Charlotte Stangeland, of Iowa Yearly Meeting, will lead a discussion about the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. How can we increase our awareness and openness to the Spirit’s leadings? How can we recognize and appreciate each others’ spiritual gifts? The discussion of gifts will focus on the grace gifts in Romans 12 and the leadership gifts of Ephesians 4.
How are Friends dealing with conflict while coping with the shifts coming from the society, the public health issues, and the place of religion in our lives? Bill Eagles leads an examination of applying Quaker principles in an evolving environment. Or, putting it more plainly, remembering in moments of conflict that we might be wrong—and what to do about that possibility.
Bill Eagles is a past clerk of North Carolina Yearly Meeting, a retired lawyer, and a practicing mediator, as well as a member of the Friends United Meeting Board.
Many North American Meetings have changed a great deal in the past ten to twenty years. A lot of our numbers are smaller. In this gathering, we’ll talk through many of the ways in which Meetings and churches can faithfully adjust to changing conditions. We’ll touch on each of the following areas, spending extra time on those that are of the most interest to Friends who are present:
• Rethinking our distribution of responsibilities among members—do we really need all the same committees and positions we used to?
• Adjusting from a full-time pastor to a part-time pastor—how does the relationship change to honor the released minister’s part-time status?
• Becoming a Meeting without a pastor—how can a church make the shift from having to not having staff?
• Reassessing our relationship with property—is it time to think about selling our building, or maybe consider sharing it with others in new ways?
• Combining congregations—what are some of the different ways in which this can be approached?
• Changing a Meeting’s status—could there be times when a congregation is called to transition to a virtual Meeting, or maybe a house church? What would those transitions be like?
• Considering legacy—how could a congregation respond faithfully to the need to close, and how could the Meeting’s ministries be honored in closing?
The gathering will focus on recognizing who we are as congregations now and finding the institutional structures most likely to support the work to which God calls us.