Explore the Quaker way: read about the basics of our faith, find answers to common questions and find a Quaker meeting near you.
Living Our Ministry in a Secular World
A weekend facilitated by Marge Abbott and Honor Woodrow
Apparently insignificant gestures, such as not tipping a hat, can have far reaching consequences.is the grand gesture a necessary act of faithfulness and when is it right to be obedient in the small actions of daily life? Friends whose religious faith grounds their work in the world often encounter secular organizations which leave them feeling frustrated or isolated. What might happen if we develop a more ecological orientation to ministry, celebrate the everyday motions, and see how they might grow the strength and the community to sustain a public witness of our faith as it undergirds our work in the world?
We are each called to be faithful, to take up whatever cross is ours to carry. Noticing and attending to God’s call to service that is potentially there for all of us is at the heart of life among Friends. How do we find our base community that helps spread the vision and provide accountability? How do we develop the daily disciplines that aid in sorting through the anger that may surround us and avoiding the isolation that can cut us from our roots? How do we find ways to avoid getting caught up in pressure to be successful in the world’s terms?
We can stand with each other and hear our agonized cries, and we can testify to the sustaining joy that fills our hearts. We can bless each other as we walk together, reminding each other of the flavor of the divine touch that sent us on this path, as we acknowledge the false steps and the helpful learning—the despair and the hope—which have brought us thus far.
Our hope for this weekend is that we might raise up the everyday ways in which our lives are intertwined and knit together in and with Christ’s Spirit. May we better be able to go forth into the world bearing witness to the Inward Guide in ordinary actions as much as in radical proclamation.
Margery Post Abbott has been traveling in the ministry, writing, and facilitating workshops with the support of Multnomah Monthly Meeting, her home Meeting in Portland, Oregon, for over 20 years. Some of her writing has been described as bringing together Friends of different traditions, as in a meeting for worship. She believes we might grow more fully as we engage across our traditions. Marge also carries the concern for how Friends engage with the world and has served as clerk of Friends Committee on National Legislation. She has written several books, including Walk Worthy of Your Calling: Quakers and the Traveling Ministry, and To Be Broken and Tender: A Quaker Theology for Today, which has been used for discussion at Evangelical churches as well as numerous liberal, unprogrammed meetings. Her newest writing, Everyday Prophets, will be released in June 2016 as the Backhouse Lecture for Australia Yearly Meeting. She will be speaking at both Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand Yearly Meetings and visiting widely among Friends in both those nations in 2016.
Honor Woodrow was raised in Framingham (MA) Meeting, where she is now a member. Honor has always felt the importance of listening and of being open to how God might be moving through the experience of another person and to what might be learned from a different way of seeing or experiencing the Truth. Since high school she has traveled among Friends from across the branches of Quakerism, most recently as part of a young adult delegation to Cuba Yearly Meeting. In her work as an early childhood educator she finds great joy in documenting and advocating for children’s competence. In her experience very young children are constantly proclaiming miracles and can remind us of the things we have become too busy to see. Honor blogs about the overlap between her faith and her experiences in the educational system, which many Friends have found moving. She has worked closely with children who have experienced trauma and exhibit “behavioral challenges”, and she carries a deep concern for the ways in which racism, classism, and standardization create a systemic climate that is inhospitable to the wholeness of children, and which blocks us all from living more fully into the Kingdom that God has intended for us.