In a departure from the tradition of holding an annual meeting in March, the Section of the Americas offered four open consultations between February and April 2014. Continuing with the theme “Let the Living Water Flow! Friends serving God’s purposes“, all four conferences offered workshops for Friends to develop our intercultural communication skills for intra-Quaker dialogue and our everyday lives, and for supporting Quaker leadership in the 21st century. All four consultations were weekend-long, residential conferences that included worship, plenary addresses and small group discussion in addition to workshops. Each consultation also featured intervisitation by Friends from outside the area and country.
These consulations helped Friends to:
- learn new skills from one another to sustain and grow our meetings
- affirm our mutual Quaker identity
- consider the future of Friends as a whole over the next century
- commit to practices to foster a thriving Religious Society of Friends.
Follow through on your workshop experience:
- Learn more about Conflict Transformation at New York Yearly Meeting’s website.
- Donate to the North Carolina Friends Emergency Materials Assistance Program by sending a check payable to “FEMAP” c/o Becke Jones, 600 Gateway Ave, High Point, NC 27262
February 21-23 in San Ignacio, El Salvador
Location: Quintas de Compostela Conference & Retreat Center
March 14-16 in Sacramento, California
Location: Friends Community Church Sacramento
March 28-30 in La Paz, Bolivia
April 11-13 in High Point, North Carolina
Location: High Point Friends Meeting
Esteban Ajnota is a pastor in the National Evangelical Friends Church of Bolivia. He works as a family therapist, counseling, guiding and promoting family and couples health, and restoring families. He is an international speaker on family and marriage, church leadership and ministry. He is founder of the ministry of Counseling, Guidance and Family Assistance, known by as COAF-FAMILY in Spanish. He is the author of A real marriage is not found, it’s made. He has doctoral studies in ecclesiastic law and Christian Family Psychology. He is nationally accredited as a Christian counselor by the American Society of Family Counseling in Houston, Texas.
Dr. David C. Byrne is the director of the Coalition for Hispanic Ministries that is dedicated to advance Hispanic ministries in North America – especially among Friends. He has worked as a youth pastor and senior pastor at churches in the U.S. and as a missionary in Mexico City with EFM (Evangelical Friends Mission). He is also the founder and director of the “Instituto ALMA” leadership training institute that works to equip pastors and leaders through internet courses.
Robin Mohr serves as the Executive Secretary for the Section of the Americas of the Friends World Committee for Consultation. She is also a writer, minister, wife, and mother. She writes frequently on her blog: What Canst Thou Say?. She coined the term “convergent Friends” in late 2005 to describe a movement of the Holy Spirit among Friends across divides of theology, geography, and age. In May 2013, she led a series of workshops in Central America on the Living Water theme, connecting the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well with stories of Quaker women in history and our own stories of service to God. She recently transferred her membership to Green Street Monthly Meeting in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting from San Francisco Monthly Meeting in Pacific Yearly Meeting.
Mark & Tim Almquist
Tim Almquist (on the left) is currently a Junior at George Fox University in Newberg, OR and is pursuing a degree in Biblical Studies with a minor in Quaker Studies. Tim has grown up in the Northwest Yearly Meeting and has been in various roles of leadership including High School Presiding Clerk, Twin Rocks Summer Staff (2013) and facilitating worship for youth camps, serve trips and other church services. He is currently a student chaplain at George Fox and participates in regular worship with West Chehalem Friends Church in the rural hills outside of Newberg.
Mark Almquist (on the right) is currently a Junior at George Fox University in Newberg, OR studying Biblical Studies and Philosophy. In the summer of 2013, he was one of two interns with Northwest Yearly Meeting directing youth camps, and the annual youth sessions. Mark recently spent a semester (fall 2013) studying abroad in Regensburg, Germany with AMBEX (American-Bavarian Exchange), focused primarily on Reformation history and theology as well as European art, literature and other cultural components of Europe.
Alan serves God’s Kingdom as a catalytic and creative leader. He spent several years as a missionary/church planter in Central America and as a pastor on the Yorba Linda Friends Church ministry team. His current role, as the Director of Multiplying Ministry for the Friends churches here in the Southwest, allows him to use his God-given strengths to challenge, equip, and deploy church planters and missionaries. Alan and his wife, Barbara, live in Placentia and have four children: Andrea (and her husband, Scott), Aaron (and his wife, Melissa), Kirsten (and her husband, Jordan), and Stephanie (and her husband, Chad).
Kelly was raised as a son of Quaker missionaries in the central African country of Burundi. He is a graduate of Friends University and Asbury Theological Seminary. He served pastorates in Mid-America Yearly Meeting and Iowa Yearly Meeting. Currently, Kelly is the pastoral minister of High Point Friends Meeting in North Carolina Yearly Meeting-FUM. In addition, he serves the wider community of Friends as a member of the executive committees of FUM and FWCC-SOA. This year Kelly and his wife, Kathy, will celebrate their twenty-second anniversary. He is a master of two dogs; he enjoys reading, traveling, photography, and woodworking; he is blessed with a loving family and wonderful friends.
Tyla Healton co-pastors with her husband, Jim Healton at Sacramento Friends Church in the Evangelical Friends Church Southwest YM and works as a Nurse Practitioner in an acute care clinic. Tyla has served on the Elder Board for EFCSW and has served on several medical mission teams primarily in Central America. Tyla and her husband have two sons, Adam and Mark (and his wife, Julie) and one grandson, Nolan.
Kylin Navarro works for a non-profit organization in the Bay Area. As a youth, she was active in Ben Lomond Quaker Center’s Service Camps and credits them for lighting her fire for service work. In 2008, Kylin participated in the FWCC Quaker Youth Pilgrimage to the UK. She has served on several Friends committees including, most recently, FGC’s Conference Visioning Committee and a CPQM teen discernment sub-committee. Kylin is currently co-clerk of the Pacific YM Young Adult Friends group.
Alyssa Nelson (Davis MM, Pacific YM) works as the Youth Program Coordinator for PYM. Alyssa has over 20 years’ experience in youth and community development, and holds academic degrees in Religion, Experiential Education, and Geography. She has participated in the AFSC Mexico Summer Service Project and the World Gathering of Young Friends, served as an FWCC Representative, and volunteered in the Peace Corps.
Nancy Thomas is a member of Northwest Yearly Meeting. She graduated from George Fox University, and received her graduate degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. Nancy and her husband Hal have served regularly since 1972 as Friends missionaries in Latin America. Currently they are coordinating a five-year project between NWYM and the Bolivian Friends Church (INELA) to research and write the history of this yearly meeting as it approaches its centennial celebration. She is an accomplished poet and writer, as well as a teacher. You can read her blog “Mil Gracias”. Nancy and Hal are parents of two adult children and seven grandchildren.
Manuel Coronado & Ruth Bueso de Coronado
Manuel de Jesús Coronado is the pastor of the Ambassador Friends Evangelical Church in Chiquimula, Guatemala. Manuel and his wife Ruth Maribel Bueso have served as leaders here for the past seven years. As a student at the Evangelical Friends School of the National Friends Church of Guatemala, he found Christ in 1996. At 19, Manuel felt God’s call to full-time ministry and trained at the Berea Friends Theological Seminary in Chiquimula in pastoral studies and as professor of theology. His first pastoral role was at a Friends Church in the village of El Salitrón in the department of Chiquimula. Manuel has a university degree in Secondary School Teaching and Educational Administration. Ruth heard Jesus’ call at the age of 18. In 2011 she finished her studies in Theology and Pastoral Training at the SEMILLA Latin American Anabaptist Seminary and, like her husband, has a university degree in Secondary School Teaching, specializing in Math and Physics. Ruth and Manuel have two children, Adrien Obed and Manuel Andres, ages 8 and 10.
Simon C. Lamb is a member of Richhill Preparative Meeting, where he is now an elder. SimonLHe runs a bakery. Growing up in the Evangelical unprogrammed tradition of Ulster Friends has deeply influenced Simon’s faith over the years. Throughout his adult life, Simon has also been deeply involved with Friends internationally. He was clerk of the European committee of the World Gathering of Young Friends in 1985. He has given the Yearly Meeting lectures in Finland, Central and Southern Africa, and Ireland, and in 2000 he gave the keynote address at the FWCC Triennial in New Hampshire. A member of FWCC’s Central Executive Committee, Simon serves as assistant clerk of FWCC and clerk of the International Planning Committee for the 2016 International Representatives Meeting of FWCC.
As the Associate Secretary in FWCC’s Americas Section since 2002, Louise has visited Friends’ groups in North, Central and South America, promoting FWCC’s capacity to offer space for dialog between Friends with different theological practices and perspectives, and the organization’s value to the Religious Society of Friends as a whole. She feels Quakers today have an opportunity to express a unified voice on the global challenges that impede just and sustainable living everywhere Friends are found. Louise recently completed graduate-level studies in environmental and sustainability policy and management. Her connections to Latin America span her entire adult life; in addition to travel on behalf of FWCC she was a twelve-year resident of Mexico. She is the Assistant Clerk of the International Planning Committee for the 2016 FWCC International Representatives Meeting planned for Arequipa, Peru, a volunteer role. Louise is the mother of three adult children.
Lisa Graustein is blessed with gifts in youth ministry and has worked as the Young Friends Coordinator for NEYM and for over thirteen years as a middle and high school teacher in Boston. She also offers workshops on a range of diversity issues and is a trainer with the Beyond Diversity 101 program. Lisa has lived, worked and traveled in several other countries and still finds the cultural mix of her neighborhood fascinating, complicated, and awesome.
Debbie Humphries carries a concern for the strength and vitality of the Religious Society of Friends. Since 2004, she has been traveling among Friends with a travel minute from her monthly meeting, endorsed by New England Yearly Meeting. Through the experience of visiting meetings Debbie has had the opportunity to learn from Friends and meeting, and to reflect on the challenges facing Quakers today. Debbie has worked and lived cross-culturally, and also carries a concern for the need in our world today to listen deeply to hear the integrity and truth of one another.
Keenan came to Quakerism after the events of September 11th, 2001. After attending the Woolman Semester, and graduating high school in California, he attended Pendle Hill as a resident student. In 2010 he began at Guilford College where he has served as a clerk in the Quaker Leadership Scholars Program and directed a teen camp.
Dora Esther Torrez Medrano
Dora Esther Torrez Medrano is a member of the Bolivian Union Friends Yearly Meeting. She was raised in a Christian environment, as her father and grandfather were both pastors. She felt God’s call at the age of 12 and began to teach children. At 17 she studied intermediary level Theology in the Holiness Mission’s Biblical Institute. She went on to study upper level Theology and is currently pursuing university level studies in Theology at the Guatemala World Vision Seminary, San Pablo Campus. In 2012-13 she worked as pastor in the “16th of July” Monthly Meeting in El Alto, La Paz. She currently works as the Secretary of Education in the yearly meeting. Dora Esther has studied Nursing as well, as is also now pursuing an Accounting degree. In 2011 she served as the Recording Clerk for the Organizing Committee of the 1st International Friends Youth Conference of Evangelical Friends Church International. In April 2012 she participated in the 6th World Conference of Friends in Kenya, where she was one of the leaders of the Latin American worship team, and that same year she became part of the Quaker Youth Pilgrimage Program Group, a program of the Friends World Committee for Consultations, which will take place beginning mid-July 2014 for the first time in Bolivia and Peru.
Ashley M. Wilcox is a member and recorded minister 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. She is currently living in Atlanta, Georgia, where she worships with Friends in Atlanta Friends Meeting and is working toward a Master of Divinity at Candler School of Theology. Ashley has traveled in the ministry as a minister and an elder and carries a concern for supporting leaders in the Religious Society of Friends. Her writing has been published in Western Friend, Friends Journal, various Quaker anthologies, and on her blog.
Every generation of Friends has to rediscover the purpose and the strengths of the Religious Society of Friends for themselves and in their own time. Without this renewal, the unique combination of individual faithfulness and social gospel that is the heart of the Quaker movement will risk being lost.
Co-clerks for planning the consultations were: Dorothy Grannell (New England YM); Karen Gregorio de Calderon (Guatemala Holiness YM) and Daniel Limachi Mendoza (National Evangelical Friends Church of Bolivia).