Thank you for the many, many ways you bless and sustain the ministry of Friends United Meeting. Thank you for the countless prayers offered on behalf of the staff in Richmond and those serving around the world. Your prayers are deeply appreciated. As I travel, many of you share your commitment to pray for the whole FUM staff or one of us in particular. Thank you for this kind of spiritual companionship and for partnering with the staff in this important way.
Your FUM staff is grateful for the invitations received from local churches/meetings to share about what FUM is doing in various corners of the world. It is a joy to be with Friends in worship, to build relationships and to understand more fully how FUM can energize and equip the work you are called to do in your local community. Thank you for inviting us into the life of your community.
We are grateful for connection and partnership within FUM that joins each of our yearly meetings and associations. Thank you for making spacious room for FUM to be an integral part of your annual gatherings, for including FUM ministries and resources in your planning and budgeting process, and for naming and sending dedicated volunteers who serve on the FUM General Board or a working group. The work and witness of FUM thrives most when we all invest in it.
As we work at rebuilding and refocusing North American Ministries, we are grateful for those of you who host and attend FUM sponsored workshops. This month we will be offering the first Bridging the Gaps conference at Quaker Hill Conference Center. It is focused on nurturing and supporting those of us who minister among Friends youth and young adults. Additionally, over the weekend of February 28–March 1, Henry Freeman and I will be offering a retreat, also at Quaker Hill, on fundraising in the local church. You can find out about these and other retreats by visiting our website: www.fum.org. Thank you, again, for participating in these kinds of gatherings that sharpen our ministry skills and strengthens the ties between us.
The future shape and focus of FUM continues to become clearer through the feedback you offer. Just last month, a fellow stopped me after a presentation I made at his yearly meeting. “When is FUM going to start offering curriculum, again?” he queried. “We need help with resources for Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and other programs.” Others continue to call for leadership training, service opportunities and resources that support the life and vitality of the local church/meeting. Thank you for sharing your concerns. It is my hope we will be better ready to respond to these needs in the near future.
Thanks, as well, to all of you who subscribe to Quaker Life magazine and who purchase books and other materials through Friends United Press. The magazine is a primary avenue for staying connected to what is happening in the FUM community and, hopefully, being inspired toward a more faithful and fruitful spiritual journey. Friends United Press has both old and new resources aimed at deepening our life with God and enabling our service in the world.
And, of course, we thank you for the generous and often sacrificial ways you financially support FUM. This sacrificial generosity is evident in the committed support for FUM projects, through the regular gifts that release Field Staff for service and through the support of the General Fund that makes the whole work of FUM possible.
A few months ago, I received a phone call from a regular FUM supporter. She and her husband are retired and living on a limited, fixed income. For several years now, they have made a monthly gift to FUM because this is their community. They feel deeply connected and committed to the work FUM is called to carry out and so they have made it one of their primary areas of stewardship. Recently, she said during our call, they eliminated one of their bills and found they had a bit more discretionary income. “Could FUM use the extra $20 a month?” she wondered.
I left that phone conversation deeply humbled by and grateful for the generosity of saints like this couple who help make possible all of the work we do together as FUM. Please know we receive your financial support with a sense of sacred trust. Our commitment is to use these resources well—to focus our best energies and resources to carry out the work Christ has commissioned Friends United Meeting to accomplish—across our current global community and into new areas where we may be led. Thank you, again, for all of the ways you bless and sustain this community.
Peace and joy!
FUM General Secretary