InfoShare, Summer 2012

N e w   Y o r k   Y e a r l y   M e e t i n g
R e l i g i o u s   S o c i e t y   o f   F r i e n d s
 
InfoShare
 
Volume 11 Summer 2012 Number 4
Editor: Steven Davison

 

Contents


Workshop introducing Quaker Quest

An exploration of Quaker Quest will be held on October 6, 2012 at Poughkeepsie Meeting, 249 Hooker Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603, from 9:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m. Quaker Quest is a dynamic and transformative inreach and outreach process based on the experience that the Quaker way is a spiritual path for our time that is simple, radical, and contemporary. Two people from each NYYM monthly meeting and worship group are invited to attend. If more than two people from a meeting are interested, we will place you on a waiting list and then let you know if we can accommodate you. There is no charge for this workshop. Limited travel assistance is available from the NYYM Advancement Committee. This Quaker Quest workshop will be led by co-leaders from Friends General Conference. To learn more about Quaker Quest visit the FGC Quaker Quest website, www.fgcquaker.org/quakerquest. If you would like to attend please contact the clerk of your meeting or worship group with a copy to the NYYM office at office@nyym.org. We will be in communication with your clerks.

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ARCH — part-tme position available

ARCH (Aging Resources Consultation and Help) is seeking a third coordinator. Two part-time coordinators currently manage the program. A third part-time coordinator will allow the program to increase the services offered and allow redistribution in responsibilities. Communication and computer skills are especially needed. See the Quaker Aging Resources website for a description of ARCH and aging issues. Contact Barbara Spring by email or at 406-544-9476 for the hiring timeline, hourly wage, approximate hours, a complete Job Description for an ARCH Coordinator, and the Special Skills desired in this new position. Travel, evening and extended weekend work is occasionally necessary. Information will be posted on the ARCH page of NYYM's website under Committees/Aging Concerns/ARCH. Deadline for the electronic submission of a resume and letter of interest to Barbara Spring is September 6, 2012.

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Northeastern Christ-centered Friends Gathering&emdash;"At Jesus' Feet

August 17–20, 2012
Charlton, Massachusetts

The Fourth Annual Northeastern Christ-Centered Friends Gathering, for both the committed and the curious, will take place August 17–20 at the Prindle Pond Conference Center, Charlton, MA. This gathering reaffirms our original epistle from our 2009 gathering: “to Friends everywhere, and to all who seek love, joy, hope, and meaning in life” and “Knowing that language and doctrinal notions have caused unnecessary divisions among people of faith, we have no desire to add to these, but simply to stand with Jesus Christ at an open door, where He offers His light and love.” Our second gathering, 2010, called us to “be Living Epistles of Christ” as written in 2 Corinthians 3:2-3. Our third gathering’s statement included: “We joyfully invite each other to continue this experience of our blessed community in Christ, learning and growing together in our faith and practice.”

Fees:

Lodging and Friday dinner thru Monday lunch, $225.00 per person
Tenting and all meals, $150.00 per person
Day attendance only with no meals, $25.00 per person
Children receive a 20% discount on all these prices.
Efforts are being made to help make attendance affordable to anyone who wishes to be present.

For more information contact Herb Lape, Planning Committee clerk: lapeherb@gmail.com. To register for this conference, contact James C. Schultz, Treasurer, 12 South Drive, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY 11779 at broschultz@hotmail.com.

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Speaker Opportunity: African Friends—Trauma Healing, Reconciliation, and Violence Prevention

For more than a dozen years, the African Great Lakes Initiative of Friends Peace Teams (AGLI) has brought programs of peace-building and trauma healing to Burundi, Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. This fall, there is an opportunity to invite AGLI coordinator David Zarembka to speak at your meeting. From September 23 through November 11, David will be in the Northeast for a speaking tour and would welcome invitations from meetings, as well as other organizations that might have an interest in this work. His schedule is still fairly open for most of that time. Possible topics include Kenya Friends Programs to Prevent Election Violence for the March 2013 Election; Peacemaking after Deadly Conflict: Healing and Reconciliation in Rwanda, Burundi, and Kenya; Peace of Africa: Reflections on Life in the Great Lakes Region; and The African Great Lakes Initiative. To invite David to your meeting or for more information, contact him at dave@aglifpt.org with a copy to Dawn Rubbert at dawn@aglifpt.org. For more information about AGLI, including opportunities for individuals and families to participate in work camps in Burundi next June and July, go to aglifpt.org or contact dawn@aglifpt.org.

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Speaker Opportunity: Nick Rozard—Indonesia

Nick Rozard has just returned from living a year in Indonesia and is raring to talk about the experience and what it means to be living in conscience. Nick's calling is basic peace work: connecting people and establishing a research laboratory for water filters. The talks are about why Indonesia is important to peace, conscience, and community. To learn more about this work, go to Friends Peace Teams in Asia West Pacific's website.

You can contact him at 585.808.9172. Please forward this on, and/or suggest other places you would like him to talk! There are two times and locations so far: Buffalo— Sunday 22nd July 12:00 Noon, Network of Religious Communities Building, 1272 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222; and Rochester—Thursday 7th August, 7:15 PM, Rochester Friends Meeting, 84 Scio St, Rochester, NY 14604.

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Witness Coordinating Committee seeks Peace Concerns Coordinator

NYYM Witness Coordinating Committee seeks an individual to serve as Peace Concerns Coordinator. The individual serving in this newly configured position will create an information e-network and serve as that network’s facilitator by receiving e-notifications of monthly meeting activities and forwarding that information to other monthly meetings and peace and social action committees within the YM and to other individuals and groups who may self-identify. From this gathered information, the Peace Concerns Coordinator (PCC) will create and maintain a Yearly Meeting Peace Concerns e-newsletter of all peace and social action activities throughout NYYM listing all Quaker-organized or affiliated peace actions that may be taking place (both one time actions and ongoing work) and including “help wanted” ads for those seeking Friends working on like concerns. The PCC will work with the Yearly Meeting office to identify additional means of distributing the Peace Concerns Newsletter, including Info-share, the Yearly Meeting website, etc. You need not be a current member of the Witness Coordinating Committee. Please contact Mary Eagleson mleagleson@aol.com, 914-328-7943, if you are interested.

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Travel Calendar for Christopher Sammond,
NYYM General Secretary

August 1- September 30, 2012

August
17-20 Co-facilitate Northeastern Christ-centered Friends Gathering, Charlton, MA

September
9 Facilitate Retreat on Discernment in Vocal Ministry, Rahway and Plainfield MM, Plainfield, NJ
15 Attend Farmington-Scipio Regional Meeting Fall Gathering, Orchard Park, NY
16 Visit Collins Monthly Meeting, Collins, NY
21-23 Facilitate Retreat on Spiritual Nurture for Fredonia, Buffalo, Orchard Park and Collins MMs, Orchard Park, NY
29-30 Support Nightingales Singing Weekend, Genoa NY

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Travel Calendar for Gabrielle Savory Bailey,
NYYM Young Adult Friends Secretary

August 1- September 30, 2012

September
7-9 Adirondack Friends Meeting
21-22 Powell House Retreat on Cultivating Ministry in Friends Today
23 Saratoga Friends Meeting
TBD A gathering of All Friends Regional Meeting and New Jersey families with young children, date pending

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Come Sing!

If you love to sing, come join with others who love it too! Nightingales, an a cappella singing group that meets twice a year, will meet the last weekend in September, near Poplar Ridge, NY. It will be a full moon weekend, the harvest moon, so come sing with us around a campfire in a lovely rural setting. You do not have to be a great, or even a good singer to participate. If you can talk, you can sing. Shuttle service from the Syracuse Amtrak station is a possibility. Children are most welcome, though those not wanting to participate in the singing are the responsibility of their parents. Whether you want to camp or stay in a bed, we can accommodate you. Dates: September 28-30. Place: Hannah and Andreas Richter's house, and Poplar Ridge Monthly Meeting. Suggested fee: $10. For more information, contact Buffy Curtis at havehelpinghands@gmail.com, 508-566-6639. To Register: Contact Hannah Richter by email or call 315-364-3784. We need to know how many to plan for, who needs a bed, and what food you plan to share!

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Budget Saturday: October 13, 2012

 

Every meeting is encouraged to send a representative to attend Budget Saturday, at which we will work on discerning the 2013 Yearly Meeting budget. For more information, please contact Sandra Beer, clerk Financial Services, Beer@igc.org or 518-392-1971. ALL ARE WELCOME.

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Unleasing the Power of Your Meeting/Church

Over the course of 2012-13, Friends United Meeting will be hosting four gatherings within our North American Yearly Meetings to equip and enhance the work of Friends on a local meeting/church level. These interactive and community building workshops will provide practical resources for fruitful and faithful Friends meetings/churches.
Workshop options:

  • Discernment and the Ministry of Clerking
  • Training for Treasurers: Understanding and Applying Rightly Ordered Financial Management in the Meeting/Church
  • Conflict Transformation: Turning differences and disagreements into opportunities for growth and change
  • Re-establishing Ourselves as a Culture based in Worship

This Fall, workshops have been planned in Wichita, Kansas, serving the Great Plains and Iowa YM regions, and at Woolman Hill, serving the New England and New York YM regions. Next Spring, the North American Ministries Committee intends to host workshops in northern North Carolina YM, serving that YM and Baltimore YM, and another in Richmond, IN, serving Indiana, Western, and Wilmington YMs. There are also plans to have a consultation gathering Friends engaged in nurturing the spiritual lives of youth and young adults in late spring or early summer.

The following workshop description is FUM’s North American Ministry’s offering for NEYM and NYYM, in collaboration with NEYM’s Ministry and Counsel, their Quaker Studies Program, and Woolman Hill.

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Deepening Worship workshop retreat

Woolman Hill Retreat Center, Deerfield, MA
Friday & Saturday, October 26-27, 2012

Worship is at the heart of all we do as Friends. Come join others in learning ways to enrich our common worship, the lifeblood of our communal faith and practice. This workshop will be experiential and immediate, and will seek to draw Friends into deeper experiences and understandings of our rich practice as Friends. We will look at how we prepare for worship, how we center down, how to open more to each other and to God during worship, and how to practice discerning between vocal ministry and an impetus to speak that comes from within ourselves alone. As preparation for this retreat, Friends are invited and encouraged to engage with the following queries. Whether or not you feel led to work with these queries, you are welcome to participate in the retreat.

  1. What do you do to nurture your spirit? How regular are you in this practice?
  2. If you are attending the retreat, please practice a spiritually nurturing activity for 20 minutes or more each day. If you do not find the time to do so, without judging yourself, notice what was a greater priority. How does the week’s spiritual practice correlate with your experience of worship each Sunday?
  3. How do you prepare for worship on Sunday morning?

The retreat is an offering in the program series CRACKED OPEN: Going Deeper into the Why, What, and How of Our Quaker Practice, offered by New England Yearly Meeting Ministry & Counsel Quaker Studies Program, in partnership with Friends United Meeting North American Ministries.
Cost & registration: $110; $50 nonrefundable deposit. Click to download the information and registration flyer.

 

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Friends United Meeting's Forty Days of Prayer for the Future of Friends

Friends United Meeting is sponsoring a program called Forty Days of Prayer for the Future of Friends, planned for October 10 – November 18, 2012. The last day is a Day of Discernment in which groups throughout the world of FUM will gather "to prayerfully consider the following queries for reflection":

  1. As you consider the FUM purpose statement (“To energize and equip Friends through the power of the Holy Spirit to gather people into fellowships where Jesus Christ is known, loved and obeyed as Teacher and Lord."), how do you see FUM doing this faithfully in the present?
  2. How can FUM better serve as a resource to your local meeting or church? Your yearly meeting?
  3. As you consider all of the needs and opportunities for ministry in the world, where and how do you sense God is calling FUM to be most involved?
  4. FUM's four strategic priorities are: Leadership Development, Communication, Evangelism, and Global Partnership. As you consider each one, how can FUM more faithfully carry out this work?"

The Day of Discernment is to be the last of four components of the 40 Days of Prayer Experience. The other three are:

  1. Twenty minutes of solitude and silence given over to reading a one-page Daily Devotional, reflection on a daily Scripture passage, consideration of a daily query in waiting worship in the light of Christ, and making notes of spiritual openings and understandings that God may bring to one's attention;
  2. Weekly prayer, with fasting suggested, for FUM's partner projects and field staff members (suggested for Saturdays).
  3. Weekly fellowship groups of four to eight Friends (suggested for Sundays) to discuss given themes.

The full text of the 120-page booklet, soon to be available in printed form for $5 a copy (or $2.50 each for bulk orders of 10 or more), should soon be available from FUM. For further description, go to http://www.fum.org/about/40DaysofPrayer_2012.htm.

John Edminster Fifteenth Street Meeting
NYYM representative to the North American FUM General Board

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FGC's Ministry on Racism Program:
Gathering for Friends of Color

 

FGC is sponsoring a Gathering for Friends of Color and their immediate family members

Dates: Friday, November 2–4, 2012 (Friday evening to Sunday mid-day)
Overnight accommodations will be at Pendle Hill, Wallingford, PA
Meals & program will be held at Providence Meetinghouse, Media, PA

This fall FGC’s Ministry on Racism Program is sponsoring an opportunity for Friends of Color and their families on the East Coast to come together to build an incredible multigenerational community through:

  • Mutual support and sharing
  • Worship
  • Exploring our Faith
  • Sharing what brought us to Friends
  • Identifying ways to support each other.

Fees:
Adults Children
    $150 / Adult shared room
    $190 / Adult Single
    $120 / Adult Commuters
Children
    $85 / Under 11 years old
    $50 / Commuters under 11 years old
    $0 / 3 years old or younger

For further information, contact:
Vanessa Julye
Committee for Nurturing Ministries Coordinator
Youth & Ministry on Racism Programs
215-561-1700, ext 3006
ministryonracism@fgcquaker.org
www.fgcquaker.org

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Fall Sessions:
Friday, November 9 through Sunday, November 11 — Somerset, New Jersey

Fall Sessions will be hosted this year by Shrewsbury-Plainfield Half-yearly Meeting. The Sessions themselves will be held at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, just over the southern border of New Brunswick. The speaker on Friday night will be David Zarembka, coordinator of the African Great Lakes Initiative of Friends Peace Teams (AGLI), which has been working to build peace and healing to Burundi, Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda for more than twelve years. See the notice in this InfoShare above. Deadline for sessions registration is [ ].

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Pendle Hill Maintenance and Grounds Intern

Pendle Hill is in a search for a new Maintenance and Grounds Intern who will assist in providing needed repairs to buildings and grounds, planning, and doing routine maintenance, with an eye toward aesthetics and functionality for Pendle Hill visitors. For more information, contact pendlehill.org.

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Pamphlet on Spiritual Care Committees

The Spiritual Care Committee wants you to know that the School of the Spirit has a pamphlet called The Spiritual Care Committee that describes the various types and purposes of care committees and their formation, structure and responsibilities. It also includes advices and queries. The pamphlet is available on line at The School of the Spirit website or may be ordered as a hard copy from: The School of the Spirit Ministry, c/o 1010 Wells St., Durham, NC 27707, or by email info@schoolofthespirit, or by phone at (919) 929-2339.

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Carry on the spirit of the World Conference in Kenya

850 Friends from 112 Yearly Meetings and groups in 51 countries gathered to rejoice in, and were challenged by, their diversity at the recent World Conference of Friends in Kenya! Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) invites Friends to hold local gatherings on the theme that arose from the conference, “Let the Living Water Flow! Friends Serving God’s Purposes.” How do we keep ourselves present and engaged in our communities, while remaining attentive to the still, small voice? How do we witness to the power of God? Do we know, or can we discover, how to be a prophetic people living transformed lives? FWCC supplies the speaker, from another country or region of the US; local Friends provide the venue and hospitality. The gathering can be a weekend, a day, or even an evening. It can be combined with another event. For more information, contact Mike Clark, FWCC Committee clerk by email, or by phone: (518) 794-0569; or contact the FWCC Section of the Americas office at fwccamericas.org (215) 241-7250; leave a message on the answering machine. We will return your calls.

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Myths about ministry

Ministry Coordinating Committee is compiling a list of myths about ministry that will eventually be available as a resource document. If you have any myths you could share, please email them to Anne Pomeroy at apomeroy10@gmail.com. Thanks.

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Christopher Sammond's General Secretary's Report to Summer Sessions 2012: Unleashing the Fire of God

A report of my work over the past year is in the Advance Documents. I hope that you all might read that, and also the reports from the rest of our staff. Reporting on that extensive work would take much more time than we have here today. Our staff works incredibly hard on your behalf and our work represents a substantial portion of our annual budget, so I hope that you would all take the time to make yourself aware of the work we do.

I want to introduce Steve Davison, our newest staff member, our new Communications Director. Steve is actively seeking input as to how we can do a better job of communicating within our community and also communicating our work to the wider world. Please welcome Steve and if you have ideas about our communication, please seek him out.

In holding questions as to what I felt led to share about our condition as a yearly meeting at this time, the following quote rose up in me with considerable force:

Freedom is actually a bigger grace than power. Power is about what you can control. Freedom is about what you can unleash.
~ Harriet Rubin

As I listened, I heard:

  • We are called to be unleashing.
  • We are poised
  • We are pregnant
  • It is time
  • God is straining to be born in us
  • Do we have the courage to open to the Living God?

I also kept hearing an old definition that I learned many years ago in high school physics, one I didn’t even know I had retained, nor anything I had thought about for years, bubbling up repeatedly: Inertia: an object at rest will remain at rest, and an object in motion will remain in motion in a straight line, unless acted upon by some outside force.

I believe we seek to unleash the power of God. To walk in that power, to live in that power, to work through that power.

Our greatest barrier to doing so today is not lack of funds. It is not lack of inspired Friends ready to do the will of God. Our greatest barrier is our attachment to who we have been, how we have “always” done things, how we see ourselves and our structures, physical and institutional, today.

All communities resist change. This can be one of their greatest virtues. It can also be a significant problem.

I want to give some examples of how we resist change, just enough to give you a clear sense of what I am talking about. But I don’t want to dwell there, for my sense is that we are moving out of that place, into one of more fluidity, more faithfulness.

  • A year ago January, at Coordinating Weekend, Friends engaged with the query, How can our Spring, Summer and Fall sessions nurture and inspire the Life and Work in the Spirit of the entire yearly meeting? As Friends responded to this query, there was life, there was energy, there was passion. At the end of the time, the clerk of the Sessions Program Committee said “I think we should throw the “Week at a Glance” (the schedule of our summer session week) out the window, and start fresh.” Yet a month later, when that committee met, it was not clear to do so that year, lacking the time and energy, so it was put off until the next year. I believe that thought was then forgotten.
  • Around five or six years ago, concerned Friends initiated an ice cream social at our summer session for those carrying a concern for our children and youth. 70 Friends showed up, 70. Out of that arose the Task Group on Youth, which worked with energy and passion for two years, listening to Friends across the YM as to what was needed to nurture the youngest members of our community. Their recommendations took years to work their way through a grueling committee process, finally resulting in our Youth Committee. Most of that energy and passion has dissipated. It is now very hard to find Friends to serve on that committee. Recently, the committee asked that its charge be drastically reduced in scope.
  • At the last meeting of the North American Ministries Committee of FUM, the General Secretaries and Superintendents lamented that many of our monthly meetings would rather die than change. This may sound like a harsh assessment, but it was a lament commonly held by those Friends whose job it is to try to nurture life in our meetings. How many times have you witnessed newer Friends’ energy and ideas being met with “We don’t do it that way around here.”? Or just as crushing, “We tried that X number of years ago and it didn’t work.” Yet our newcomers are our best resource for constructive change. They can see with new eyes and think out of the box we unconsciously inhabit.
  • In this yearly meeting, we have had trouble finding funds to nurture our growing edges. We have funded both YFIR and the Young Adult Field Secretary position largely with grants and funds outside the operating budget. In FUM, the General Board saw that all the time, money and energy was going into foreign mission projects, many of which FUM had been supporting for 50 years or so. They were even referred to as “historic mission projects.” We realized that the focus on the historic projects precluded us doing anything new.

How many of you remember Walt Kelly’s comic strip “Pogo?” I think it was Pogo, the lovable possum character, who frequently said “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” The good news is that I see us moving out of our inertia, moving forward in faithfulness, unleashing the power of God working through us. And that is good news, indeed. Some examples from which I take great heart:

  • Over 50 Friends gathered for a consultation put on by the Advancement Committee, seeking to better uphold and support ministries arising in this yearly meeting. Friends there gave the committee eight concrete action items which they felt would better support them in what is being unleashed in and through them.
  • In one meeting I visited recently, a Friend said that the meeting lacked depth for her. That meeting is now being led by that Friend in adult education each week before meeting, and the meeting says that they feel that they are deepening.
  • In another meeting, a Friend acknowledged that as they were doing it, worship really did nothing for her. They have been experimenting with how they do worship, and are finding greater life in that.
  • Another meeting, unprogrammed, has initiated a fifth Sunday multi-generational, semi-programmed meeting for worship, with wonderful results.
  • Several other meetings have drawn great nourishment from the Rex Ambler materials in Experiment with Light.
  • Another meeting has done a scaled back version of Quaker Quest, which has revitalized their meeting, and brought in new people, some of whom have sought membership. Several other meetings have asked a Friend from this meeting to share this program with them, being interested in taking it on, as well.
  • Another meeting did the full Quaker Quest program, with results they are eager to share with the rest of the YM.
  • In another meeting, a Friend yearned for more depth in their worship, and they have done a series of workshops and sessions listening to each other speak frankly about the life of their meeting.
  • Several other meetings have done, or are planning, workshops in deepening their worship and discernment.
  • We have been finding ways to put more of the cost of our YFIR program and the cost of our Young Adult Field Secretary into the operating budget, owning these more and more.
  • We have added a Development Committee to our Yearly Meeting to help better fund the inspiration that is rising up in us.

In the wider Quaker world:

  • 850 Friends from all parts of our tradition met in Kenya and spent days in covered worship.
  • FUM is engaged in restructuring, devolving the “historic mission projects” to yearly meetings and other partners, and creating a viable North American Ministry devoted to nurturing the life of all our monthly meetings.
  • FGC has initiated a program for starting new meetings. FUM is looking at similar work.
  • Northwest Yearly meeting has an annual fund, their “Sowers Fund,” which is primarily devoted to nurturing their growing edges, those parts of the budget that often don’t readily find financial support.

When I was at the world gathering in Kenya, in the same morning, I was asked for resources and help in deepening in worship from two different Friends. The first was an Evangelical Friend from Rwanda. The second was an unprogrammed Friend from central India. I was particularly surprised by the Rwandan Friend, and told him so, saying, “Henri, you all are growing by leaps and bounds. I would think that your worship is vital and alive.” He responded, “It is quite shallow.” He hungered for more.

This is not just about us. This is happening everywhere. The love of God is seeking to open us and pour through us. Can we open to it? Do we dare? If we do, if we are willing to have the Living God, the awesome power of unbridled love, unleashed in and through us? If we are, we must also be willing to change. Joseph Campbell wrote:

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

I believe we can. I believe we are. God, help us.

 

Some Queries:
Where is new life arising? How can we engage with it in such a way as to fan it into flame instead of squelching it?
Change often comes in forms that are unfamiliar to us. Do our institutional structures enhance and give life to what is arising within and through us?

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AVP in the Republic of Georgia
Greta Mickey's blog, Journey to Sakartvelo

Be sure to read the Wider Quaker Fellowship edition of Greta Mickey’s blog, Journey to Sakartvelo, on the www.voicesoffriends.org website. Click on the link to the left or go to “Quaker Thought Today” then “Read the Latest Selections” under “New Publications”. The publication describes how Greta and Shirley Way took Alternatives to Violence Project workshops to Sakartvelo (the former Soviet Republic of Georgia) in 2008.