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FUM News in Brief – January/February 2014

Foster Serves as Johnson Lecturer

Richard J. Foster, internationally renowned speaker and best-selling author, highlights the 2014 Triennial gathering for Friends United Meeting set to be held on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University, June 11-15. Foster will serve as the Johnson lecturer during the Saturday evening worship gathering.

In addition to his long-standing ministry as a writer and theologian, Foster is the founder of Renovare, an ecumenical Christian organization focused on spiritual formation. His books include The Celebration of Discipline, Streams of Living Water, and The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible.

James Bryan Smith, another founding member of Renovare and currently a professor of theology at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas will lead daily devotions throughout the Triennial. Smith is the author of several books including his newest, Hidden in Christ.

This summer’s Triennial event gathers Friends from across the globe for inspiration, community building and equipping Christ’s followers for service. Along with the large group worship gatherings, the event will include small workshops on a variety of topics, a global market place and activities for children and youth.

Friends United Meeting, an international community of Quakers, has its main office in Richmond, Indiana. Focusing on leadership development, communication, evangelism and global partnerships, Friends United Meeting carries out a wide array of Christian ministries on four continents.

The public is welcome to attend the evening lectures and worship events. To find out more information about the Friends United Meeting Triennial or to register for the entire event, go to Friends United Meeting’s website.

FTC Holds 2013 Graduation Ceremony

The high point of the year for the entire FTC community is graduation, which was held on the third Saturday of October 2013. The campus was spruced up and made ready by students who were in the work-study program. Through this program students learn how to work as a team, how to be a servant-leader and how to utilize organizational skills that will be essential for effective ministry.

General Secretary of Iowa Yearly Meeting Ron Bryan was the graduation speaker. He encouraged, challenged and inspired graduates to always walk worthy of their calling. Throughout ministry, he stressed, is the need to continue to be open to where Jesus is calling them to serve and the need to obey that calling.

There were fewer graduates this year as some students were delinquent in the payment of fees. It is a graduation requirement that all fees and tuition must be paid in full prior to the date of graduation. Adhering to this kind of accountability is another essential step in the process of becoming a fully accredited institution with the Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA).

FTC proudly announced that the average grade of graduates in the Diploma in Theology program is equal or higher to the average of all the international group of colleges offering the Diploma in Theology through St. Paul’s University. Classes taught by FTC Bachelor in Theology degree graduates are frequently much higher than this average. Eight years ago, the average grade was ten points lower than the current average. Students have progressively achieved higher grades each year.

FTC proudly announced that the average grade of graduates in the Diploma in Theology program is equal or higher to the average of all the international group of colleges offering the Diploma in Theology through St. Paul’s University. Classes taught by FTC Bachelor in Theology degree graduates are frequently much higher than this average. Eight years ago, the average grade was ten points lower than the current average. Students have progressively achieved higher grades each year.

Ramallah Friends School Pledge Supports New Endowment

During a recent visit to Ramallah Friends School (RFS), alumnus and United States businessman Farouk Shami (Class of 1961) pledged two million dollars to support the school’s new endowment fund. This unprecedented and historic pledge comes from Mr. Shami’s belief that RFS plays an important educational, humanitarian and social role in Palestinian society.

As he toured the campus Shami reflected, “This trip takes me years back to the beautiful old days, in those buildings where I grew up, dreamed and learned a lot before I started my journey in the real world. The Friends School offered me more than an exceptional education; it provided me a home and more importantly, a solid value set that I carry with me every day of my life. I have learned the value of peace and the importance of giving at the Friends School. This contribution is one way of returning my gratitude and support to my school as it continues to help the coming generation, as it helped me, achieve their dreams.”

RFS Director Joyce Ajlouny responded, “We feel very proud as we look at the school’s history in Palestine and see the graduates who have gone on to such success. RFS alumni are a great example of the strong will of Palestinian people; they acknowledge those who positively influenced them and proudly give back. Farouk Shami’s donation is an important milestone in the school’s history; it gives us confidence and provides the key funds that are essential to establish an endowment ensuring our school’s continuity and advancement. We are very grateful for his generosity and conviction that his school can continue to change the lives of young people, the same way it did his, over fifty years ago.”

Farouk AlShami, born in the village of Beit, west of Ramallah, is one of the most successful Palestinian American businessmen of the United States. His education at RFS began through the receipt of a scholarship when he was 13 years old. For the next seven years he continued his studies living in the home of Graham Leonard, an American Quaker teacher. Upon graduation Shami moved to the United States to pursue a college education.

Shami worked as an hair stylist to cover his college tuition fees. Later he created a revolution in international spa and hair care products and became one of the most famous hair stylists in the world. He owns Farouk System USA Company, which manufacture the products CHI and BioSilk, as well as many others.

Over the years, Shami has enjoyed many professional accomplishments. His has received nine patents for spa and hair care products and invented by replacing allergy causing ammonia, with a natural product made from wheat, corn and sugar cane the world’s first ammonia free hair dye. Shami also worked with NASA, producing special hair products that have low electromagnetic frequencies. Shami now owns the BioSilk Resort in Houston, Texas, offering the latest technologies, training facilities and mentoring opportunities from experts in the field of health and beauty.

Shami is committed to helping Palestine thrive economically. He recently decided to build a factory for his products in Palestine and to export to countries in Europe and Asia. This factory will provide approximately 400 jobs. He continues to encourage other Palestinian businessmen living abroad to come back to Palestine, invest, improve the economy and create job opportunities for youth.

Ramallah Friends School: Much More Than A Building

I am reminded of our school’s history every day, but nothing is as great a reminder as the etched cornerstone of our main administration building at the Upper School campus, which is also known as the Friends Boys School (FBS).

Constructed in 1913, the administration building has certainly seen a lot of action. It was first used by British and Turkish rulers as a hospital during World War I, and during and after World War II. In 1948, the Palestinian Nakbah used the building to accommodate refugee children. The building was first used for educational purposes in 1919.

Despite wars, earthquakes and the passage of 100 years since its construction, this majestic building continues to be the center of the educational life at the Upper School. With thousands of students studying or living there at some point in time, it maintains a special place in the hearts of many of our graduates, teachers and staff. With its thick walls, exquisite arches, stone tiled floors and stately architecture, this structure serves as a unique and practical connection with both past and future. Today, the administration building stands as one of the most historic landmarks in Ramallah. With four stories, including basement and attic, the educational center houses a cafeteria, student lounge area, administration offices, a library and many classrooms.

In celebration of the building’s 100th birthday, we took on the cumbersome task of cleaning the external walls. Taking the experts’ advice, we opted not to take the easy and more customary approach of sandblasting the walls. Apparently, the sand is too abrasive and causes harm as it erodes the vital, irreplaceable protective layer that has been developing on the stone for the past century. Hence, the workers reverted to the ancient and tedious practice of cleaning the stones with a sponge, mild soap and water — one stone at time. While seeing each stone transform from a dull gray to a bright ivory, I recalled how every stone is precious. My mind then drifted to how this attention to each stone is also paralleled by the individualized attention we provide our students, for each and every one of them is unique and precious.

Note: This renovation was made possible through a grant by USAID/ASHA

A New Direction for Kaimosi Hospital

FUM assumed management responsibility for Kaimosi Hospital in January 2006 at the invitation of East Africa Yearly Meeting, the hospital’s owner. In the last seven years, the hospital has been restored to full functioning, with a dedicated and capable staff, effective management, reliable financial resources and adequate basic medical equipment and supplies. Many hundreds of people have been touched by the healing ministry of Jesus Christ through Friends Hospital Kaimosi.

However, Kaimosi Hospital needs a much larger infusion of capital than FUM can mobilize. The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has selected Kaimosi Hospital as its flagship project for a new network of health care ministries across the country, called “Jumuia Hospitals”. (“Jumuia” is the Kiswahili word for “council”.) The Council of Churches has access to substantial financing for this endeavor and is working with medical consultants from India to support a higher standard of care than is currently available in the Kenyan rural setting. It is not yet clear when FUM will actually hand over to the new NCCK management, but it is clear that the Christian healing ministry begun by Kaimosi Friends in 1908 is about to be substantially enhanced.

Chain of Prayer

The annual Chain of Prayer began January 1 and will continue until June 15, 2014. Meetings in North America, Africa, Cuba, Jamaica, Ramallah and Belize create a continual Chain of Prayer by signing up for a day to pray specifically for the ministries of FUM as well as its member monthly meetings. Some meetings have special prayer gatherings, others have individuals sign up for half-hour time slots and many take a special offering for the ministries of Friends United Meeting. The Chain of Prayer is an annual event that engages FUM constituents in global partnerships through prayer. For more information or to register your meeting, visit FUM’s web site: or contact Kim Schull: (765) 962-7573.

Kenya: Partnership to Restore an Historic Friends Mission Building

Emory Rees was a pioneering Friends missionary in Kenya who arrived in 1904 and was responsible for the first translation of the Bible into a local language (Luragoli). He and his wife Deborah lived in Vihiga until 1926 and as part of their translation and literacy work, they built the first Quaker educational building in Kenya.

This historic building, now part of the campus of Vihiga High School in Vihiga Yearly Meeting, is in sore need of restoration. The family, friends and Vermillion Grove Friends Meeting, the home meeting of Emory and Deborah Rees, have partnered with Vihiga Friends to raise the money required to restore the building. The vision for the use of the building is that it will serve as a peace resource center for the school, church and community. It is hoped this building will be a lasting memorial to the legacy of Emory and Deborah Rees.

On 9 October 2013, John Muhanji presented a check for 1.2 million Kenyan shillings (approx $15,000) from Vermillion Grove for the project. The remaining money has been raised by local Friends and construction is ready to begin. Praise God for this successful partnership in celebration of the ministry of Deborah and Emory Rees.

Partnership with Wabash Friends (Indiana) for Discipleship Training in Kenya and Uganda

Several years ago, Wabash Friends Church (Indiana YM) asked the Africa Ministries Office (AMO) to consider a collaborative approach to leadership training in East Africa. Some members of Wabash had worked with Global Disciples to train pastors and evangelists by developing “tent-making” skills as a means to support their ministries. The program with Global Disciples worked so well that Wabash Friends felt this program would work well among East African Friends.

John Muhanji, AMO Director, selected people from eastern Uganda and Mt. Elgon in Kenya to participate as the first cohort to be trained. Both eastern Uganda and Mt. Elgon are more impoverished than the average Friends community in East Africa, and meetings struggle to support their pastors in both locations. In 2012, about a dozen young people attended a three-month training in Kampala and received start-up grants from Wabash to start their own small businesses.

This year, the Wabash team visited again to witness the progress of the first cohort and to provide further training in small-business management. On Mt. Elgon the program participants have planted four new meetings and revived three non-functioning meetings. They also felt the need to reach the Ndorobo ethnic group in the forest of the mountain, as there are no churches of any kind in that region.

Likewise the Ugandan participants have carried out impressive evangelism and revival efforts while supporting themselves by the creation of small businesses. Wabash Friends will continue their collaborative mission work by planning two medical camps on Mt. Elgon that will help serve this needy area.

FUM Triennial Stewards Program

FUM’s North American Ministries Committee announces a new Young Adult Friends Leadership Development Program in conjunction with the upcoming FUM Triennial in June 2014. The Triennial Stewards Program will provide an exciting opportunity for a select group of 18-27 year olds to gather for leadership development, spiritual formation and volunteer service. Stewards will arrive at Indiana Wesleyan University on Monday morning, June 9, and spend several days together before the Triennial begins. The program will end early afternoon on Sunday, June 15. For more information and to apply, contact Terri Johns at or (765) 962-7573. Applications are due April 18 and require a recommendation letter from a pastor/clerk.

Belize Friends School Wins Recycling Award

For the second year in a row, Belize Friends School students have collected more recyclable plastics than any other participating school. The students collected an average of 73.3 pounds per pupil. While larger schools collected more pounds overall, Friends are the clear leaders in student commitment and enthusiasm for this program.