Going on Faith with Intervisitation
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19 (KJV)
The Intervisitation Committee did a new thing this summer. Eight delegates attended the first-ever United Society of Friends Women International (USFWI) conference held outside the United States in Mombasa, Kenya. The Isaiah passage was the theme of the conference and continued as our theme through the rest of our trip. More Quakers live in Kenya than anywhere else in the world. We worshipped together (both programmed and waiting worship), broke bread (and drank lots of Kenyan tea, of course!), befriended, and served Friends from 15 yearly meetings in Kenya and one Ugandan yearly meeting. This expanded our Intervisitation program into East Africa.
The eight delegates were Rosemary Davis and Sharon Knox (both Patapsco), Joan Liversidge (Sandy Spring), Mary Lord (Adelphi), J.E. McNeil (FMW), Jolee Robinson (Adelphi), and Mel Snyder and Babs Williams (both Langley Hill). Gladys and David Zarembka (Bethesda) were there, along with Emma Churchman, formerly BYM (FMW) and now sojourning in Indiana. Rich Liversidge traveled to Kenya with us as the FUM Trustees’ representative to the General Board. He and David Zarembka attended the Quaker Men International conference nearby and the General Board courses at FTC’s roll-out of its short course curriculum, to a total of about 200 participants.
The short courses seemed to be warmly welcomed by the participants. One of our visitors to Kenya summed up her experience as follows: “Faith, joy, hope, gratitude, courage, love and connection to family and community were core values in their lives of struggle, scarcity, and social conflict. I plan to stay connected to these women. I have much to learn.”
We are all grateful for the endless support and tireless assistance of Eden Grace, Field Staff Officer in FUM’s African Ministries Office, and Terri Johns, World Ministries Director in Richmond, Indiana. They arranged transportion, lodging and care for all North American visitors to Kenya. This was a huge responsibility and service, as there were over 60 visitors from North America in Kenya during July.
This summer, many BYM Friends attended FUM Yearly Meeting sessions elsewhere – Maria Bradley and Jean James to Southeast YM, Jolee Robinson and Meg Meyer to Wilmington YM, and Martha Gay and Ken Stockbridge to Western YM. Within the next few weeks, we expect Jean James to visit Canadian YM, and Ken Stockbridge and Erik Hansen to visit North Carolina YM.
During Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s own Annual Session, we were pleased to have so many visitors worship and fellowship with us. We had visitors from New England YM, Wilmington YM, Western YM, Great Plains YM, and Iowa YM, as well as two Young Friends from New York YM. Our visitors led workshop and Bible study sessions, worked with Young Friends of many ages, and attended our business sessions. Here is a sampling of some of the comments from visitors:
“I had the pleasure of working with the Young Friends on several occasions. Of particular interest was sharing Civil Rights songs with the elementary students. I met with the Junior High students as well, singing and sharing stories and challenging them to greatness NOW, Don’t wait till you get old. I finished the week by leading a couple songs with the kids when they made their presentation before the whole body.”
“Being with BYM Friends was the highlight of my summer. I am so appreciative that I was allowed, as a guest, to lead workshops—something that I doubt my YM would allow.”
A visitor who was able to come at the last minute returned to tell her Friends church that her week with us “was one of the most memorable times I have had in my life.” She is actively recruiting guests to visit us at next Annual Session.
This summer Intervisitation Committee continued our ministry of uniting with other Friends and building bridges of understanding through a traveling ministry of presence, deep listening, and hospitality. Amani huanza ra mimi – Peace, start with me