On Journal articles and youthe-full traveling

I just read a great arti­cle in the March _Friends Journal_ by Chip Thomas, “Shake before Open­ing” (Unfor­tu­nate­ly the _Journal_ only puts select­ed arti­cles online and that’s not one of the two that will be fea­tured this month, so no link).
My Friend James Chang trav­eled with Chip this First Day to my old haunt, Cen­tral Philadel­phia Month­ly Meet­ing. “Here’s his abbre­vi­at­ed account of the visit”:http://curiouspenn.blogspot.com/2005/02/todays-visit.html. In light of next month’s FGC “Youth Min­istries” retreat, it should be of note that Chip felt com­fort­able ask­ing a twenty-something col­lege stu­dent he had just met to be his trav­el­ing com­pan­ion. None of the peo­ple I know who have trav­eled under the “FGC Trav­el­ing Min­istries Program”:www.FGCQuaker.org/traveling have been of near­ly so ten­der an age. His­tor­i­cal­ly many of the most impor­tant min­is­ters and lead­ers in the Reli­gious Soci­ety of Friends were first led to min­is­ter in their twen­ties and were men­tored in this by a rich com­mu­ni­ty and spelled-out structure.

  • Jef­frey Hipp

    I’ve been asked, on a num­ber of occa­sions, to trav­el in the min­istry with the field sec­re­tary of our year­ly meet­ing. It’s always been an intim­i­dat­ing offer for me to accept — after all, I’m a 20-something con­vinced Friend who con­sid­ers this man to be MY elder, not the oth­er way around.
    On the sur­face lev­el, it’s a bit awk­ward, espe­cial­ly because on the one occa­sion, I was asked to join him on the -fac­ing bench- of a semi-programmed meet­ing. But the expe­ri­ence of hold­ing him in prayer as he rose to speak was affirm­ing, ground­ing, and incred­i­bly invalu­able for my own ministry.
    [shame­less plug] And by the way, he will be one of the ple­nary speak­ers for the FGC Gath­er­ing this sum­mer — Jonathan Vogel-Borne. [/shameless plug]

  • Mar­tin, this is so inspiring.
    There’s so much syn­chronic­i­ty. In the new­ly formed 15th Street YAF wor­ship group, the one min­istry our tiny gath­er­ing has felt uni­form­ly called to is trav­el­ling and vis­it­ing. At last Quar­ter­ly meet­ing Ryan (http://​snor​kel​ing​light​.com)and I were both moved by appeals from sev­er­al of the small­er month­ly meeint­gs (some of them appar­ent­ly down to three or four reg­u­lar member/attenders) for fel­low­ship and sup­port. We have no mod­el for what this might entail aside from going to them and wor­ship­ing with them, per­haps rotat­ing between these meet­ings, one First Day out of each month. I have been look­ing for con­tem­po­rary accounts of “trav­el­ling min­istry” — what I have read on the sub­ject is all his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive on the estab­lish­ment of the Soci­ety. I cer­tain­ly don’t feel called to trav­el and preach to them, nor have I been giv­en any press­ing mes­sage which I must deliv­er and share — we sim­ply feel a uni­fied call to be with them and show them some good ol’ Friend­ly Love.
    Any­how, I’m glad to hear of oth­er youngling com­pan­ions set­ting off on these sorts of mini-missions.

  • Hi Jef­frey: yes, I’ve been glad to hear of your expe­ri­ence. There seems to be a grow­ing aware­ness of twenty-something Friends – fun­ny that it’s in the role of Elder and not of Min­is­ter. I do hope the world soon gets to hear the min­istry of both you and James too. There’s a good chance that James will move to New Eng­land this fall (he’s already cor­re­spond­ed with Jonathan Vogel-Borne) and I’d love to intro­duce you two.
    Aman­da: that sounds like great work. Yes, some­times just vis­it­ing and wor­ship­ping can be the most pow­er­ful preach­ing one can do! There are a lot of new trav­el­ing min­istry resources. The FGC Trav­el­ing Min­istries page has some good mate­r­i­al and the FGC Quak­er Library page on Min­istry has even more. There’s some old­er mate­r­i­al on the Fos­ter­ing Vital Friends Meet­ings resources. There’s also a brand new book called Walk Wor­thy of Your Call­ing, which I haven’t read yet but which has lots of inter­est­ing contributors.
    You can also come to the Gath­er­ing work­shop of course! (There’s var­i­ous par­tial schol­ar­ships avail­able to help defray the costs).

  • How excit­ing! Hooray for 20-something Friends to be ask­ing these ques­tions, seek­ing the Spir­it among one anoth­er, and so on. As for Amanda’s con­cern about not hav­ing a mod­el for vis­it­ing with oth­ers, I wish to say: Be faith­ful. Seek only for the step that is direct­ly in front of you and the rest will take care of itself. …If you feel led to go, go. If you feel led to speak, speak. If you feel led to lis­ten, lis­ten. All shall be well.
    And, to echo some of what Mar­tin speaks to, I am thrilled that FGC is begin­ning the work of dis­cern­ing how to include the voic­es and min­istry of young adult Friends.

  • Hi,
    Mar­tin once rec­om­mend­ed some col­lect­ed essays by Lloyd Lee Wil­son to me. The title is called “Quak­er Vision of Gospel Order.” There’s a very detailed chap­ter on trav­el­ling min­istry. I read it right before I met Chip Thomas for the first time, and it has been of great help to me.
    And I agree with Liz in that the only thing the Min­is­ter should care is his/her own faith­ful­ness. Be faith­ful that some­thing divine­ly good is going to hap­pen and your min­istry will be a fruit­ful one (regard­less of whether you speak in the meet­ing or not.)