Christina Repoley gave the 2014 William Penn Lecture, titled “Prophetic Service as Formation and Transformation” at Arch Street Meeting House On March 29.
Christina Repoley is founding executive director of Quaker Voluntary Service. In 2012 Christina and other dedicated Friends launched the first Quaker Voluntary Service house in Atlanta. Houses in Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon opened in September 2013. Volunteers, who are young adult Quakers or those interested in exploring their spiritual lives, commit to a year of service and accept placements with organizations addressing a range of issues such as community development, education, food justice and issues of mass incarceration.
Christina earned a master of divinity degree in 2011 from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology where she was a Woodruff Fellow. Her master’s thesis is titled Prophetic Service: Roots of and New Directions for a Quaker Religious Practice. She was a senior editor of Vespers: A Year-Long Journey of Faith and Service, an online curriculum for faith-based volunteer organizations nationwide. Prior to graduate school, she served as program coordinator for a foundation serving a national network of faith-based voluntary service programs. She started her career working for a Christian social justice magazine in Philadelphia and as a staff member of the American Friends Service Committee. One of her jobs was coordinating the Mexico Summer Project – one of AFSC’s last remaining work camps for young adults.
A lifelong Quaker, Christina grew up in the Charlotte Friends Meeting and attended Guilford College where she was a Religious Studies and Spanish major and active participant in the Quaker Leadership Scholars Program. She is a member of the Atlanta Friends Meeting.
Prophetic Service as Formation and Transformation
Rufus Jones once said that the most important and distinctive calling of the Religious Society of Friends is our prophetic service. Prophetic service, as opposed to secular service, is grounded in a religious experience expressed communally. It is a vital religious practice which forms and transforms people into Quaker identity and into lives committed to peace and justice. For previous generations, there were many such opportunities, but until recently they have all but disappeared. Christina’s own desire for such an experience led her to work with others to create Quaker Voluntary Service, one effort to reclaim this foundational religious practice, reshaped to meet the needs and longings of present generations of Quakers and spiritual seekers. She has also done an extensive study of these past work camps and will reflect on both past and present iterations of prophetic service.