Nikki Mosgrove is an active Member of Trenton Monthly Meeting who serves on the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Administrative Council. Additionally, she serves as Trustee for both the Friends Foundation for Aging and the School of the Spirit Quaker Ministry. A grants professional, Nikki is a public servant in the truest sense of the word. She devotes her grant writing and grants management expertise to securing and tracking funding for the City of Trenton.
There is both energy and faith within Nikki that feeds a rich inner life and spiritual vocation beyond work. This led her to found Nia Ministries, Inc. which connects people closer to God and a life of purpose in service to others.
In Kiswahili, Nia means “purpose” and to make our collective vocation the building of our community. Nikki has compelling ideas about how Friends can address our world’s faults, possibilities, and blessings. Her ideas are pragmatic and direct; invest in the local community. They are also centered in the heart’s truth; don’t look for people to knock on your door – go out and meet people.
This conversation with Nikki, and her opening Annual Sessions keynote on July 28, shares some of the faith-led purpose that makes Nikki such a compelling and beloved member of our Quaker Community.
You are bringing fresh ministry to Quakers in generative ways. Can you talk about how that ministry first grew in you and where you hope to take it in others?
I have a leading to travel virtually and in-person to provide educational and spiritual guidance/training to Friends and offer seminars like Quakerism 101: a Worldwide Perspective; Women Speaking Justified 2.0; Black People in the Bible: a Historical Perspective and Living Quaker Testimonies in the World.
It has taken me several years to actually listen and accept my calling to ministry but I can now say that I am here and I am faithful to where it leads me.
You are a person who approaches others with warmth, faith, spirit all at once. With so much love, you bring frank and honest conversations on race to Friends in your ministry. Where are we today in 2021; what do Friends need to most address in their lives and their meetings in the coming year?
What we need most is faithful and expectant worship that invites Spirit to guide us and place us where we are needed most! We need to get out of our own heads and truly believe that we can collectively discern a way forward to make positive change in a world that needs our love and faith through action.
As Friends, we must gather the courage to do what is required of us to uproot injustice and root justice especially as it pertains to people of African descent in this country and beyond.
In your own life and academic experiences—from Northfield Mount Hermon boarding school, to Boston College, and an MA in Counseling from Seton Hall University—what truths would you say have come of learning; vs. those truths that came of experience? Which is more powerful?
At every level, my formal education has always been rooted in service to others. I was incredibly fortunate to receive a “top-notch” education from prestigious institutions that expected us to go into the world and be the Light! (In my opinion, education and service are inseparable.)
As Quakers, we are by nature seekers, but as Quakers, we are also practitioners of a faith envisioned by some who lived long ago. How do you internalize past and present? How do you take the old wisdoms and make them both relevant and liberating in 2021?
I approach and interpret the Religious Society of Friends as a Black woman that believes that there is that of God in all of us! I don’t see Quakerism as a “religion of the past” but as “continuing revelation” that does not cling to history but seeks out and welcomes diverse voices of indigenous peoples, individuals with different abilities, and lived experiences.
Quakerism lives today – this very moment, in Rwanda, in Cuba, and in Trenton, New Jersey! It is my wish that Friends, the seekers of truth, start from where we are now. Not to negate the past but to start and build from where we are now!
Trenton made the choice to invest $100,000 of its investment wealth in local community needs. What did that give the community? What did that gift of support for others give Trenton?
In late 2017, Trenton Friends Meeting gathered and discerned that we were called to “invest” $100,000 in our local community.
The majority of our funds have gone to assist Black-led organizations and initiatives that support youth education and activities, returning citizens, entrepreneurship, and food insecurity.
I hope to share more about our (meeting’s) work in a Friends Journal article next year!