Sunday, June 5, 2011

Report on Visiting Capitol Hill Friends

“Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.”  Hebrews 13:1.
It was very good to visit our brothers and sisters in Christ at Capitol Hill Friends.  On the evening of Sunday, May 15, I attended their meeting for worship, which began with a potluck meal.  After dinner, we spent time worship sharing in response to a query.  Then we sang a few songs and settled into an hour of waiting worship.  The worship was deep and lively.  I felt led to speak, as did several other Friends.  After worship, we had time for prayer requests.  We spent about three hours together that evening.

I asked my friend Jessica J to come with me as my elder.  Jessica is not a Quaker, but she is my best friend and went with me to Freedom Friends the first time I attended.  As a result of being my friend and following my blog, I think she knows a lot more about traveling ministry than many Friends do!  She was surprised that some at Capitol Hill Friends didn’t know about traditions such as traveling minutes and traveling with an elder.  After worship, when Jessica and I were walking back to the metro, I asked how she was doing, and she said she was surprised by how tired she was.  I said, yes, that’s how eldering is!

On Monday afternoon, I met with four people from Capitol Hill Friends for Opportunities, spending half an hour with each person in worship, prayer, and conversation.  All of the Opportunities were lovely, and they were very different from each other.  It was good practice for me in meeting people where they were, and I think it was a good experience for everyone.  I was especially grateful for the time I spent with Faith K and Micah B and for the chance to see how they are growing in their ministries and in their relationship with God.  After the Opportunities, I shared another meal with Friends.

Many of the things that Friends did at Capitol Hill Friends were similar to our practices at Freedom Friends, but I think their practice of answering a query might interest people in our meeting.  The query Friends discussed the evening I was there was:
How do we bear our testimony that God's creation is good and should be honored? What steps are we taking to reduce our destructive impact on the creation? How are we being called as a church to repent of our materialism and thoughtless consumption that leads to the destruction of countless plant and animal species, as well as untold human suffering? How are we careful to practice good stewardship of the material resources that God has blessed us with, remembering that all the earth is the Lord's and that we are ultimately answerable to God for our actions?
Friends shared their individual responses to the query out of worship.  Micah took notes on the things Friends shared and crafted a corporate response, which he then read back.  Friends planned to share their corporate response to the query with New City Friends in Detroit and receive New City Friends’ response to the same query.

I have been doing more ministry as an elder than as a minister lately and one thing I noticed in doing this work was how much better it felt to be going as a minister than as an elder.  I still had all my usual doubts, but it felt deeply right to be traveling as a minister―it felt like stretching out.  I am grateful to Freedom Friends for sending me out with your blessing and I am grateful to Capitol Hill Friends for their warm welcome and hospitality.

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