December 7-9, 2018, twenty-four Quaker women and genderqueer people with a call to ministry gathered at Stony Point Center, New York to explore and nurture our different ministries. Among those in attendance [from 6 yearly meetings and 19 monthly meetings] were six Friends from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, two of whom had been on the planning committee for the gathering. “At the Well” grew out of the experience of the 2016 Quaker Women in Public Ministry gathering. The intention of the 2018 conference was to create a space to gather again with a wider circle of Quakers in public ministry, including Friends of all marginalized genders.
At the Well aspired to witness to the particularity of callings laid upon participants’ hearts by providing a venue for Spirit to knit together a blessed community of connection, support, mentoring, restoration, and passion. From the epistle, linked below: “As have the many generations of Quaker ministers that have come before us, we gathered for renewal. Coming from many places in the U.S. and Mexico, we arrived parched, excited, discouraged, weary, and hopeful.”
The time together was, as one participant described it, “A time of making vital connections, giving and receiving encouragement, looking at hard truths, and remembering that the Power of the Spirit comes through groups better than through individuals.” The At the Well epistle lifts up the words of Margaret Fell, “We are a people that follow after those things that make for peace, love, and unity,” and we challenge ourselves to truly live into embodying the full meaning of these words, rather than using them to maintain the status quo. Even as we lifted up hard truths about challenges to carrying ministry in the Religious Society of Friends, particularly the impact of racial injustice, we ask: what does love look like in times of conflict?
Read more powerful testimony from the gathering: Epistle of At the Well Gathering, December 2018