Vital Friends: An Update on FGC’s Clerks Training for Adult Young Friends and High Schoolers

Each year, FGC is nurtures the spiritual gifts of young Quaker leaders through its Clerks Training for Adult Young Friends and High Schoolers. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the format and length of this year’s training have been updated to meet the needs of its participants and facilitators. In this update, Gathering Youth Coordinator Marian Dalke describes the scope of the training, while FGC’s Development Team shares how your support makes this vital ministry possible.

Online Opportunities for Leadership Development: An Update on FGC’s Clerks Training

By Marian Dalke

I continually say that the pandemic is pushing FGC to try things that otherwise would have taken us a long time to do. This is certainly true of the Clerks Training for Adult Young Friends (AYF) and High Schoolers (HS). FGC began offering this training to the AYF and HS clerks in 2010 as a way to offer development and formation specific to the needs of these communities at the FGC Gathering. When a working group convened in Fall 2019 to re-envision this training, we had no idea how much change was at hand.

Most importantly, moving the Clerks Training to virtual space means that we can increase attendance. This had been a goal for several years that we have finally been able to achieve. Thanks to the online setting we have been able to invite young people in high school and Adult Young Friends from FGC-affiliated Yearly Meetings. The training is open to any Friend in the age-range whether or not they are currently clerking. Our working group often says that “a body that understands clerking is easier to clerk,” and our hope is to share these essential skills with more Friends to enhance the overall strength and vitality of our meetings. In addition to new participants, we have brought on new trainers as well. David and Nancy Haines led the program for over seven years. This year, due to the virtual format, we’ve invited Kri Burkander and Becka Haines Rosenberg to lead alongside David.

Many of the typical themes such as gift discernment, role-playing, recording, and getting a sense of the meeting will carry through to the virtual training. Additional training topics include the benefits and challenges of clerking on Zoom. The program will also include a greater emphasis on anti-racism and anti-oppression through the lens of community care and self-care. We are also adding a session featuring a panel of former HS/AYF Clerks.

As an Adult Young Friend who has always been a bit mystified with the Quaker business meeting process, I have found it very enlightening to participate in the creation of this training. It’s amazing to consider how Quaker business process has served community for hundreds of years, and to watch it evolve and adapt for the circumstances of our current times.

We hope to offer this program in future years to enable more Young and Adult Young Friends to learn these relevant skills.

The training will meet monthly from February-May 2021. For more information, contact Marian Dalke, Gathering Youth Coordinator.

How Your Support Makes a Difference for Young Adult and High School Clerks

By FGC’s Development Team

FGC’s Young Clerks Training for high schoolers and young adults looks very different this year with sessions spanning four months and an expanded team of gifted facilitators.

Creating new ways to engage and develop Quaker leadership happens with your support! We hope you’ll consider making a gift and when you do, leave a note of encouragement for our Young Clerks in training in the comment section.

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