We are excited to report that the Quaker Life Council approved investing nearly forty thousand dollars over two fiscal years to raise up a momentous new program called Resource Friends. Resource Friends help our community be healthy and thrive, by providing expert support in areas of need in our monthly meetings and on the yearly meeting level. They are the Friends who have a diverse variety of gifts and tremendous knowledge base from which the community may benefit.
Resource Friends will be organized into Practice Areas, which bring together Friends with gifts in particular areas of focus within our Faith and Practice. We will launch four Practice Areas in the next two years. Coming in early 2018, there will be Practice Areas in Social Justice and Pastoral Care. Then in early 2019, we will launch Practice Areas in Youth Work & Religious Education and Young Adult Support. Resources Friends will be available to monthly and quarterly meetings and other local Quaker communities to help them achieve their goals, strengthen community, and go farther along the path of living out their corporate ministry. Meetings will be invited to pay Resource Friends modest honoraria for their services.
Through regular gatherings and trainings, Resource Friends will cultivate supportive community amongst themselves and a shared approach to make their work sustainable and effective. We are currently beginning a process of recruiting Resource Friends. See the sections below that explain more about the Social Justice and Pastoral Care Practice Areas, especially with regard to what folks who might want to become a Resource Friend can expect.
The Social Justice Practice Area
Quaker testimony calls us to struggle for a world where the light of God in everyone can flourish, free of any barriers and systems of oppression. Friends continue to adapt to the ways in which we engage with our values to affirm that of God in everyone.
We have been meeting and learning from Friends, organizers, trainers, and social justice activists over the last six months in order to create an intensive spiritual organizing training to develop the leadership and skills of traveling ministers in our Resource Friends Social Justice practice area. We expect the program to start in September or October and consist of 7-10 days of training over 6-8 months.
We are in the final stages of sorting out dates and logistics, and will have an application and more information about the details of the training in the middle of July. If you or someone you know is interested in participating in this program, or if you just want to stay in the loop as things unfold, you can sign up to receive more information once it becomes available here:
The Pastoral Care Practice Area
Through teaching ministry, PYM Resource Friends in Pastoral Care offer information, tools and spirit-led experiential strategies to facilitate the on-going revival of our tradition, preparing it for the future by presenting the fundamentals of Quaker faith and practice and community care in clear and accessible ways.
A core group of experienced Friends are convening over the summer and fall to design a module that Resource Friends in Pastoral Care can use to form a cohesive approach. In early 2018, there will be a gathering of Friends interested in becoming a Resource Friend in Pastoral Care to engage with and finalize the module together. Drawing from the institutional memory of our former Meeting Enrichment Services, the Resource Friends Practice Area in Pastoral Care will build intentional spiritual community among the Resource Friends so their work is sustainable.
Friends interested in finding out more about this Practice Area can reach out to George Schaefar at firstname.lastname@example.org.