On Friday evening of the 17th, Colin spoke with us, and a few visitors from other meetings, about the various ministries of Friends United Ministries throughout the world. We heard about the work in various places like Ramallah and Belize City, providing education in extraordinarily challenging environments. We heard about the incredibly successful work being done in East Africa, and the shift in self-focus for the African Yearly Meetings from “the mission field” to full partners with Friends in North America. In general, the focus was on Friends United Meeting as a “global partnership” where all the various Yearly Meetings and ministries were equally valued and supportive of the global ministries.
On Saturday afternoon and evening, we met again focusing especially on Maryville Monthly Meeting’s work and ministries and our particular needs and opportunities. Colin discussed with us various ongoing tools to consider for evaluation, offered some valuable perspectives on our potential as a small meeting, and floated a possibility of a way to shift our focus entirely as a meeting to possibly turn one of our weaknesses into a source of strength.
Sunday afternoon/evening was Friendsville Quarterly Meeting, which we hosted. Colin’s focus during the worship hour was on a new initiative by FUM called the “Flourishing Friends Project” which is being spearheaded by the North American Ministries group. We’re interested in learning more about this and getting involved in it; the idea seems to be that FUM will partner with a local congregation and provide some more dedicated and focused/tailored assistance in strengthening/revitalizing a meeting that might feel less-able or lacking resources.
Overall, the weekend was quite successful, and we were very honored to have Colin visit with us, and everyone else that was able to join us!
Jonathan is the Pastor at Maryville Friends Meeting