes Initiative) and have even developed a peace curriculum (with FUM assistance) for Kenyan schools.

Three new yearly meetings/associations were welcomed to the FUM family: Chebuyusi Yearly Meeting (Kenya), Highland Yearly Meeting (Kenya), and the New Association of Friends (Indiana). I sat in on an interest group this new association led. They are still in the formative stages, but stated they are considering the highest authority to be in the monthly meeting. They are interested in invitations to other yearly meetings who would welcome getting to know them and hear their story.

I also attended a workshop on Indiana Yearly Meeting history. Many other mid-western yearly meetings were birthed out of this yearly meeting as Friends moved westward. They were also active in the evangelical Quaker transformation and the development of the pastoral tradition among Friends in the 19th century. FUM has been working hard to bridge the differences, which sometimes hinder the work of the body. Colin Saxton, the new General Secretary of FUM, is providing strong, yet gentle leadership. Many took part in an FUM Forty Days of Prayer devotional and Day of Discernment in preparation for this Triennial. I felt a depth of spirit and prayerfulness undergirding this gathering.

Does FUM have enough common ground for us to remain in ministry together? I am convinced that it does. Great care had been given by a Restructuring/Prioritizing committee of the General Board (sound familiar, NYYM Friends?), which brought a proposed revision of Organization and Procedure. Changes were made taking in account the process by which new member yearly meetings become part of FUM. Also addressed were how to develop an organizational structure that is sustainable, and how to continue to nurture global partnerships that are truly equitable, given the cultural and economic diversity of FUM. They did a good job of informing Friends of these proposed changes.

I served on the new business committee, which forwarded a concern from United Society of Friends Women International that FUM consider meeting concurrently with their triennial rather than consecutive years.

Speakers called attenders to be the great people we are called to be NOW, being attentive to the urgings of Spirit to make a prophetic witness to the world. We were challenged to be about energizing, equipping, and connecting Friends to participate in God’s transformative work in the world. We were invited to be a people who sit at the feet of Jesus, listening and learning how to be a beloved community witnessing to a redemptive love realized in the world.

A recorded minister, David A Herendeen has served pastoral meetings in Indiana, Illinois and New York. He currently cofacilitates a group of Friends who visit and encourage meetings and worship groups within New York Yearly Meeting. He also instituted a meeting intervisitation program within his Regional meeting. He has been an active attender at Easton (New York) meeting for the past 11 years. He is now serving as pastor of Manhattan Monthly Meeting in New York City.

Meanderings and Musings – January/February 2015

By Annie Glen
Communications Editor

I remember a time when meeting for worship did not energize my soul. Throughout the silence I would strain to hear the voice of God, but invariably just at the moment when I felt I was finally settled, someone would stand up and give a message from the silence. Many times, during that fallow period of my spiritual life, I would listen and then judge the message. Most generally the judgment was not positive and would cloud the rest of the meeting for me.

One Sunday, three people stood up and gave what I could only describe as “wacky” messages. One lady shared while she was doing dishes she looked out the window and saw a good tree. Then she turned her head and saw a bad tree. That was her message! My eyes rolled.

Two minutes later, her friend stood up with her hands over her head, swaying while she sang the Beatles song, “Let it Be.” About a minute later, a man stood and said he was walking into his house, saw crocuses popping their heads out of the snow. He said it made him so happy that he went in and baked some brownies. It was at that point, my cynical mind wondered what these people were thinking.

Right after meeting, I asked to speak to the Ministries & Oversight Clerk. As we sat down, I abruptly asked, “Just what is the statement of belief here?” He asked, “What is causing you to be so agitated?” With as much indignation and self-righteousness that I could muster, I asked him if he had heard the messages in worship. He simply smiled and nodded.

Then there was silence. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and disgustedly said, “Well?” The clerk turned to me and asked, “Do you see that of God in those individuals?” I chortled, “No!” The clerk’s eyes met mine and said, “Why not?”

The silence that followed was deafening! It was then that I experienced the truth of Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens another.” In that sharpening split second — that seemed like an eternity — I realized that each of those individuals offered a prayer to God of gratefulness from the spot where their feet were planted on their spiritual path. I was in a different spot, but in all these places God was at work in each of us. I had to ask myself, “What made my experience more right than another?”

God within each of us, works. It is particularly a special event when people can be unified for the mission God breathes into an organization. May we within the confines of FUM, see that of God working, nurturing and enriching the ministry he calls us to do. And through that unity, may we be energized.

Quaker Life – November/December 2014

Leading a Scattered People

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.

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.

Annie Glen – Communications Editor, Friends United Meeting

Where Does Quaker Leadership Come From? – By Dorlan Bales


“Rather than look primarily to tradition, hierarchy, reason, or interpretations of inspired writings, Quakers put our highest confidence in the Holy Spirit.”

Read more


Abraham and Isaac: A Pacifist Story? – By William H. Mueller


“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.”

Read more


Friends helping Friends in Jamaica – By Melissa Partin


“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.”

Read more


Private Quaker, Public Quaker – Part 1 – By Norval Reese


“Quakerism is in rough shape, but I think the Religious Society of Friends has turnaround potential.”

Read more


Finding my Joy in the City – By Hannah Williams


“Through this experience I realized that with Christ there is hope!”

Read more


Silent Night, 1914 – By Charles David Kleymeyer


“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…”

Read more


Other Articles In This Issue:

Staff Columns

Meanderings & Musings – Annie Glen
Amazing Grace – Eden Grace

FUM News and Updates

FUM News in Brief

Other Content

Ask Tom: Have Quaker ideas of what it means to be a leader changed over the years?
Passages: Quaker Obituaries

Ask Tom: Have Quaker ideas of what it means to be a leader changed over the years?

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

The first generation of Friends had no doubt that they had leaders. Historians argue about whether George Fox was THE leader of early Quakerism; some assert that he came to be perceived as “first among Friends” because he outlived almost all of his contemporaries and was able to shape writing about and the memory of the beginnings of the Quaker movement. But no one questioned that some had gifts for speaking or conducting the business of the Society, and so Friends were willing to defer to them. Indeed, they felt it their duty.

Friends of all persuasions have always been clear that God calls and makes leaders. No human education or training could qualify a man or woman if that divine gift was absent. For much of Quaker history, Friends tended to equate wisdom and leadership ability — weight — with age. Most Friends adopted the pastoral system in the late nineteenth century because they were convinced that changing circumstances required new practices and institutions. Congregations that often included large numbers of new converts needed regular preaching and pastoral care. Opposition to the development of the pastoral system among Friends who remained committed to unprogrammed worship was based in large part on the fear that appointing one person as the leader of worship would crowd out other potential leaders — those who also had the ability to speak and preach. (Interesting note on some forgotten Quaker history — in the 1880s even Hicksite Friends debated developing a paid ministry.)

In the twentieth century, the greatest change was the embrace by most Friends of the idea that education and training could help Friends develop their gifts, especially gifts of leadership. The Quaker colleges increasingly focused on this. Pastoral Friends opened Bible colleges and training institutes. Woodbrooke in England and Pendle Hill were founded to help shape leadership among unprogrammed Friends. Perhaps the final step was the founding of the first accredited Quaker theological seminary, the Earlham School of Religion in 1960.

The nature of Quaker leadership today is a matter of lively debate. Some Friends believe in a Quakerism so egalitarian that they regard any assertion of leadership skeptically. Others still regard it as vital to the Quaker future. The discussion continues.

Do you have a Quaker history question to “Ask Tom”? Send questions to Annie Glen.

Passages: Quaker Obituaries – November/December 2014

ANDREW Wilma George Andrew, 98, of Snow Camp, North Carolina, died August 16, 2014. Mrs. Andrew was born August 6, 1916, in Westfield, North Carolina; the daughter of Edgar and Emma (Simmons) George. Mrs. Andrew was a native of Westfield, North Carolina. Wilma was a homemaker, a member of South Fork Friends Meeting, where she was in the Genevieve Lindley Sunday School Class, Women’s Missionary Society (as secretary), Silk Hope Home Demonstration Club, Circle of Hope Missionary Society and worked in the Silk Hope School as a volunteer for many years. Wilma loved poetry and wrote many original poems. She is survived by daughter: Susan Thomas and husband, Joe of Snow Camp, North Carolina; son: Gary Andrew and wife, Joann of Huntsville, Alabama; grandchildren; Amanda Brown and husband, Mike; Neil Andrew and wife, Lisa; Karen Welton and husband Steve and Joseph Thomas and wife, Paula; great-grandchildren: Reagan Brown, Andrew Brown Paige Welton, Trenton Welton, Bailey Andrew, Aiden Andrew, Taylor Thomas and Noah Thomas. JARVIS Thelma Talton Jarvis of High Point, North Carolina, was born in Newport News, Virginia, on September 10, 1932. Thelma graduated from Radford High School in Radford, Virginia, and relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina, to attend Rex Hospital School of Nursing. After graduating she moved to Chapel Hill and worked in the labor and delivery unit at North Carolina Memorial Hospital. In 1958, she and her husband, Dr. W.C. Jarvis, moved to High Point where she taught in the Nursing School at High Point Memorial Hospital while he was teaching in the dental school at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She ended her nursing career working with her husband until retirement. Thelma was very active at Springfield Friends Meeting and enjoyed close companionships with her many friends. She was a member of two “Red Hat” societies and several exercise groups including yoga, Zumba and water aerobics. She and two friends formed an entertainment trio, Comedy Inspirations, to encourage those that have health and age related issues. Thelma’s motto was “aspire to inspire before we expire.” She was preceded into death by her mother, Swannanoa Thelma O’Neal Talton, father Thomas Evans Talton and four brothers; Thomas, James, John and Glenn Talton, and her husband, Dr. William C. Jarvis. She is survived by two brothers and sister-inlaws; Douglas (Maria) and Bobby (Betty), three sons and two daughter-in-laws Thomas Lewis Jarvis, Dr. William David Jarvis (Dr. Bennie) and James Talton Jarvis (Dana); five grandchildren; William David, Jr., Faith Lamm O’Neal, Glenn Talton, Grayson Charles and Justin Lewis.

JERNIGAN Hugh Watson Jernigan, Sr., 89, of Greensboro, North Carolina, passed away on August 8, 2014. He was born, one of seven brothers, on October 13, 1924 in Wayne County, North Carolina, to John Lewis and Mary Helm Jernigan. He was member of New Garden Friends Meeting, where he served on various committees and as a meeting usher for over 50 years. He was also a member and former president of New Garden Friends Brotherhood Class. After retirement as a dairyman, he was employed by Guilford College and Friend’s Home in grounds maintenance and landscaping, and volunteered in restoration activities at the historic New Garden Cemetery, identifying and restoring Revolutionary War grave site locations and grave markers. He was a valuable community asset, receiving recognition for his work with the Boy Scouts of America. As a charter member of the Guilford College Civitan Club, he had a 58 year perfect attendance record and was involved in numerous local and state fund raising projects. He received awards for Civitan of the Year in 1976-1977 and Citizen of the Year in 1967-1968. He was also a member of the Guilford Grange for over 55 years. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Leila Mae Jernigan, two hildren and their spouses, Hugh Jernigan, Jr. (Mary Susan Dobyns) and Patricia Ann Martinez (John Martinez), two brothers, Horace and Harold Jernigan.

KRITSCH Clarence Walter Kritsch died on August 11, 2014. He was born on September 2, 1924, in Traverse City, Michigan to Walter and Mae (Grindsted) Kritsch. After his family moved to Indiana, Clarence tragically lost both of his parents when he was just six years old. He and one of his sisters became residents of the Moorman Orphans’ Home west of Winchester, Indiana, under the care of house parents Stella and Fred Moore. For all of his formal education, Clarence rode the school hack to the Lincoln schools west of the Moorman Home. After school and during the summers, being a resident of the Home meant regular chores to help grow food and keep the building and grounds clean. Doing those chores taught Clarence an excellent work ethic and gave him his start on becoming a first-rate farmer. Clarence recounted that after the chores were done and the kids had free time, the big barn’s floor would be cleared for basketball games involving the Home’s kids and many others from the surrounding area as well. Clarence became a skilled basketball player and a leader on his Lincoln High School team. Clarence occasionally would speak of walking with friends through the woods west of the Moorman Home to the edge of Winchester Speedway. He and his buddies climbed the trees to a point high enough to see over the mound of dirt around the racetrack so they could watch the races. He clearly remembered the extra excitement of the day when a race driver lost control, came up over the dirt mound and crashed into the very tree the boys had climbed. Clarence graduated from Lincoln High School and in July 1944, married his high school sweetheart Maxine Funk, whose parents owned the Speedway and the farmstead west of it. Their wedding took place in the Funks’ house, and the newlyweds set up housekeeping in a small cottage nearby. He began farming for his father-in-law and ended up being a lifelong Randolph County, Indiana, farmer west of Winchester. Even in his final year, Clarence remained as active in his three-generation family farm as his health allowed. In October 1949, Clarence and Maxine became members of Winchester Friends Church where Clarence had attended since childhood with a group from the Orphans’ Home. Over the decades until their deaths, both were tireless workers and faithful participants in the church’s ministries and the William Penn Sunday School class. They made their home a “country refuge” for a long succession of pastors. For as long as he was able, Clarence assisted the trustees in caring for the meetinghouse and parsonage, and he provided spiritual grounding and leadership to the church in many other ways as well. Above all, he loved spending time with his family, and he leaves to them and to his church family a legacy of quiet strength and spiritual faithfulness. Although a man of few words, his was a life that spoke. He was preceded in death by his parents; by his wife Maxine L. (Funk) Kritsch in September 2007; by two sisters, Anna-Marie Werking and Margaret Crist; and by a brother, John Kritsch. Survivors include his two sons, Ben (wife Ellene) Kritsch and Tony (wife Marsha) Kritsch, both of Winchester, Indiana; four grandchildren, Scott Kritsch of Ridgeville, Indiana, Michael (wife Lana) Kritsch of Indianapolis, Indiana, Trent (wife Christa) Kritsch of Winchester, Indiana and Angie (husband Corey) Graff of Westfield, Indiana; eight great grandchildren, Alex, Victoria, Ethan, Addison, Lyla and Carol-Anne Kritsch, and Chase and Kaylee Graff; and a church family and many friends who will miss him dearly.

MARLEY Cafer Ingman Marley, age 93, formerly of Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, passed away on August 22, 2014. Mr. Marley was born January 9, 1921, the son of Arthur B. and Mary Hanner Marley. Mr. Marley was a native of Guilford County, North Carolina, and was a veteran of the U.S. Army proudly serving our country in World War II. He served as a recorded Friends minister in many places including, Woodland in Goldsboro, North Carolina; Corinth, Ivor, Virginia; Somerton, Suffolk, Virginia; Bethel, Franklin, Virginia; Statesvillle, Statesville, North Carolina; Farr’s Chapel, Vonore, Tennessee; and Rafter Chapel, Tellico Plains, Tennesee. He also served as interim pastor at Rocky River Friends Meeting, Siler City, North Carolina, Liberty Friends Meeting, and Centre Friends Meeting, Greensboro, North Carolina. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia Garrett Marley, daughter: Judy M. Dawson and brother: Eli Marley. He is survived by his daughters: Elaine (Allen) Kerns of Franklinville, North Carolina, Lelia (Clint) Harrell of Suffolk, Virginia; grandchildren: Matthew (Lindsay) Harrell of Chesapeake, Virginia and Hannah Kerns of Franklinville, North Carolina; son in law: Grant Dawson of Brown Summit, North Carolina; siblings: Branson and Philip Marley and Linda Trogdon.

PEDIGO Nathan M. Pedigo, 20, of Westfield, IN died July 4, 2014 in Indianapolis. He was born in Chicago, IL on November 24, 1993. Nathan was a 2012 graduate of Plainfield High School. He attended Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) where he was studying Criminal Justice and worked for UPS shipping. This summer he was serving as an intern with Plainfield Friends summer Sunday morning outreach program. He was a Sundesmos (Young Adult Program) intern with Western Yearly Meeting of Friends Church (WYM) following his graduation from high school. He was an active member of the Western Yearly Meeting Youth Cabinet during his high school years. Nathan enjoyed music, superheroes, good food, video games and trying new things. During his time on WYM Youth Cabinet, he frequently wrote the skits that were presented for the Youth Cabinet Road Shows presented to several Meetings each year. Nathan is remembered by family, friends and Friends particularly for his gifts of service, generosity and humor. A memorial service was held in the Western Yearly Meetingroom on July 12 by Plainfield Friends Meeting where he was a member. The Nathan Pedigo Memorial Fund has been established by Westfield Friends Church, 324 S. Union Street, Westfield, IN 46074. Contributions may be mailed to the church. Condolences may be sent to the family at 17172 Tilbury Way, Westfield IN 46074. Nathan is survived by his parents, Steven and Marlene Morrison Pedigo; brother, Joel Pedigo; sister, Anna Pedigo; his grandmother, Jean Morrison, several aunts and uncles and many cousins. Memorial Minute submitted by Plainfield Friends Meeting of Western Yearly Meeting

PLUMLEE Justin Gary Plumlee, 29, of Sophia, North Carolina, August 31, 2014. Born September 14, 1984 in High Point, North Carolina, Justin was the son of Gary and Terri Plumlee. He was a birthright Quaker and was a member of Marlboro Friends Meeting. Justin graduated from Randleman High School in 2002 and from Guilford College in 2010 where he majored in history and minored in religion. A devout Christian, Justin spent several summers as a counselor at Quaker Lake Camp fulfilling his passion for helping young people find the Lord. During this time, Justin also served as chairperson of the Young Adult Committee for North Carolina Yearly Meeting. Most recently, he worked as a Media Assistant at Randleman Middle School and served as assistant coach on the school’s baseball team. Justin received the honor of Employee of the Year at Randleman Middle School for the 2013-2014 school year. He was an avid outdoorsman and loved trout fishing, mountain biking, and hiking. Justin also enjoyed all sports and was a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox and Manchester United. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Cecil “Whitey” and Vada Plumlee, and his maternal grandparents, James Hanson and Linda Hanson Sellers. Survivors include his parents, Gary and Terri Plumlee, of Sophia, North Carolina; his sister, Morgan Plumlee, of Asheboro, North Carolina; his grandfather, Fred Sellers, of Shallotte, North Carolina; aunts and uncles, Evelyn and Gray Warren, Mark Plumlee, and Warren and Cherrie Hanson; cousins, Kyle Warren and wife, Sara, Ben Warren, Connor Hanson, and Tyler Hanson. Loved by many, Justin is also survived by numerous extended family members and friends.

RYAN Sara Jane (Kekkum) Ryan, 73, passed away on June 19, 2014. Sara Jane was born March 14, 1941 to James and Roberta (Jones) Kellum of Camby, Indiana. She was the second of three girls; the others are Mary Ann Cottrell and Susan Kellum. She graduated in 1959 from Decatur Central High School in Marion County, Indiana. She attended Earlham College and completed her degrees in Education at Indiana University. Sara married Larry D. Ryan D.D.S., January 1, 1961 at the Fairfield Friends Meetinghouse in Camby. After Larry’s professional schooling and military service, they resided for forty years in the two-story brick farmhouse just south of the Fairfield Friends Meetinghouse with their three children. In 1980, the same year that her oldest child Gregory started college, she began teaching third grade students at Northwood Elementary School in Mooresville, Indiana. After retiring in 2001, Sara spent several semesters as a Student Teacher Evaluator for Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana. Sara served on the Board of Trustees for Earlham College for three terms which expired in 2013. Also, she was a liaison to Earlham School of Religion. Sara Jane was a birthright Quaker and served on several committees and boards for Plainfield Friends Meeting and Western Yearly Meeting in Plainfield, Indiana. She previously served as clerk of ministry and counsel for Plainfield Friends. She especially enjoyed serving on the decorating committee that chose the furniture and accessories for several rooms in the newly remodeled Western Yearly Meeting basement. As a child she enjoyed attending Quaker Haven Camp and later volunteered as a camp counselor. Sara Jane was a very involved 4-H’er while growing up. She especially enjoyed showing her Cheviot lamb. Later, she became a 4-H Leader with her girls, Luann and Melissa, who also showed Cheviot sheep. She was a leader for her son Greg’s Cub Scout Pack. She and Larry spent many years restoring and renovating their 1870s brick home. The property has been in the family since the 1820s. Her Kellum, Hockett and Hadley ancestors settled in Guilford Township, Hendricks County, Indiana, in 1823, after leaving North Carolina. They were some of the first to enter the county and were instrumental in establishing White Lick Friends (now Mooresville Friends), Sugar Grove Friends and Fairfield Friends Meetings. Her Quaker Roots were deep as her grandfather, I. Lindley Jones, was a Friends Minister from Lost Creek Friends Meeting of Jefferson County, in east Tennessee. Sara Jane and Larry have frequently attended Ball Play Friends Meeting of Monroe County in Tellico Plains, Tennessee. Her Friends upbringing was instrumental in her strong faith in God and the nurturing of her family and community. Sara enjoyed traveling and visited eleven foreign countries. She especially liked attending her children’s and then her grandchildren’s 4-H activities, musical programs and athletic events. Survivors include her husband, Larry; sisters: Mary Ann (Larry) Cottrell and Susan Kellum; children: Gregory (Diane) Ryan D.D.S., Luann (James) Heald, Melissa (Jerald) Hackett; grandchildren: Stuart and Grant Ryan, Andrew, Morgan, and Natalie Heald, and Raegan and Sadie Hackett.

SHORT Jo Ann Elizabeth Beeson Short, age 79, of Sophia, North Carolina, died July 31, 2014. Jo Ann was a native of Randolph County and a school teacher for 36 years. She was a member of Marlboro Friends Meeting, Alpha Delta Kappa Honorary Sorority and Friends Missionary Circle. Mrs. Short is preceded in death by her daughter, Ann Marie Short and her parents Colbert and Halcie Beeson. She is survived by her husband: James “Jimmie” Short; son: Sid Short and his wife Jennie of Norwood, North Carolina; daughter: Kathleen Naron and her husband Joe of Asheboro, North Carolina; grandchildren, Jordan and Grayson Short and Joseph and Sidney Naron; sisters: Marie Pugh, Sue Pugh, and Karen Hinshaw; brother: Elmer (Adis) Beeson all of Sophia, North Carolina.

STEELMAN Roy Arnold Steelman, 92, passed away on Saturday, August 16, 2014. Mr. Steelman was born October 9, 1921 in Yadkin County, North Carolina, to Arnold and Alma Dobbins Steelman. He served in the US Army during World War II after graduating from Yadkinville High School. Mr. Steelman was a lifelong member of Deep Creek Friends Meeting where he served as a Sunday school teacher and sang in the choir. He served with the North Carolina Friends Disaster Service and was a long time president and member of the Yadkin County Farm Bureau Board. In addition to his parents, Mr. Steelman was preceded in death by his loving wife of 53 years, Helen Hobson Steelman; a brother and sister-in-law, Frank (Susan) Steelman and a brother-in-law, Roy Coe. He is survived by three sons, Rick (Sharon) Steelman, Terry (Sonja) Steelman, and Don (Pam) Steelman; seven grandchildren, Alex and Spencer Steelman, Rebekah (Jon) Vermeer, Seth and Caleb Steelman, and Ashlyn and Rhett Steelman; two sisters, Dot Coe and Ina Sheek; and several nieces and nephews.

WILSON Louise Brown Wilson died on June 23, 2014, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Born in 1921, the first child of David Heston Brown and Christine Frazier Brown, Louise was raised in rural North Carolina by a family deeply rooted on both sides in Quaker values and Southern hospitality. Louise was educated at Westtown Secondary School (where she gave up cheerleading to star on the varsity basketball, lacrosse, hockey, tennis teams and also broke the record for receiving the most letters) and Guilford College, where she met and married in traditional Southern style fellow Quaker Bob Wilson from High Point, North Carolina. After marriage, Louise and Bob settled in High Point and, in 1952, moved with their two young children
to Virginia Beach. Here they started a Quaker (Religious Society of Friends) Meeting in their Linkhorn Park home. In 1954, Louise became a recorded Quaker minister, or “Minister among Friends” as her grandfathers had before her. The following year, she co-founded the Virginia Beach Friends School that held its first classes on a campground in Seashore State Park. In her book, A View from My Window (1995) Louise, who was head of Virginia Beach Friends School for many years, outlines the history of the meeting and school and how she and several fellow young Quakers and friends, notably Jane Waller, did everything, from driving the school bus to making the lunches during the early months of the school. Louise’s ministry and leadership extended outside of Quaker circles. She was active in prison ministry and the Junior League and served on interdenominational ministerial boards, committees and other civic organizations, resulting in her being named First Citizen of Virginia Beach in 1960. A natural storyteller, Louise became a popular and respected speaker and workshop leader amongst Friends meetings and educational institutions and served on many educational boards and committees, including Pendle Hill, Earlham School of Religion and Guilford College, where she became a trustee emeritus. Louise’s 1996 memoir, Inner Tenderings, recounts her spiritual journey and ministry across these years. Louise remained active on the Virginia Beach Friends meeting ministry and oversight committee until shortly before her death. Although the tonal quality of her speaking faded as she aged, she never lost her gift of capturing the essence of the moment and translating it into a message that spoke to the condition of those who heard her. Throughout her life, she received countless letters from people across the world thanking her for having touched their lives. In 2000, Louise lost her husband of almost 60 years, and after his death she moved to Atlantic Shores Retirement community where she made dear friends. She was active in the community’s writing group and had pieces published in The Poet’s Domain as well as national Quaker periodicals. Louise is survived by her brothers David Brown (wife Mae) of Greensboro, North Carolina and Benjamin Brown (wife Myra) of New Hampshire and Virginia Beach, as well as her son Bob Wilson Jr. (wife Janet), her daughter, Diane Hofheimer (husband Charles), and seven grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. An avid sports aficionado, Louise was the quintessential Tar Heel fan and always had her television tuned to a sports channel. Although extremely active outside of her home, Louise was also a beautiful homemaker, beloved parent, grandparent and friend. She would want to be remembered not by her resume but by the individual hearts that became a part of her heart and not by her words but by the spirit and shared silence from which they were born.

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.