For the last several years, I have been privileged to serve as general secretary of Friends United Meeting. FUM is an amazing fellowship—a global community joined together in common work and witness and learning to live into our shared fellowship in Christ. I have come to love this community and believe more strongly than ever that a vibrant and growing FUM is both necessary for the future of Friends and is a much needed gift to the world.
In discerning with the FUM General Board around the continuation of my call to service, we agreed that I will conclude this ministry within the next year (by June 30, 2018). My wife and I feel a strong leading to return home to Oregon to be nearer our children and their families. The FUM Executive Board and I explored the possibility of me working remotely from the West Coast, but we sensed this would not be a great long-term solution and a likely hardship on the Richmond staff. My wife and I also believe there are other ways we are being led to serve among Friends. In my own case, I am particularly interested in exploring new opportunities to strengthen community among Quakers, nurture emerging leaders and deepen my own spiritual life and faithfulness.
I am eager to work with the General Board in this coming year of transition, support our excellent global staff and travel among all of you. I am also excited to see who God raises up to step into this wonderful work. Thanks to all of you—the members of the FUM community—for the joy you have brought to my life. Your example, passion for service and kind generosity is a great inspiration to me.
From the Board:
Colin has brought enormous gifts to FUM. His vision, his passion, his love of Christ, his ability to hold all parts of the very wide spectrum that is FUM, and above all his servant-leadership, have all been transforming and life-giving to this organization.
This transition has evoked feelings of loss and anxiety among many of us. We grow attached to our spiritual leaders, and sometimes it seems impossible that we could ever find someone else whose gifts are so well suited to our needs.
But we are called not to live in fear, but to faithfully live out the will of God in our lives, encouraging and upbuilding each other so we each may do the same. It has become clear that it is the will of God in Colin’s life that he be released from this ministry, and therefore we ask all of you to rejoice and give thanks with us: for Colin’s years of faithful service, for his continued obedience to God, and for the new directions which his ministry might take.
We are children of an abundant God. We are beginning the search for a new General Secretary, not with fear, but with a sense of hope and excitement for what the future may hold. We ask for your prayers: for Colin, for the newly forming search committee, and for all of us. May we all be as faithful as Colin has been. May we let go of our anxieties and instead step out in faith, trusting that God is leading us in new ways.
The FUM General Board, NA/C