Though registration was confusing and prolonged, over 600 Friends gathered in an auditorium on the Kabarak University campus in Nakuru, Kenya, for Gathering Worship for the 2023 FUM/QMI/USFWI Triennial. Welcomes were extended from presiding clerks and officers of Friends United Meeting, Quaker Men International, United Society of Friends Women International, as well as from Nairobi Yearly Meeting, Friends Church Kenya, the National Council of Churches of Kenya, and the organizing committee for the Triennial.
Worship was shepherded by the Triennial Worship Band, composed of Nairobi Young Adult Friends. Gathered Friends especially appreciated the dance and drama offerings from the Pangani Sunday Church School, of Nakuru Monthly Meeting, and the Nakuru Monthly Meeting Choir. Both groups invited Friends sitting at the front to dance with them, which was also well appreciated by Friends farther back in the assembly.
FUM General Secretary Kelly Kellum gave the message for worship, based on Joel 2:28–29:
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”
The text was read in Arabic, Spanish, Swahili, and English, the languages spoken by members of Friends United Meeting.
Kelly's address was a meditation on the passage from George Fox’s Journal about a great people to be gathered and sounding the day of the Lord:
“And the next day we passed on, warning people as we met them of the day of the Lord that was coming upon them. As we went I spied a great hill called Pendle Hill and I went on the top of it with much ado, it was so steep; but I was moved of the Lord to go atop of it; and when I came atop of it I saw Lancashire sea; and there atop of the hill I was moved to sound the day of the Lord; and the Lord let me see in what places he had a great people to be gathered.As I went down the I found a spring of water and I refreshed myself, for I had eaten little and drunk little for several days. And so at night we came to an alehouse and stayed all night and declared much to the man of the house, and writ a paper to the priests and professors concerning the day of the Lord and how the Lord was come to teach people himself by his power and spirit and to bring them off all the world’s ways and teachers to his own free teaching, who had bought them and was their Saviour. ”
Kelly drew a parallel between Fox’s vision on Pendle Hill and the vision of the first missionaries to Kenya on the hill of vision in Kaimosi. He acknowledged that while some Old Testament prophets speak of the day of the Lord as an hour of doom, others portray it as a moment of profound spiritual awakening, hope, and restoration, when the presence of Christ is near. And, Kelly said, Fox’s revelation was that the Christ was present in this moment, present and available for hope and restoration now.
July 3, 2023
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