Yearly Meeting Supports and is Supported by Ministry
by Allen Oliver and Liz Yeats
Over the last two years a travelling ministry of nurture and reconciliation has helped to deepen the spiritual lives of Friends in Illinois Yearly Meeting. This ministry grew out of the expressed needs of monthly meetings in IYM and the leading to travel in the ministry of a Friend from Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting. The two might not have been brought together if not for the the ministry of Allen Oliver, FGC Nurture Coordinator.
In 1995, Barry Zalph, a member of Louisville Monthly Meeting, Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting, began to explore a leading to travel in the ministry. Simultaneously, Allen Oliver, a member of Barry’s monthly meeting and FGC Nurture Coordinator, became aware that Illinois Yearly Meeting was searching for a Field Secretary to work with meetings. Allen brought members of IYM together with Barry at the Kalamazoo FGC Gathering. Weeks later, after IYM’s annual sessions, Barry began to travel throughout IYM.
In the discernment process preceding this work, it became clear that IYM’s Ministry and Advancement Committee should be a full partner in this ministry. Clerked by Janet Means, the M&A Committee provides oversight and support, working with Barry to determine the direction and scope of the effort. Additionally, at least one member travels with him on each trip.
Barry and his companions have traveled extensively in the IYM region. They have met with small and large monthly meetings, conducting retreats and workshops and carrying out program consultations. The endorsements on Barry’s traveling minute show that Friends appreciate the gifts brought to them through this ministry.
Nourished by worship, and blessed and directed by the Spirit, this ministry of nurture and reconciliation has met a real need in IYM. It provides a model for yearly meetings recognizing, supporting and gaining from the God-given gifts of Friends.