". . . the signals we give―yes or no, or maybe―
should be clear; the darkness around us is deep."
William Stafford, A Ritual to Read to Each Other
In a few weeks, I will be bringing a message during one of the plenaries at the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference. I am very fortunate to have Ann S as my elder for this talk. Ann was on my support committee for three years and has served as my elder in the past; we know each other quite well.
Still, each ministry is different, and I had to spend some time thinking about what kind of eldering would be helpful for me this time. Over the weekend, I sent Ann the following email:
Here is what I have in mind for eldering: I would like to meet for worship at some point before the plenary (preferably that morning, but the night before would be okay if that works better). I would like you to sit near me when I speak and hold me in prayer. During the break, I would like you to make sure I am eating a snack and drinking water, and, if possible, keep people away from me. After the plenary is over, I would like to walk with you to lunch (you don't have to eat with me, just make sure I get there!). And, finally, I would like to get together at some point later that day to debrief about the plenary.
- Elders, what do you do to prepare for ministry? What kinds of things are helpful to know from the minister in advance?
- Ministers, what do you ask your elders to do? What have they done that has been especially helpful?