FGC Program Updates – April 2015
This month’s updates include news from the Spiritual Deepening program and its upcoming pilot, information about registration for the FGC Gathering, a resource for Quaker meetings that want to work together to defeat racism in their communities, and a information from the Traveling Ministries Program.
Kickstart a Deeper Spiritual Journey this May
FGC is excited to share that the Pilot Phase of our new Spiritual Deepening program will begin in early May 2015. Meetings selected for this pilot phase will help us test and improve the program before it’s offered more broadly. Potential pilot meetings were suggested by their yearly meetings and have gone through a selection process that will allow FGC to test the program in meetings with a diversity of circumstances and needs. In this way, we hope to make the program useful to as many Friends as possible. These meetings have now been sent invitations to participate. Once these meetings finalize their participation, they will test four initial topics: Silence and Expectant Waiting, Becoming Patterns and Examples, Friendly Practices, and The Light, Seed, Christ Working in Us.
Register for the FGC Gathering Online Now
If you missed Early Registration for the FGC Gathering, don’t worry – Standard Registration is happening now. There are several Gathering workshops with seats available, but not for long. Friends are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible to reserve their first workshop choice and take advantage of financial aid and shuttle transportation services. For details on Standard Registration, including how to register and deadlines, click here.
Deconstructing White Privilege as a Community
Last March, Friends and supporters of FGC’s Ministry on Racism program traveled to the annual White Privilege Conference (WPC16). The 16th edition of the conference (held this year in Louisville, KY) was attended by 104 individuals affiliated with FGC. According to Vanessa Julye, the Coordinator for the Ministry on Racism program, it was the largest group FGC has ever organized to attend WPC.
Many topics were explored at the conference, from implicit bias and race to the events surrounding Ferguson, MO. Explorations took the form of day-long institutions (intensive courses), individual workshops, and plenary sessions. At the first People of Color caucus, individuals of Indigenous heritage were invited to speak first, as a sign of respect and recognition of their status as ancestors of the original inhabitants of North America. There were also workshops covering topics pertaining to the LGBT community, one of which emphasized the idea that “Faith and religion can be a bridge, rather than a barrier to LGBT equality.”
According to feedback received after the conference, Friends who attended WPC16 said they achieved personal growth and transformation, and would be interested in applying what they had learned to their work life and in their worship community. Friends were also thrilled to see FGC focusing on diversity and inclusion in the Religious Society of Friends as a matter of urgency. As one Friend wrote in: “I love that this is a priority for FGC (to the degree that it is) and that we have a visible presence at WPC. I love that I can learn from leadership within FGC and grow my own understanding of oppression and privilege within FGC and the wider world. I appreciate meeting other Quakers with a concern about racism and white privilege.”
Building Faith Community as a Traveling Friend
Traveling Ministries connects Friends with gifts of ministry to Quaker meetings requesting spiritual support. Experienced Friends offer assistance with deepening worship, building your faith community, and navigating conflict with love. Traveling Ministries is planning ahead for the fall and invites meetings and worship groups to contact them for further assistance.
Traveling Ministry would also like to hear from Friends who have sought clearness with their meetings and are looking for opportunities to travel in the ministry. If you feel called to travel in the ministry and help meetings become reconnected in the Spirit, reach out today. Visit our website for more information, and please let us know about your interest!
This article was written for Vital Friends, FGC’s monthly eNewsletter. Click here to receive future issues in your email inbox: Subscribe