FUM General Board Hopes for 40 Days
During roll call at the October meeting of the Friends United Meeting General Board, representatives were asked to state what hopes they had for the 40 Days of Prayer.
Here are some of their responses. Do any of them resonate with your hopes?
• I hope we find how to be the action of God in the world.
• I hope energy and synergy will form around FUM.
• I hope our relationships with and around each other will grow stronger.
• I hope for efficacy with prayer and we change in response.
• I hope we figure out ways to align and move forward together.
• Jesus’ ministry was in hope and healing. May we follow his lead.
• I hope we are together in divine love and we will be prepared to receive.
• I hope we turn inward intentionally and we receive a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit.
• I am hoping for beyond what we can imagine.
• I hope we work together and can support each other in a fresh new way.
• I am hoping to hear other Friends. I can’t wait to hear the insights from Kenya. What is God saying?
• I hope we walk out in deep waters and get away from the safety of the shore.
• I hope for revitalization — not only of FUM but with the organizations within.
• I hope FUM could refocus around a spiritual center of Jesus Christ. All that we need to do comes out of that.
40 Days of Prayer Update
At the time of this writing, FUM’s special program, 40 Days of Prayer, has begun. Staff at both the Richmond, Indiana and Kisumu, Kenya offices has been extremely busy getting the devotional booklet, 40 Days of Prayer for the Future of Friends, into the hands of everyone who requested a copy.
Thousands of people around the world have created small fellowship groups gathering at least once a week centered in the light of God’s presence to listen to both God and one another. Every day each participant is guided through scripture, a devotional, a query and an action step focusing on ways to draw closer to Christ, each other and our work.
Excitement is in the air as participants all over the world are gathered by God to recognize the common Spirit of Christ at work among us, holding us together in the bond of peace.
Chain of Prayer Set Aside
Friends United Meeting will be setting aside the annual Chain of Prayer in the year 2013 due to the continued focus of 40 Days of Prayer and to consider the results gleaned from the Day of Discernment.
However, prayer for FUM, its ministries, meetings and yearly meetings is always encouraged. Without your continual prayer and financial support, FUM could not carry out its mission to equip and energize Friends around the world. Prayer is always welcomed and makes a difference.
Although this annual event has been set aside we do encourage you to continue your prayerful support. To help you, we have updated the Daily Prayer Guide which can be found in our online shopping center.
North American Ministries Committee Statement of Purpose
The North American Ministries Committee, under the direction of the General Board, consists of (a) the superintendent or general secretary of each Friends United Meeting yearly meeting in North America, or another Friend designated by that yearly meeting; (b) three to six at-large members appointed by the Nominating Committee of the General Board; and (c) the General Secretary of Friends United Meeting.
The Committee’s purpose is to:
1. Regularly gather to:
a. Facilitate communication regarding issues affecting yearly meetings’ and monthly meetings’ health and
b. Identify areas or issues where yearly meetings may work cooperatively,
c. Develop methods whereby such cooperative works may be undertaken;
2. Respond to initiatives originating in FUM yearly meetings
a. Gatherings for specialized yearly meeting workers such as superintendents and secretaries, Christian education leaders, youth workers, pastors, clerks, elders, other Friends in various leadership roles, etc.,
b. Coordination of information such as guidelines for recording of ministers, and databases of pastors, Friends available for traveling ministry, etc.,
c. Development of resources and curriculum in areas such as Friends’ testimonies, pastoral leadership,
church growth/health, Quaker business method, evangelism/outreach, religious education, spiritual formation, etc.;
3. Introduce to yearly meetings initiatives for
a. Monthly meeting health and development,
b. Leads for establishing new monthly meetings,
c. Mutual understanding of God’s work in the yearly
4. Help FUM become identifiable at the grassroots level, and, through efforts to name the commonalities that unite Friends, translate that identity into participation and support;
5. Seek to build a unifying and clear expression of the Gospel message among Friends, and to have that Gospel message carried forth; and
6. Report regularly to the General Board.
Approved by FUM General Board/North America, October 5, 2012.
News around FUM
• Montclair Friends Meeting, Montclair, New Jersey — Sunday, October 21, 2012, Montclair Friends Meeting celebrated the 80th anniversary of the cornerstone placement of the meetinghouse. As part of this special day, Montclair Friends Meeting honored the life and legacy of Bayard Rustin by having a book-signing. Michael Long, editor of a collection of 150 letters by Rustin, was the guest speaker. His lecture, The Quaker Roots of Bayard Rustin’s Activism, was inspiring and insightful.
• Leesburg Friends Church, Leesburg, Ohio — Leesburg Friends Church held a celebration of the 100th anniversary of worship. The weekend began with a series of skits written and directed by Carolyn Fitzgerald and Carol Ridgeway. Afterwards everyone joined in a meal of soup and sandwiches served at the church followed by the Quaker movie classic, Friendly Persuasion. The next day, worship was held with special music and John Fitzgerald presented the morning message. After the service attendees fellowshipped and reviewed the history of the church through pictures and historical excerpts from local newspapers.
• West Richmond Friends, Richmond, Indiana, will be offering a new adult Sunday school series about Quaker spiritual journeys. The series will be facilitated by Marcelle Martin who moved to Richmond to make use of the Quaker Collection at Lily Library and to take classes at Earlham School of Religion while she completes a book about early Friends.
Marcelle has found a common journey in the spiritual lives of early Friends. She has noticed ten similar features throughout all of them and developed a ten-week study highlighting them through the writings of early Friends. The ten topics are: Longing, Seeking, Turning Within, Openings, The Refiner’s Fire, Gathered into Community, Leadings of the Spirit, Living in the Cross, Living in Divine Love and Power and Perfection (in One’s Measure).
• Increase the Peace — USFW International is raising $5,000 to help print peace curriculum for 240 Friends Church High Schools and 1200 Friends Primary Schools in Kenya. After the presidential election of 2007, their stable government was hit with political unrest and violence. One suggestion for preventing future violence was to teach peacemaking skills in the schools so that young people could learn peaceful ways to resolve conflicts. The Peace and Christian Social Concerns Committee of IYM in conjunction with IYM USFW would like to increase the peace and challenge IYM churches and USFW groups to double the $5,000 currently being raised from USFWI groups around the world. There are 64 meetings in IYM and if each meeting or USFW group would donate only $78.50 — we could raise $10,000 for printing peace curriculum. Would you consider spending $78.50 to “Increase the Peace in Kenya” this year? Send all donations to IYM USFW treasurer Tish Dain, 190 EMS D17 Ln, Syracuse IN 46567-8091 made out to IYM USFW and marked: Increase the Peace for Kenya.
A Call for Resources to Grow Children’s Programs/VBS
In our efforts to be a resource for meetings/churches we ask you to share your ideas and experiences that have worked. Have you had a great teaching moment? A fantastic, creative VBS? How has your meeting/church reached out to teach God’s message? We want to hear. Email us with your ideas that worked! Don’t forget pictures!
FUM Ministry of the Month
November 2012: Ramallah Friends Girls School
A vision was cast by a 15-year-old girl in Ramallah 143 years ago. Mariam’s dream of a school for her village demanded courage and determination. That spirit and service remains a guiding light for the school and community at large. The Friends Girls Training Home, as it was originally called, educated girls from the entire Middle East who came as boarders to receive an exemplary education. Despite many hardships associated with wars, uprisings and the control of rulers, the school grew and maintained its reputation as a leading Palestinian educational institute throughout the decades.
Today, the Lower School (FGS) serves 751 young boys and girls ages 4-11 from all economic and religious backgrounds and is staffed by over 65 teachers, administrators, counselors and workers. The families of these youngsters are the victims of an oppressive military occupation that left them without basic rights of freedom and self-determination. It is for these reasons our educational program attempts to address the emotional needs of our students by heavily relying on excellent counseling services, problem solving programs, the teaching of ethics and conflict resolution. Our mission continues as Mariam had intended . . . to provide opportunity, hope and dignity to a most vulnerable community and restore the world to what God intended it to be.
We know that our call for prayer, partnership and support is always heard as this over-century-old story of survival and resilience would not have been possible without the faith, compassion and dedication of the people involved.
We ask you to join us in our prayers for our Ramallah Friends Elementary School Community. For specific prayers visit www.fum.org or [see] the November Focus bulletin insert.
An Inspiring Summer in Workcamps
By Brad Ogilvie, William Penn House
Workcamps and yearly meetings provided for a very busy and fulfilling summer. So now, as we catch our breath, there is time for reflection. Sharing in fellowship and service with people from all over the country made for an inward and outward journey full of tales of compassion, hope and faith. Words and pictures cannot begin to tell the stories, but we are refreshed and re-energized. We will work to bring forward the spirit of all that we have experienced as we seek to constantly grow in the ways we can be good stewards in the community.
Every time I am involved in a program of one or more weeks, two things happen:
1. early on, I wonder whether the group is going to gel, and
2. on the fourth day, the community gels.
This past summer was no exception. In West Virginia, South Dakota, and Bucks County PA, I witnessed there is something transformative about getting out of one’s element for a week and spending it with people who share a commitment to a higher value or purpose.
It doesn’t matter whether it is about service, kindness or fellowship; it is the time together breaking bread, working, resting, reflecting, laughing, crying and bearing the elements that matter. It is the conversations around the work, rest and play that matter as our defenses are down and our hearts are softened. The connections seem more open, crossing generations and cultures. We honor each other’s differences because we have been engaging in these deep “spiritual love-fests.”
There is something special that happens within ourselves and with the bonds of relationship that are formed. I see these workcamps as important annual rituals — pilgrimages to the core of what we believe. Like a good exercise regimen, there is no shortcut. Getting out of one’s element and immersing oneself in community recharges the emotional and spiritual batteries, not just for ourselves but for the work in our own community that lies ahead. It is a ritual I strongly recommend.
Quaker Religious Emblem Awards: An opportunity for young Friends to grow deeper in their faith
By Luanne Hagee, Clerk for Friends Committee on Scouting
Take a look at any of the Scout or Guide Promises, they all contain one short three letter word, GOD: to serve God, to love God or duty to God. So what does that really mean and what can you do to help our Scouts and Guides fulfill this part of their promise? That’s easy, with the help of Friends Committee on Scouting (FCS). FCS encourages and promotes the faith, history and testimonies of the Religious Society of Friends through religious education programs for our youth involved in the Scouting/Guiding programs around the world.
In March of 1989, FCS introduced its first Quaker religious curricula for Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Campfire youth in the United States. The youth programs have workbooks that the young Friends work though along with a parent or member of their local Meeting. In 2011 FCS approved the use of these curricula for First Day/Sunday School classes. The US awards are available from P.R.A.Y. (Programs of Religious Activities with Youth)
That of God, is the program for youth in grades 2-5. The program is divided into three sections helping the young Friends learn about themselves, their family and their monthly meeting. The program may be introduced by the parent(s) especially within the context of the local Meeting/Church.
Spirit of Truth, is for those in grades 6-12 and/or Venture Scouts. It is also divided into three parts word, worship and witness. Word looks at the Bible, queries, Faith & Practice/Book of Discipline, famous Quakers, testimonies and the history of Quakers. Worship focuses on the attendance of worship and meeting for business, as well as Quaker worship terms and sacraments. Witness considers Quakerism beyond the local meeting. It highlights Friends in other countries, colleges, cooperation with other faiths, personal responsibility, identifying opportunities for service doing a service project and attending yearly meeting.
The Friends Emblem is for any adult registered in Scouting/Guiding programs. Adults are nominated for the Friends Emblem award. Its purpose is to recognize their outstanding contributions to the spiritual and social development of our young Friends through Quaker programs and the Scouting/Guiding programs.
A few years after the U.S. curriculum was released, a second was introduced for Quaker Scouts and Guides in Canada to be incorporated as a part of their Religion in Life program. This curriculum has Quaker Religious Emblem Awards: An opportunity for young Friends to grow deeper in their faith By Luanne Hagee, Clerk for Friends Committee on Scoutingfour youth levels and one adult level. It is broken down into word, worship and witness. The Friends Emblem award is also available for adult Scouters/Guiders in Canada.
Mid-November of 2010 an email made its way to FCS, requesting religious curricula for our Scouting/Guiding Friends in Jamaica. That request was quickly approved. By January the program was rolled out in our regional gatherings. July 2012 brought the curriculum, Quaker Faith Journey, for all of our Scouting/Guiding young Friends outside of the United States and Canada was released. Like the other programs, it includes four youth levels following the word, worship and witness format. Certificates are available for download on the FCS webpage for those who complete the Quaker Faith Journey program.
So, what’s in it for you and your Meeting? Why that’s simple . . . step-up and help our young Friends grow stronger in their faith and show them what it means to serve God, to love God and do their duty to God!
FCS members, Jim Lehman (Sandy Springs Meeting) and Tim Mullady (Annapolis Meeting), will be serving as Friends Chaplains at the BSA National Scout Jamboree in 2013 along with sev-eral other members of the committee.
FCS is an affiliate of FWCC/Americas, and is an ecumenical Quaker committee drawing representation from all branches of Quakerism. Currently members of the committee represent GSUSA, BSA, Campfire USA, AHG, Girl Guides of Canada, Scouts Canada and Kenyan Scouts. Some of our members also serve as official liaisons with various Scouting/Guiding organizations. Visit our webpage or email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain copies of any of the above curriculums, ask questions or learn how you can become a member.