Friday, March 29, 2013

Networks of Support

When I travel among Friends, older Friends often comment in surprise that it seems like young adult Friends all know each other.  When they ask why this is, I say a few things: there aren't very many of us, we all tend to go to the same conferences and gatherings, and we have lots of mutual friends.  

But I think the main reason we stay so connected is social media.

When I talk about how important social media is for young adult Friends, I often get blank looks.  "You mean Facebook?"  they say.  "I have a Facebook account.  I don't really use it very much, though."

A few days ago, I had a conversation online that was a perfect example of the type of connection with other young adult Friends I am talking about.

This Sunday, in addition to being Easter, is the fifth Sunday of March.  At Freedom Friends Church, when there is a fifth Sunday, we alternate between having programmed worship and unprogrammed worship rather than our usual semi-programmed worship.  In the programmed worship, we ask someone to bring a prepared message and usually have someone lead special music.

I am scheduled to bring the message this Sunday.  While I am excited about it and I feel led to speak, it also makes me nervous.  It is unusual for anyone to preach at Freedom Friends.  In the nine years the church has been around, this is only the fifth time we have had programmed worship.

On Wednesday, I wrote on Twitter:
Last night, I dreamed that I lost my sermon notes for Sunday and when I got up to preach, I was completely naked. Whatever can it mean?
I wrote it in part because I thought it was funny.   It seemed to me like a classic anxiety dream, the kind where you haven't studied for the test and then you realize you are up in front of the classroom naked.

That afternoon, I got two responses.  The first was from Jon W, saying, 
Don't clothe yourself in plans! Let the Spirit strip you of the safety of notes! Prepare to be a pure, unfiltered channel!
The second was from Greg W, who said,
You are nervous! Relax! Also if God leads you to give another message, be open to that!
Greg also asked, 
Will you have an elder present?  
And I realized that, although my recording committee is going to be there, I had not asked anyone to elder.  I immediately sent an email to a member of the committee, asking if he would be willing to ground the space and hold the message in prayer.

In this brief, online conversation, fellow ministers who live in different cities reminded me of two important things: faithfulness in delivering the message and asking for the support I need.  I am grateful to them for their responses, and grateful for the ways that interactions on social media provide support and accountability for me in my ministry.

I wrote this article for an application to a scholarship sponsored by

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Seminary Update

Yesterday morning, I sent in my acceptance to Candler School of Theology, letting them know that I will be enrolling in their Master of Divinity program in the fall.  After visiting all of the schools I was considering, Candler was the clear choice for me.  I am excited about both the school and the community of Friends in Atlanta.  Thank you to all of you who were holding me in prayer during this time of discernment.  I could write more, but I'm still pretty jet-lagged, so I think I'll just post some pictures of where I will be in August!

The entrance to Emory University

The theology library

Christina R, one of my wonderful hosts, giving me an unofficial tour

Outside the chapel

Inside the chapel

Inside the chapel

The theology library

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Convergent Friends: Worship and Conversation 
FGC Gathering, June 30 - July 6, 2013
 University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO
2013 Theme: At the Growing Edges of our Faith

Workshop Number: 9 
Who may register?: Open to All (adult & high school) 
Worship/Worship-Sharing: 40% 
Lecture: 5% 
Discussion: 25% 
Experiential Activities: 30% 

“Convergent Friends” describes a movement of Quakers coming together across the branches of Friends to discover the best of our tradition. We will explore different kinds of worship and share how God is at work in our lives. Come prepared to be changed by the Spirit present among us. 

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19. 

Where is the life in the Religious Society of Friends? How does truth prosper among us? How can we engage one another across our differences? Each day, we will engage in different kinds of worship, including semi-programmed worship with singing and vocal prayer, extended open worship, and worship-sharing. We will spend time sharing the names we use to describe the Divine, and why those words are meaningful for us. We will also share stories about our experiences encountering different kinds of Friends, and how we saw the Spirit through them. One day, we will focus on different kinds of prayer, and walk through an interactive Stations of the Lord’s Prayer together. We will also explore Bible reading in the Conservative Friends tradition. Be ready to speak from your own experience and listen deeply. There will be time for sharing in small groups, art, music, and laughter. 

Everyone is welcome. 

Please Bring: 
A Bible (any translation) 
Any art supplies you would like to share 

Required Reading: 
Acts 2 
Eight Questions on Convergent Friends: An Interview with Robin Mohr 

Recommended Reading: 
A Testament of Devotion, by Thomas R. Kelly 
Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, by Anne Lamott 
Essays on the Quaker Vision of Gospel Order, by Lloyd Lee Wilson 

About the leaders: 
Ashley W is a member of Freedom Friends Church in Salem, Oregon and a graduate of the School of the Spirit Ministry's program On Being a Spiritual Nurturer, class of 2011. Ashley served as clerk of Freedom Friends in 2011-12 and was co-clerk of the planning committee for the 2010 Pacific Northwest Quaker Women’s Theology Conference. She first developed parts of this workshop while traveling with other ministers to visit meetings, churches, and yearly meetings in the Pacific Northwest. She then presented it as a three-day thread group at the Sixth World Conference of Friends in Kenya. Ashley has traveled in the ministry as a minister and an elder and carries a concern for supporting ministers in the Religious Society of Friends. Her writing has been published in Western Friend, Friends Journal, various Quaker anthologies, and on her blog, 

Aimee M will be serving as an elder for Ashley during the workshop. Aimee grew up in Oregon attending Quaker churches in Northwest Yearly Meeting. She moved to Washington state, met her husband-to-be at FGC in Tacoma, and then moved to Minnesota where she attends two different Northern Yearly Meeting meetings. She has been involved with Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) for several years and was thrilled to attend the recent World Conference in Kenya, where she served on the Pastoral Care committee.

Click here to see the workshop description on the FGC website.
Registration opens on April 3.