For many years, the strength of the Quaker movement was found in North America. In some ways, FUM was perceived by many as a “mission agency” because so many dollars, resources, and people were being sent out to serve in new places around the globe.
Clearly, times have changed. Nowadays, the vast majority of Quakers live in places like East Africa and Latin America—not in North America—and those communities are no longer seen as “mission fields,” but as full equals in the life and witness of FUM. Meanwhile, the number of Friends in the US and Canada, and our impact on the world, have been in decline for several decades. More and more, it is common to hear Friends say about North America, “We are the mission field.”
Some North American Yearly Meetings and Associations are experiencing a reduction in staff members and financial resources, and a diminished capacity to resource local Churches and Meetings. Yet we do not believe in the inevitability of this decline, nor do we believe that God no longer has a purpose for Friends in the North American context. FUM is fully committed to doing all we can to energize, equip, and connect Friends in this region. Working collaboratively with our regional leaders, we are establishing initiatives and launching programs aimed at rekindling the spiritual vitality of individuals and communities, equipping congregations to be faithful and outreach-oriented, and training leaders who will serve Friends well.
North American Ministries activities are comprised of four areas to support Meetings and Churches, develop leaders, and deepen the spiritual life of Friends.
A network of trained “congregational coaches” serving Friends Meetings/Churches.
A network of support and encouragement for individual African Friends, African congregations, and the North American Yearly Meetings to which they belong.
An annual spiritual retreat for individuals who are “on fire” with the Holy Spirit and are seeking deeper faith and bolder witness.
Regional workshops to equip Friends with spiritual life resources, leadership skills, and Meeting/Church health processes.