New England Yearly Meeting welcomes Noah Baker Merrill as Yearly Meeting secretary, who began his new service January 1, 2013.
His predecessor Jonathan Vogel-Borne, who has served as NEYM staff for 21 years, will complete his work on January 21.
Noah and his wife Natalie are members of Putney (VT) Monthly Meeting, where Noah was released* for service in the ministry. Noah already has a long history of service, ministry and listening intently to where and what he is being called. Noah has worked for the American Friends Service Committee in Providence, in Philadelphia and in Washington, filling a variety of roles including community organizing, policy advocacy and technology consulting. With Natalie he co-founded and was program director for Direct Aid Iraq, an organization devoted to advocacy and material support for Iraqi refugees.
Noah is a writer, with articles in Friends Journal, Quaker Life, Spirit Rising and other publications. He maintains a web page and blog. And he is a gifted vocal minister, both in unprogrammed worship and in prepared messages. Noah was selected to give the plenary message on behalf of the Section of the Americas at the recent Sixth World Conference of Friends. This fall he’ll be traveling in the ministry supporting Friends World Committee for Consultation’s theme: “Let the Living Waters Flow: Friends Serving God’s Purposes.”
Demonstrating his belief that Quakers hold an untapped power to create positive change, Noah is a founding board member of Quaker Voluntary Service, an organization seeking to orient young adult Friends toward lives committed to service and justice, grounded and sustained by their Quaker faith.
In conversation, Noah displays a remarkable breadth of knowledge including Quaker history and current practice around the world. And he brings a tender sensitivity to the spiritual needs of the individual, the monthly meeting, the quarter, and the Yearly Meeting. He has a remarkable depth of understanding of the issues and the potential of NEYM, and of the role that the Yearly Meeting Secretary plays in these issues.
Most of all, interactions with Noah demonstrate his quiet energy and his sense of connection to the living tradition of Quakerism, past and future, and to the vision that we can make a difference in the world. In Noah’s words: “My small part in this work is encouraging the life of the Spirit among Friends, helping us together ... to live more fully into the promise that if we are faithful, we can be made channels of Love’s life-giving work.”
—Bruce Neumann, on behalf of the Yearly Meeting Secretary Search Committee
Search Committee: Deana Chase, James Grumbach, Dwight Lopes, Wendy Schlotterbeck, Jackie Stillwell, Donn Weinholz, Hannah Zwirner and Bruce Neumann, clerk.
*A Released Friend is one whose leading to carry out a particular ministry has met with approval from a Meeting which then promises to provide such support as would enable the Friend to follow that leading. In Noah’s case, he is released to speak, preach, write, lead workshops, and generally nurture the life of the Spirit.
updated January 14, 2013