April E-News: Voices from the Section Meeting

April 2017
Heart-to-heart is not just a tagline.

As with almost any first-time experience, I looked forward to the 2017 Section Meeting of the Americas with a mixture of excitement and apprehension.

I have worked for FWCC Section of the Americas since 2015, but most of the partners I’ve worked with are volunteers scattered across two continents. Our work takes place online and in conference calls, and many times we turn the video off to minimize the bandwidth. So the Section Meeting was the first time I was meeting many of these Friends face-to-face. Would I meet their expectations? Would they have issues that we needed to work through? And would my introverted side get overwhelmed?

In addition, I’d never attended another type of worship. I was interested to hear the singing and plenary speeches, but I didn’t know how I’d get that meditative aspect of meeting that my spirit craves.

The four days I spent in Stony Point were absolutely gratifying as well as spirit-awakening. Many smiling faces and warm hugs greeted me as I extended my hand and said, “I’m Blythe, we’ve emailed/spoken/worked together…” By Sunday my ear for Spanish was tuning up and I even ventured to put a few sentences together. Worshiping with music and guidance from three profound speakers was wonderful.

Perhaps you have attended many Section Meetings, or maybe the 2017 meeting was the first for you, too. I hope you found as much to be excited and exhilarated about as I did, and feel just as rejuvenated to carry FWCC out into the world.

Thank you for taking part in this work of the heart with me.

In friendship,

Blythe Davenport
Coordinator for Communications and Administration

How are you living peace in the world?

by Chuck Kleymeyer, reporting from the Section Meeting

Ruben Clemente Maydana Torres
INELA – Bolivia

Vivo en la paz, descansando en los brazos del Creador…en los brazos de mi Salvador.

I live in peace, resting in the arms of the Creator…In the arms of my Savior.

Cheryl Speir-Phillips
Intermountain Yearly Meeting
New Mexico
I talk and meet and greet everyone I know and those I don’t know. I love people, and I want to know who they are and how they are. Everyone has something they can give. And people really respond to me.

Hablo y conozco y saludo a todos los que conozco y a los que no conozco. Amo a la gente, y quiero saber quiénes son y cómo son. Todo el mundo tiene algo que puede dar. Y la gente realmente responde a mí.

Chuck Kleymeyer
Baltimore Yearly Meeting
I live peace in my life these days, partly by seeking to have compassion for the people who are so angry, the people who hate, the people who are fearful about not having work, about losing their place in our society. If we hear their pain, if we care about them, then peace in our country will be served.

Vivo la paz en mi vida estos días, en parte procurando tener compasión por las personas que están tan enojadas, las personas que odian, las personas que tienen miedo de no tener trabajo, de perder su lugar en nuestra sociedad. Si escuchemos sus dolores, si nos preocupemos por ellos, entonces la paz en nuestro país será servida.

Section Meeting – If you missed it, check our website

Would you like to hear more from the Section Meeting? On our Advance Documents page, you’ll find reports from the Section’s treasurer, the Nominating and Finance Committee, as well as photos and quotes from attendees.

The Traveling Ministry Corps Prepares

by Chuck Schobert, member of the 2016-17 Traveling Ministry Corps

There were seven of us.  Four North Americans and three Bolivians.  Evangelical and unprogrammed worship styles.  Different languages. Cultures. Social attitudes.  We spent just over two full days together learning about each other’s spiritual journey’s, sharing worship “styles”, singing, trading experiences of traveling in the Quaker ministry, the joys and the pitfalls. We were the inaugural “class” of the Traveling Ministry Corps of the Friends World Committee for Consultation, Section of the America’s (FWCC-SOA).  Despite this time together, we all knew the actual training would be in our travels, with God as our teacher.

Clockwise from lower left: Julie Peyton, Northwest Yearly Meeting; Augustina Callejas, National Evangelical Friends Church INELA-Bolivia; Emily Provance, New York Yearly Meeting; Debbie Humphries, New England Yearly Meeting: Estefany Vargas, INELA-Bolivia; Hector Castro, INELA-Bolivia; Chuck Schobert, Northern Yearly Meeting.

Immediately following the training, the biannual Section of the Americas meeting began.  This rich time was chock full of plenary talks, worship, singing, committee work, good food and fellowship.  In the midst of this meeting, the body held a blessing for the seven ministers.  We sat in a ring together in the center of the auditorium, full of Friends in worship.  The Clerk of the Section spoke of sending the ministers off from the “ring of fire” and shared his image that we were embarking in “little boats” to carry out the work God gives us.  At this point, he invited the rest of the Friends, 100 or so, to lay hands on us and asked people approaching the growing circle to continue to lay hands on the people in front of them, forming concentric circles of humans, holding the seven ministers like a woven basket of concentric human circles, holding our little circle of seven in prayer.

The circle of seven ministers surrounded by concentric circles of Friends for the blessing as we are sent out to do God’s work.

To read more about the training, and the blessing that Susan Greenler read to this gathered group of ministers, go to our News page.