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FUM News in Brief – July/August 2013

FUM North American Ministries Offers Clerking Workshop

“Decision-making in the manner of Friends is a spiritual process rooted in the belief that God is present and available to the meeting through each of its members … [T]he meeting invites and relies on the guidance of the spirit. Decisions are identified by the unity of the meeting. The person who presides, with the responsibility for facilitating this process, is the clerk.”

This statement opened Friends United Meeting’s two-day North American Ministry workshop leadership training series, “Clerking: Serving the Community with Joy and Confidence,” facilitated by Arthur Larabee. Held at FUM’s Richmond, Indiana, office, the workshop explored such topics as: the basis of a Friends’ Meeting for Business; the roles of the clerk, committees, and of others present at such a meeting; the Quaker decision making process; and the conduct of the meeting. Practical tips and advices were offered, and Friends departed encouraged and more well equipped to be effective clerks.

African Great Lakes Initiative Leaders Share About Peace Work

David Zarembka, Africa Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) Coordinator, and Florence Ntakarutimana, Healing and Rebuilding Our Community (HROC) Brundi Program Manager, provided an evening of inspiration, insight and news concerning violence prevention in the months prior to the March 2013 Kenyan elections.

Their work involved training citizen reporters, creating a call-in center and civic education on the constitution and voting process. They related the election-day experience of a young woman who had been trained in their Alternatives to Violence Program. Standing in a long line awaiting the polling place opening, she observed the expectant voters grow tense and angry, fearful that they would be denied the opportunity to cast their ballots. She contacted the call-in center and learned that the election materials had been delayed, but were on the way and she informed the people that they would be able to vote if they would just, “Give the process time to work.” Her calming reassurance prevented an outbreak of violence.

Update from North Carolina Yearly Meeting

Deep River Quarterly Meeting of North Carolina Yearly Meeting approved a six-month initiative called CONNECTIONS: Connecting Friends to Each Other and the World. Its mission focus is to invite Friends across the quarterly meeting to learn about and pray for specific missions. (See sidebar.) In addition, Friends are requested to support the current mission focus in two ways: 1) Quarterly
Collections: Friends, young and old, are urged to save and donate their quarters at a small CONNECTIONS center set-up in the meeting house, and 2) special CONNECTIONS Offerings to be held during the six-month period.

Additionally, bonds between Friends within the quarterly meeting will be strengthened through several social events providing an opportunity to learn about each other and to receive mission updates. At this gathering an offering will be held for the missions.