Spark, March 2008
15 Rutherford Place
New York, NY 10003
|New York Yearly Meeting News|
|The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)||March 2008|
- Quaker Leadership: Leading & Being Led
- The Trouble with Leadership
- Leadership and Eldering
- Leadership As Faithful Obedience Grounded in Community
- Servant Leader—A Call Answered?
- Leadership and Community among Friends
- God's Gifts and the “Tall Poppy Syndrome”
- Servant-Leading at FGC
- Nurturing Leadings
- The Role of the Clerk
- Clerking: Gathering the Light
- What Is Leadership? Why Do We Need It?
- Avoiding Quaker Burnout
- Robert K. Greenleaf and Servant-Leadership
- Holding a Group in Prayer
- Spring Sessions
- The Committee on Sufferings
- AROUND NEW YORK YEARLY MEETING
- Our Quaker Identity
Quaker leadership articles in this issue by Bruce Birchard, Mary Ellen Blakey, Jens Braun, Ernie Buscemi, Heather Cook, Deborah Fisch, Newton Garver, Lu Harper, Arthur Larrabee, Eleanor Novek, Anita Paul, Christopher Sammond, Larry C. Spears, Sue Tannehill
|Elizabeth Fry reads to prisoners at Newgate Prison, 1823|
Quaker Leadership: Leading & Being Led
This issue of Spark looks at a variety of subjects surrounding leadership among us, from the burnout of being a “professional” Quaker, to experiences and tips on clerking. It includes articles about redefined visions of leadership in the form of eldering, listening to the real Guide, and a deepening understanding of the concept of servant leadership. We explore the role of the community and what happens along the road of being led.
Many of us feel a real ambivalence about leadership, in part because leadership is inherently about making decisions with and for a group. Our ambivalence may be an unconscious reaction to past experiences in which we have recognized that leadership is fraught with possibilities for violence. Who has not felt the multiple social and moral forces that coerce us in some direction contrary to what we feel is right or appropriate?
In mid-January of this year, I helped facilitate a second-level Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshop in La Paz, Bolivia, under the auspices of the Bolivia Quaker Education Fund. The group of mostly young Bolivian Friends had just gone through the usual AVP introduction to consensus as a nonviolent decisionmaking tool for choosing the theme and focus for the workshop. This stands out in contrast to the violence of the win-lose democratic process.
They were stunned. Many of the participants were young leaders in their local yearly meetings, ones who often struggled with what they perceived as an entrenched and staid leadership. A number of individuals in the workshop expressed how they on various occasions had felt the violence of decisions made in their churches and yearly meetings, and had never considered that there were other options. The possibility of nonviolent group decisionmaking opened up a whole new panorama of how the church could function in a consistently spiritual manner. The group chose forgiveness and consensus as the themes they wished to explore in the workshop, to help them deal with the realities of their religious institutional challenges.
I think I often find myself in the role of these young leaders, looking at the need for results by using a framework of tools and living within an unacknowledged architecture whose forms predetermine outcomes. I have felt violated or, in the quest for “following process” and achieving goals, that I am violating others.
In the past I have thought that what is really important is my relationship to other people, my openness and love and listening. These are important, but I am coming to realize that both the often-invisible tools that I use and the design of the spaces in which I move are as critical to relationship as my words and feelings and actions. I can empathize deeply with members of a group, but if we vote on what our course of action will be, the results of my choice and my empathy can be quite different than I would actually wish. I can enter a class with chairs in lines or enter the same class with the chairs in a circle, or even meet with the class outside the building, and the teaching/learning that occurs changes substantially.
In our Yearly Meeting discussions on racism we have spoken of institutional and structural elements of our lives that (in some cases) unwittingly create power differentials and racist actions. These tools and architectures must be sought out and understood for what they do to us as a group.
The various conclusions reached by this particular group of AVP participants were a blessing to us all. The group agreed on the need for a shared understanding of ground rules or guidelines, such as that we be explicit about our need to affirm each other and that we be overt about the good within each one of us.
They also saw the need for literacy in the ways of good communication, which includes both speaking in “I Messages,” which are nonviolent but truthful, and listening beyond the words being spoken. As we are not necessarily born literate, we must learn these specific skills.
The AVP participants experienced that using affirmation, love, and communication in cooperative efforts allows for a basis of trust. This trust is first a trust that a process that seeks to operate nonviolently will begin to do so. Eventually, we will even trust each other and those leaders who remind us of and model these patterns.
We hope this issue of Spark raises questions and provides material for discussion in your monthly meetings. We hope this presentation helps us all better understand how we function as both leaders and the led in a unique religious society that looks beyond the frequently experienced human hierarchical structures used in our culture for experiencing divine guidance, making decisions, and carrying them through.
The Trouble with Leadership
George Fox didn’t talk about leaders or leadership. He did speak about the condition of being led, being guided, being taught; he spoke about Authority, and about the Guide and the Teacher. As we explore leadership in this issue of Spark, should we consider the weight we give to the concepts of leaders and leadership today and whether a focus on human leadership will serve us well?
Focusing on leadership inevitably brings up questions of authority. Fox understood authority as the power of God: “And so the Lord’s power came over all...for the authority of our meetings is the power of God, the Gospel which brings life and immortality to light, that...all the heirs of the Gospel might walk according to the Gospel and glorify God with their bodies, souls, and spirits, which are the Lord’s. And so the order of the glorious heavenly Gospel is not of man nor by man.” (Journal, Nickalls ed., p. 514)
How do we understand leadership in light of an authority that is “not of man nor by man,” in light of a life-giving experience that helps us to see clearly, that invites us to change how we walk in the world? We live in the world, and in various all-too-human ways we get caught up by ego, we make mistakes. Marty Grundy, in her Pendle Hill pamphlet Tall Poppies, speaks with pain of the ways in which Quaker leaders can be simultaneously held up by their communities with high expectations and cut off at the knees at the slightest human misstep. Arthur Larrabee, in an address to North Pacific YM, summarized in the October 2007 issue of Friends Bulletin, speaks of the other extreme: the “Spiritual Entitlement” that is exhibited when someone exercises “his or her spiritual authority in a manner that seem[s] misplaced, or too large, or out of proportion, or in derogation of the legitimate needs and concerns of the community as a whole.”
When we associate power with human figures of authority, there can be a dynamic of approach/avoidance. When there is a problem in meeting, do we speak to one another directly of our discomfort or do we first appeal to a “higher” authority, such as Ministry and Counsel or the meeting clerk, to “fix” the situation? Do we criticize our leaders when they act in the vacuum of our inaction? There can also be a mistrust of our corporate ability to discern. This can be healthy if it rises out of a humble understanding of our fallibility. But often it can be part of a pattern in which we sidetrack corporate business through our discomfort and/or our willful desire to control the outcome.
Do we really wait on Spirit in meeting for worship with a concern for business? Isaac Penington counseled the Women Friends at Armscot that “the power is the authority and blessing of your meetings, and therein lies your ability to perform what God requires; be sure ye have it with you....You will find it easy to transgress, easy to set up self, easy to run into sudden apprehensions about things, and one to be of this mind and another of that; but feel the power to keep down all this, and to keep you out of all this; every one watching to the life, when and where it will arise to help you, and that ye may be sensible of it when it doth arise, and not in a wrong wisdom oppose it, but be one with it. And thus, if any thing should arise from the wrong wisdom in any, ye may be sensible of it, not defiled or entangled with it, but abiding in that which sees through it and judges it; that so life may reign in your hearts and in your meetings...” (excerpted in Quaker Spirituality, Douglas Steere, ed., p. 155.)
Early Friends understood all too well the dangers of ego and extreme individualism. Our structures of testing discernment in community developed out of very real (and to early Friends, life-threatening) patterns of behavior. Today our understanding of the corporate functions of ministry, discernment, and nurture are confused by a painful history of significant theological disagreement coupled with abuse of power. These problems began in the second generation of Friends in a Quietist environment that focused more on the Letter than on the Spirit; that left those in positions of leadership ungrounded in, and structurally unaccountable to, their meetings. The theological and power dynamics of the Hicksite-Orthodox split exacerbated tensions around authority and continued past the Civil War. By the late 19th century most liberal unprogrammed meetings had discarded recording ministers and elders and abolished select meetings. Yet the functions of ministry, discernment, and nurture still rise up as individuals are called to a concern for the work, and it is important to pay attention to that reality in our meetings when it occurs. Can we understand such leadership functions as a gift of Spirit, an arm or a leg of the body being called out, rather than as an individual self raising itself above others?
Spirit-led leadership is a gift to our meeting communities through which opportunities for healing, going deeper, prophetic ministry, and calls to mutual care and faithfulness arise. Our patterns of dysfunction and confused understanding around leadership can keep us in a reactive mode that cuts off our leaders from the sources of support and accountability they need to be faithful and effective and distracts us from our work individually and corporately of waiting inwardly and listening to the Guide.
When our focus is to listen and be faithful in following our Guide, a whole different set of questions and concerns arises. We understand that we can know experientially, from a power not our own. We listen together for how Spirit is leading us as a community. We name the gifts of the Spirit (including leadership) we see acting in our meeting, and hold those carrying gifts in tender love, with attention to support and accountability. We also name areas of difficulty or conflict, and ask for understanding and divine assistance in being present to one another. We ask ourselves how we may hold one another in the loving care of the meeting. We stay low. We wait and listen together in the expectation that we will be Guided.
There is that near you which will guide you; O! Wait for it, and be sure ye keep to it....Be not hasty either in conceiving any thing in your minds, or in speaking it forth, or in any thing ye are to do; but feel him by his Spirit and life going along with you, and leading you into what he would have any of you, or every one of you do. If ye be in the true feeling sense of what the Lord your God would have done...ye are all in your places and proper services, obeying the blessed will and doing the blessed work of the Lord your God. (Isaac Penington, in Quaker Spirituality, p. 155)
Leadership and Eldering
|At first glimpse, leadership seems to be absent in the Religious Society of Friends.|
Aside from leadership not being a topic which I associate with the Religious Society of Friends, it is an intriguing concept to consider, especially along with the Quaker concept of eldering.
At first glimpse, leadership seems to be absent in the Religious Society of Friends. I was raised as a Methodist-style Protestant in a very large church in central New York. There were clear leadership roles and hierarchy in this church, though not nearly as much as I observed at my friends’ Roman Catholic Church— where they really took hierarchy seriously! It appears to me, as a new Quaker, that Friends do not have the typical leadership formations and hierarchy of other religious sects, no Bishops or Archbishops, no deacons or priests. The concept of leadership as defined by other churches seems inconsistent with Quakerism.
So who are our Quaker leaders?
I worship with a very small worship group in the Adirondacks. We all live in a small place called Piseco and we meet in each other’s homes. We are a group of three, which at times doubles during the summer tourist months. We visibly have no leaders, per se, but I have looked to my two Quaker Meeting Friends to lead me through the Quaker traditions. They have guided me in understanding the rudiments of Quaker faith and demonstrated Quaker practice to me.
We seem to be a leaderless Society as defined by an outside perspective, but, I posit, many Quakers have stepped into leadership by answering the call of “leadings” to ministry. God has called those to the ministry of clerking, vocal ministry, healing ministry, traveling ministry, pastoral care, and other ministries. These are our leaders, though the titles they carry differ from those of other religious sects.
How do we support our leaders?
The term elder carries with it many connotations. One part of the definition of eldering from Faith and Practice says “Eldering embraces the positive aspects of nurturing, supporting, and helping members and attenders grow spiritually.” (p 124, 2001 edition) Can we use this definition to support, nurture, and grow our leaders, those who are answering God’s call to be led?
I have had the experience of sitting in worship on retreat with f/Friend Mary Kay Glazer, who was led to develop a retreat on Surrender and Resistance based on her work in the School of the Spirit. We spent the weekend with six other retreatants in a small retreat center in the Adirondacks. I was in the role of anchoring the meeting through holding the members in prayer and the Light as Mary Kay facilitated and led the group. The retreatants reported that being held and prayed for had a powerful effect on them and their participation in the retreat. I also held Mary Kay in the Light and in prayer as she was led to facilitate. We would meet each morning prior to the sessions to worship together in silence and prayer. As she continued to refine and compose the components of the content, she stepped into her full potential as the leader of this retreat.
In my work life I do program evaluations for literacy and parenting programs. As an evaluator I am known as a “guide on the side” or “critical friend.” I do not consider myself a leader in this position (though I have had titles of program coordinator and director in previous jobs), but in this role I help to identify whether the program is doing what they set out to do, identify the positive aspects of what the program is doing, and identify those aspects of the program which could be tweaked to be better. I would like to think that I help them to be faithful to their mission, recognize their gifts, and help them to step into their full potential as a program.
As elders and Friends, we can hold one another in the Light and call out gifts as we see them in others. We can be the guide on the side and support them to be faithful in following Spirit’s leadings. We can help them to recognize their gifts and hold them in the Light and in prayer as they step into their full potential as leaders.
Leadership As Faithful Obedience
Grounded in Community:
The Quaker Leadership Consultation
Last November, 45 Friends serving in leadership roles met in a consultation to consider the future of our Religious Society. It was the first such gathering in 29 years. We represented a broad range of leadership among Friends, serving yearly meetings, Quaker schools from elementary school through college, and umbrella service organizations such as AFSC, FWCC, FGC, etc. Most of those attending were liberal Friends from the eastern seaboard, serving in paid positions.
|“As leaders, we are followers of God’s will and accountable to the communities that we serve.”|
We had the common experience of recognizing that the leadings that had drawn us to serve in our current positions are much larger than the parameters of the jobs we are currently performing. We came to see more clearly that the roles we currently serve in are callings, and we shared some of the nuts and bolts of this common ministry.
On a personal level, I became aware of how much I had internalized the pejorative Quaker attitude toward “hireling ministers.” Part of me had subscribed to the belief that there was something wrong with paid Quaker leadership, that this was at least partly outside our practice as Friends, and that there was a separation of a qualitative nature between paid ministry and the more “pure” variety most commonly found in Friends. I think that we all shed similar unconscious baggage as we recognized on a deeper level how the roles we serve in are the result of being faithful to leadings, and not some departure from “pure” Quakerism.
Here is a portion from the group’s epistle:
We felt the power of the Spirit quickly rise among us as we told stories that illustrated our callings to leadership in Friends’ service. We were graced by the process of reconnecting with the leadings that brought us into the positions and roles we now fill. In this process we recognized that our leadings are larger and broader than the particular positions of service that now give expression to those leadings. We were heartened and sustained in the fellowship of sharing our different callings. We found ourselves hopeful and optimistic about the future of our Society and overpowered by the presence of God in our work together. We feel under the weight of the gifts that the Spirit has entrusted to us. As stewards of these gifts, we acknowledge our responsibility to use them in the service of the Religious Society of Friends and furthering God’s work in the world.
An offshoot of our time together has been the creation of a loose network of Friends whose ministry is leadership. We understand leadership broadly as faithfulness and obedience to Divine leadings grounded in community. As leaders, we are followers of God’s will and accountable to the communities that we serve.
From this understanding of our roles as leaders in our Society, we listened for and articulated a vision of the Society of Friends as one that is dynamic, vital, growing, and faithful, one with vibrant monthly meetings graced with profound worship, growing membership of all ages, powerful witness, and deep faithfulness. We envisioned a Society where these meetings, their yearly meetings, Quaker schools, and Quaker service organizations nourish and support each other as parts of a common fabric, one body.
We recognized that, as individuals responsible for leadership in the organizations we serve, we have an individual and corporate responsibility to make that vision a reality. In looking at how to get from where we are to where we feel our Society is called, we identified a great deal of work that needs to be done. We affirmed that whether we represented monthly meetings, yearly meetings, schools, or service organizations, we needed to work together as one body, breaking down the divisions among our organizations, recognizing that we all contribute to the health and development of a healthy Quakerism and that collaboration is crucial. We were clear that work in nurturing and deepening monthly meetings is key to all other work. We were repeatedly confronted by the lack of integration of youth and adult young Friends in the RSOF, recognizing how our future lies with our doing this differently. We named how “Quaker culture” is at times inimical to our growth in faithfulness and numbers. We examined how our organizational structures need to change.
And we committed to doing this work. We formed working groups to address these tasks, including a working group devoted to holding ourselves accountable for the work each group agreed to take on. And we committed to meet again in a year or two to review our progress and chart new work.
Everyone who was there is already very, very busy with the tasks of their particular organizations. It will demand a lot of commitment to make the vision we saw a reality. Time will tell the degree to which we are able and willing to be faithful to this work. And of course, this vision will bear fruit only if it is well led, and shared by the body of our Society.
Is there a risk that such an approach to faithful, effective leadership could cross the line into being “top down,” something inimical to the Society of Friends? Quite possibly, if we as individuals in leadership roles do not stay close to our guides and our accountability to the communities we serve. Knowing Friends, I have few doubts that we could stray very far without being brought back. But this brings up other queries: How do we address the tension between effective servant-leadership and our concern over potential abuse of authority? Does our collective wariness around issues of leadership unnecessarily hobble those we ask to serve us? How much should servant leaders initiate change (that is, lead)?
True believers love for others what they love for themselves.
Servant Leader—A Call Answered?
Friends have traditionally been led to do service. We trust that God calls on each and every one of us to live fully into our gifts, opening our hearts to the blessed community. When we are at our best, we listen for guidance and answer the call. The call is about love and service. So as we see way forward in faithfulness we must truly open ourselves to attending God’s will.
Servant leadership is both accepting a loving God, and loving and serving people. “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and all your soul.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ “ (Matt. 22:37–39). God’s will and God’s love is the only source from which leadership, authority, and power emerge.
|Your daily commitment is an opportunity for internal spiritual practice and external creativity.|
As a servant leader you recognize God’s presence in your life. Your daily commitment is an opportunity for internal spiritual practice and external creativity. The walk brings you closer to God in an awareness of authority, surrendering of self, and service to community. Knowing and reminding others about our awareness of authority—that the Divine is the One in charge—maximizes soul building, community building, and a loving intimacy with the Divine and the community. Holding the space for this soul work is the most challenging; it requires a consistent groundedness and thoughtful preparation. As a servant leader you are never alone because you are building trustworthy relationships and a community of support to sustain the journey.
Servant leadership is an awakening of a new vision of self and the community that you serve. You will stand with amazement at how wide your heart opens, the tenderness of shared expression when communicating, and the deep caring when responding to the needs and hurts of others.
The journey is a call to surrendering the power of the ego. Servant leadership is a daily practice, up close and very personal, about letting go. When the ego is “laid to rest,” our spirituality is open to God’s power and love where even problems and conflicts lose their intensity and you can see a much wider view. When found in this place of peace one can relate without judgment or critical thinking of self or community.
As a servant leader one learns to embrace a humble sincerity that is a teachable spirit allowing for openness and reaching out to others for help. This creates space for the community to share new ideas and new solutions as well as engage in listening for the will of God and feeling God’s love in the Blessed Community. We are called to servant leadership, and with our gifts we must stand ready to respond.
Leadership and Community among Friends
It is almost impossible to consider leadership without considering community to some degree, since without community there would be no need for leadership. When we talk about leadership within the Religious Society of Friends, we call it “servant leadership.” Jesus teaches that to be leaders in a kingdom that is rooted and grounded in God’s love, one must be a servant to all. It is our experience that depending on the need, any one of us might be called upon by God and the Community to serve as leader according to the spiritual gifts we have been given. Paul describes the faith community in I Corinthians 12 as a body made up of different members, each having a special function, with no one function being more or less important than another. At times, we (the body) need the hands to lead us, at other times the feet, at other times the eyes....Each of us has some measure of gift or gifts that is essential to the well-being and wholeness of the meeting community in which we live, and it is our job to use it faithfully. Paul goes on to caution that there is more to it than just good use of a particular gift. We must root and ground all we do in Love, selfless, unconditional Love of Spirit of Christ or our actions are hollow and won’t ring true.
|It is the work of the community to recognize and nurture the gifts of its members and attenders so they mature into servant leaders.|
I first learned about servant leadership from Friends in my home meeting. I spent my young adult years in a small rural Iowa Friends meeting. It was large enough that there were people of all generations attending and small enough that we had many Opportunities to get to know each other. We each understood that we were all needed, and all of us, including the children, were expected to serve the meeting in one way or another. A goodly portion of the meeting was made up of folks who had been Friends many, many years if not their whole lives, and they brought the gifts of stability, knowledge of Friends’ practices, and weightiness to the meeting. A goodly portion were folks like me, new to Quakerism but drawn powerfully to it as seekers trying to reconcile faith and action. We brought energy, questions, and new ideas, sometimes even continuing revelation, to the meeting. And we often brought the gift of our children’s presence to the meeting. We worshipped together, we often studied Quaker history and Scriptures together, we played together (volleyball on First Day late afternoons in the summer, seasonal parties in the winter), we worked together (mowing lawns, scooping snow, painting the meetinghouse), we did business together. In these ways, my family and I came to know the members and attenders of this meeting “in that which is eternal,” and they us.
Because we knew each other and trusted each other in this way, the meeting could see and nurture little beginnings of gifts of the Spirit in its members, sometimes with deliberate attention and sometimes just as a result of the Love being practiced there. It wasn’t always easy. Sometimes it was frustrating. To know each other in this way means we often felt pretty vulnerable to each other and sometimes challenged each other in difficult ways. “Knowing each other in that which is eternal” does not mean perfection; it means there is enough Love to cover that which is imperfect, whether we are the teachers or the students, the servant leaders or the body.
It is the work of the community to recognize and nurture the gifts of its members and attenders so they mature into servant leaders. Nominating committees help do this when they prayerfully consider the gifts of their members and where those gifts might best be nurtured and used. Ministry & Counsel members do this as they consider the spiritual health of the meeting and provide Opportunities for members/attenders to meet outside of meeting for worship to share of their spiritual journeys with each other or engage in some sort of spiritual study. First Day school teachers do this as they get to know their classes and engage F/friends in conversations about Scriptures and early Friends. House & Grounds Committee does this when they gather F/friends together to work hand in hand caring for the meetinghouse and meeting property and in doing so provide Opportunities for us to get to know each other more personally. Individuals do it when they find ways to affirm that the vocal ministry of another seemed faithfully given or when they notice someone has missed a meeting and they check in with them during the week to see how things are going. We do this when we listen to each other, pray for each other, pay attention to Nudges, and test them with each other.
Servant leaders need the community to recognize their gifts, nurture them, and help them discern how, where, and when they are being called by the Divine to use them. The meeting community needs its members to be servant leaders if it hopes to stay vibrant and alive with the Spirit in more than an occasional First Day meeting for worship. The two are as hard to separate from each other as it is to pull apart the plies that make up a strand of yarn. Meetings are made up of individual Friends given gifts of the Spirit for the health and wholeness of the meeting. When those gifts are recognized and nurtured by the meeting, those individuals become the servant leaders of the meeting and in turn help it draw ever closer to the blessed community of God’s kingdom on earth.
God’s Gifts and the “Tall Poppy Syndrome”
In her Pendle Hill pamphlet Tall Poppies, Supporting Gifts of Ministry and Eldering in the Monthly Meeting, Martha Paxson Grundy notes the way early Friends nurtured one another and raised up the gifts of ministering and eldering they saw in others. Friends today have let go of traditional Quaker understandings of power and spiritual authority, she says; as a result, they may resist the gifts provided to members of their communities for God’s service. Here is an excerpt from Grundy’s discussion:
“God gives a variety of gifts, often different ones to different people. They are given for God’s own mysterious purposes, and we understand that in some way they are all for the upbuilding of the ‘church,’ the faith community, our meetings.…A healthy meeting, as experienced at least in the 18th century, and even up to our own time on occasion, would have seasoned, gifted, wise Friends, recognized and named to the stations of minister and elder. Their main purpose in life was listening to the Inward Guide and rightly using the gifts entrusted to them for the good of the Quaker body or the larger world.…
|…many Friends today are crying out for spiritual mentors|
“In the traditional process the ministers and elders in a meeting expected to find, and noticed emerging gifts of vocal ministry or of the kind of discernment or spiritual companioning that were a large part of eldering. They named and nurtured these gifts. They encouraged the ‘infant’ minister or elder, helping him or her see what God was bringing forth, modeling the kind of changes in lifestyle that attention to this gift required. The emerging gifts and the individuals in whom they were being brought forth were the subjects of careful observation, prayerful consideration, and tender concern on the part of what became the Ministry and Oversight Committee, or its equivalent. When this Committee felt the time was ripe, it brought the gift to the attention of others.…
“Today we are hesitant about naming and encouraging gifts in actual people. We seem to prefer to talk in generalities about abstract qualities. We like to think of ‘supporting the ministry’ rather than giving concrete help to a specific minister. Therefore, discernment is left to the individual who may or may not ask for a clearness committee, which may or may not be seasoned. The meeting, therefore, may be somewhat uneasy with and distanced from the resulting sense of clearness. The meeting may not feel any sense of responsibility for nurturing or holding the minister accountable for the right use of gifts.…
“My understanding is that God gives all the gifts that are needed by a particular meeting in its particular time and place. But we do not always see them. Sometimes we resist accepting the thought that the gifts might be in some individuals we would prefer to exclude.…It is not enough for the meeting to discern carefully who is given gifts that are to be used in ministry or eldering. The meeting must receive the gifts given through the minister. Acceptance involves listening to the gift, and paying attention to the message even if it upsets our comfort.…
“Since we are assimilated to a greater or lesser degree into the self-centered dominant culture of individualism, and since we have, by and large, forgotten, never learned, or discarded Friends’ tradition of acknowledging and naming ministers and elders, we need to look a little more closely at the things that hinder us from reclaiming our heritage. The suggestion is not to pluck uncritically a dead tradition from the history books and paste it onto our current practice. It is to be humbly open to what the Spirit might teach us from our tradition, and to be aware of what stumbling blocks we encounter or create.
“One block is, at its root, spiritual jealousy, or a power struggle, although it may clothe itself in a fine regard for its version of Quaker tradition. An Australian Friend offered a name for the habit of tearing down leaders: the tall poppy syndrome. The story goes that a messenger arrived at a country estate of a Roman noble, bearing grim news that plebeians were rising in the city. The alarmed retainers asked what they should do. Without a word the Roman took his sword and swished it over the flower bed, cutting off the heads of the tallest poppies in his garden. The message was clear: cut down the leaders.
“Too often Friends tear down any among us who exhibit gifts that make them stand out in the crowd.…Meetings are surprisingly fragile when divided by malicious gossip driven by jealousy or power struggles. Distrust and antipathy are spawned more easily than they can be forgiven and healed. Meetings are seriously weakened when they are denied the right to use gifts God has provided.…Ironically, many Friends today are crying out for spiritual mentors, for ministers and elders who are lovingly steeped in our tradition. Some Friends hunger for a deeper relation with God, for a connection with divine power that heals and empowers. We long for wise and loving role models and examples. But in the current Religious Society, those whom God is raising up too rarely have the informed, prayerful support they need to function as fully as God would have them.…
“We need a faith community. We need a Religious Society of Friends with whom to worship, and in whose proximity we learn the hard lessons of how to live in Gospel Order—with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, forgiveness, humility, gentleness, and self-control. Our meetings have a great responsibility to be gatherings of people who are listening to the Inward Teacher, helping each other listen, and learning how to listen together. We submit, not to elders, but elder and eldered together submit to God in humility and love. Then we can claim, with Barclay, that our meetings are places in which there is ‘a secret power.’ ”
Excerpted from Tall Poppies, Supporting Gifts of Ministry and Eldering in the Monthly Meeting by Martha Paxson Grundy, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #347, © 1999 by Pendle Hill, available from Pendle Hill, 800-742-3150, ext. 2; bookstore [at] pendlehill.org; www.pendlehill.org/bookstore.
Servant-Leading at FGC
Twenty years ago, before becoming general secretary of Friends General Conference (FGC), I first read Robert Greenleaf’s insightful pamphlet The Servant as Leader. He wrote:
The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. He is sharply different from the person who is leader first….The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-[leader] to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and most difficult to administer, is: do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?
The servant-leader approach fits well with Friends’ faith and practice. It is particularly appropriate for those of us serving as staff in leadership positions within Quaker organizations. I will share a few of my own experiences from my 15 years of trying to provide servant-leadership for FGC.
Working with Committees and Volunteers
FGC is a strongly volunteer-guided organization, as committees assume responsibility for making the big decisions. But few volunteers can put the amount of time into the work that staff do. For committees to make good decisions, they need information and a sense of the options. Providing that background is an important service of staff. In my reports to FGC’s Central and Executive Committees, I give particular attention to presenting “the big picture,” often synthesizing perspectives of several committees, and frequently raising “big questions.” I seek to empower committees and their members by providing the information and perspectives that may prove useful in reaching wise, Spirit-centered decisions.
One of the gifts I have honed is that of listening to a committee discussion, discerning what may be the most insightful or pertinent contributions, and then synthesizing and articulating them in a coherent message. This, of course, is the core skill of clerking, and I love it when the clerk of a committee does it well. I also find it can help if I offer similar service out of my own experience.
I recall one example of such service during Central Committee’s initial discussions of a long-term planning process. Central Committee had entered open worship to respond to the query, “What does God want FGC to do?” Many Friends spoke. I took careful notes on what each offered. Later that evening I pored over those responses and summarized them in four brief goal statements. I shared these with the other six members of the planning committee the next day. After modest editing, the committee proposed them to the full Central Committee as “major goals” that could inform ongoing committee work to develop a long-term plan. They were approved.
Based on that and subsequent plans, FGC created several new programs and committees. I took care to attend all meetings of each new committee for the first three or four years, helping to provide the background and context that new committee members needed to do their best work. And in each case, I watched with gratitude, and sometimes real awe, as committee members lifted up insights and leadings that went way beyond anything I had thought of previously, taking these programs in some very exciting and important directions.
|I seek to share … experiences and understandings in ways that encourage and empower others.|
Working with Staff
I recall a conversation years ago with another Quaker executive about hiring and supervising staff. I said, “I like to find really good people who will ‘fit’ FGC, hire them, then nurture and support their gifts as they grow into their ministries.” She looked really surprised, asking me how I made sure that each staff person did the job s/he was hired to do. I allowed that this was part of the job of supervision, but that I believe different people with different gifts and leadings are going to do the job differently. There is no “one right way” to do it. In the end, I try to support staff as they develop their own ministries while making sure that their work is consonant with the vision and general plan of the committee and organization.
Many years ago, we engaged a wonderfully creative consultant to work with eight of us FGC supervisors. This turned out to be a turning point for FGC. We talked about how we wanted to work with each other as well as with our supervisees. We practiced giving honest feedback and listening to the same from others. We discussed the value to the organization of encouraging that kind of free and open exchange of ideas. And I know that, if I expect my colleagues to listen to my feedback, including criticism and new suggestions, I must welcome the same from them. I cannot expect others to be open to reevaluating their work if I don’t model such openness myself. In the end, we made a commitment to be a “learning organization” with a radical openness to giving and receiving honest feedback.
Nearly three years ago, I began hearing from several colleagues that they no longer felt adequately supported by me. I often failed to inform them adequately about important developments. Several spoke plainly, but also with love and concern for me. Most attributed the problems to my being overworked, as FGC had more than doubled its staff size and budget. I won’t say that I got the message immediately, but they were persistent, and eventually I knew they were right.
We engaged another consultant to help us develop a stronger administrative structure. He interviewed every staff member and held vital discussions with me, with a small team of concerned staff members, with the entire staff, and with the Personnel Committee. This led to our creating a new “Administrative Team” of four people, with me as general secretary and each of them as an “associate secretary.” My supervisory load was reduced from nine to five staff as they each picked up supervisory responsibilities. The four of us communicate with each other regularly and hold intense day-long, energizing and deeply centered meetings once each month. At every meeting we propose, discuss, argue, listen, and, through it all, try to discern important steps to take and recommendations to make to other parts of the organization. I love this way of working together—even though it’s not always comfortable. We trust and love each other in ways that make this kind of deep, intense collaboration possible, and we take that same approach out into the rest of the staff and organization.
Being a Servant Leader
These are some of the ways I have served the Spirit, our Religious Society of Friends, and Friends General Conference. Providing servant leadership is not just about being a servant. It has involved understanding and developing my gifts, recognizing and compensating for my shortcomings, and then supporting and empowering others to develop their own gifts. With my experience, I often have an understanding of the matters at hand that can be helpful. I seek to share such experiences and understandings in ways that encourage and empower others. This approach is less controlling or directive than traditional top-down leadership. I am more flexible about the outcomes—though certainly not to the point that “anything goes.” It’s always a balancing act.
For me, leading is an iterative process. It involves both listening and speaking, seeking together, coming to new, often unexpected understandings and directions. It’s something we do with each other, and it’s based on a powerful engagement with the Spirit.
A leading is a sense that something needs to be done, of roughly what needs to be done, and that some big part is up to me. Needs, of course, are conditional, relative to values and circumstances. So Friendly leadings concern what needs to be done to nurture or witness to Quaker values in current circumstances. They depend on both a deep appreciation of Quaker values and a solid grasp of worldly realities. Leadings can lead toward either witness or service, but either sort requires the same combined alertness to both inner truth and social reality. And of course the Alternatives to Violence Project rule applies: “Volunteer yourself only”: My leadings get me involved, your leadings get you involved.
|…consultation with other Friends has strengthened my leadings, though often with tough comments or questions.|
Any leading needs to be tested with other Friends. It is characteristic of us humans to have an exaggerated appreciation of our own thoughts, and sometimes what seems a leading may really be an ego trip. Others have ways to test leadings, but Friends have traditionally stressed support of one’s local meeting, implemented through clearness committees. In 1963 when I had a scruple about signing a State University of New York (SUNY) loyalty certificate, and a SUNY vice president argued at length that I was misreading the New Testament, I laid the matter before three monthly meetings before taking it to NYYM at Silver Bay. Years later when establishing the Bolivian Quaker Education Fund (BQEF), I made use of a clearness committee set up for me by Buffalo Meeting and arranged consultation with Friends in circles outside NYYM. I find it hard to imagine how to nurture a leading without such testing.
It has been my experience that consultation with other Friends has strengthened my leadings, though often with tough comments or questions.
The leading about the loyalty certificate led to witness, and the leading about Bolivian Friends led to service. In both cases I found myself in a special, perhaps unique, position to do something. The Light that leads you or me and opens the way is eternal and common to all, but an important aspect of a leading is that it touches you or me personally; it is part of showing through action who you are. Hence the manner in which the concern is nurtured and furthered is as important as the substance.
I first visited Bolivia with the Quaker Study Tour in 1999, and during that trip I visited a Friends’ school in Coroico (since closed) that had been heavily supported by the Quaker Bolivia Link (QBL). In previous years QBL had supported other Friends’ schools in Bolivia, but none of those grants, which challenged QBL’s standing as a secular charity, seemed to reduce poverty and QBL had decided, quite reasonably, to give no more support to education. But I heard Quaker voices calling for help with education, and I sensed that it was up to me to heed those voices.
Two things happened in 2001. With the help of QBL and numerous other Friends, Dona Boyce Manoukian and I arranged for two young Bolivian Quaker teachers to visit the U.S. for seven weeks in the summer, to present their own case for education in their respective yearly meetings. Later Ber-
nabé Yujra set up meetings for me to meet with educators of INELA and Santidad, the largest Bolivian yearly meetings. Bernabé sensed that young Bolivian Friends were in particular agony, and he wanted to help them. So we sketched a plan, with scholarships for higher education as the first priority. Now I had a more seasoned and specific leading: to find support for this plan.
To avoid overlap with QBL, the work needed to focus on education and Quaker fellowship. Focusing on Bolivian Quaker education is a huge challenge, but far more feasible than improving Bolivian indigenous education in general. There are about 30,000 Quakers in Bolivia, mostly indigenous and half under 18, but fewer than 1 percent are recent high school graduates. So the mission became to enrich relations between Bolivian Quakers and others by nurturing their educational opportunities.
My first step in trying to go forward was to try to get others to take on the mission. There are so many Quaker organizations that it seemed a shame to start another, and I thought a mature organization might do a better job. But contacts with QBL, Pendle Hill, FWCC, AFSC, and other organizations and yearly meetings made it clear that Friends thought this an inspired leading but regretted that it did not conform to their mandates. At a meeting in Philadelphia in January 2002, attended by persons from several of these key organizations, I was encouraged to go forward, but with the strong warning that I needed at least a five-year plan to start with, and that no such mission could survive without paid staff. Sobering thoughts, especially when added to the sobering experience of QBL.
BQEF was incorporated in 2002, with four white male incorporators, none of whom was fluent in Spanish. A start, however weak. The $5,000 raised in 2002 was enough to get the program started in 2003, with an office, Bernabé as half-time coordinator, and 15 scholarships. My leading was being realized in practice, but could it continue? Not, of course, by my efforts alone. In the first years there was three important sources of nurture for my leading.
The most important sustenance for my leading comes from Bernabé Yujra, now the full-time coordinator of BQEF in Bolivia. BQEF fulfills a mission that has been maturing in him for decades, and it strengthens my leading to know that BQEF realizes his long-standing indigenous mission rather than my “gringo” vision. I have also been sustained by the response of Friends who send funds or securities, or who sponsor scholarship students, or who have joined the BQEF Board, or who travel to Bolivia to lead workshops or help with classes in the Quaker schools. This rich response from Friends in the US, the UK, and Ireland gives me confidence that BQEF, although not much in itself, has opened a door that needed to be opened. And finally there is the enthusiasm and gratitude of Bolivian Friends, particularly the young people, a boon beyond description.
I have remained president of BQEF since its beginning, and my life has been enriched by this leading, as by others in the past. Now I am led to step down and let others carry on the work. Leadings, in my experience, lead only so far.
The Role of the Clerk
In the matter of leadership, there’s an aspect of our organizational structure that poses a dilemma for us. It is the role of the presiding clerk.
|If the presiding clerk is not to be a leader, then who is?|
Most narrowly understood, this role is to preside at our meetings for business and to gather the sense of the meeting. In our meetings, we expect that the clerk will not have a point of view and if the clerk does, he or she will step aside in favor of someone who doesn’t. In our meetings for business, as in our meetings for worship, we expect the primary leadership to be the leadership of the Spirit, but to my way of thinking, this does not mean that the clerk does not have a role to play as a leader in the organizational aspects of the meeting’s life.
Some would say that the clerk is not, and should not, be a leader. Perhaps this is one reason that we’ve not done a better job of developing Quaker leadership. If the presiding clerk is not to be a leader, then who is?
The clerk is a leader in the manner of the Quaker Model. Among other things, a clerk establishes agendas, identifies problems, refers issues to appropriate individuals and committees, trouble shoots, offers ideas, proposes solutions and takes risks. Of course our clerks are leaders! And we do a disservice to the community when we don’t honor them in this way.
When the clerk has taken leadership in a matter which comes before the meeting for business, he or she should, of course, have an alternate or assistant clerk who can readily take over the clerking of that matter. I would much rather have a clerk who embraced a leadership role, even if it meant that someone else would have to clerk the meeting for business occasionally, than I would have a clerk who never exercised leadership for fear of not always being an impartial business meeting clerk.
The clerk has authority, and when the clerk doesn’t use her authority to provide leadership for the meeting, the meeting community is the less.
Clerking: Gathering the Light
Our faith has two endpoints—at one end, we practice unmediated contact with Spirit, a kind of single, focused connection between individual and Spirit. On the other hand, our business meetings consist of gathering the scattered Light of discernment from each person, acknowledging partial but not complete knowledge, and then moving forward as one unified body. Clerking is the catalyst for business meetings, and it has been my great pleasure to clerk in several settings over the past 12 years. Clerking requires some of the same skills that worship does—a prayerful watching, an emptiness, and a deep love for the ways in which the jewel of Spirit scatters its Light amongst people.
We trust in unmediated experience of the Divine being able to guide us as individuals, claim us, and send us places we would never choose to go. We also trust in our mediated experiences of Spirit being able to guide us as a people. However, the mediation is often slow and tricky, and requires one person to act as the mirror of the group, attempting to reflect back to the group what s/he senses the will of the group to be.
Clerking requires a kind of double vision. On the one hand, the clerk must remain as open as one does in worship. On the other hand, it requires being able to gather people up, lift them up as a group, and try to discern what Spirit is asking of the body. This double-vision requirement can give you a headache. It can also amplify the sense of Spirit so that clerking and business meeting can be as fulfilling as worship.
|The clerk must not want anything but clear spiritual discernment.|
There are a few things that contribute to making clerking a joy rather than a headache. We acknowledge that insight is scattered amongst us, and we listen to each person, placing silence between speakers. We ask each person to speak only once, rather than respond to others or engage in back and forth conversation. We ask everyone to address the clerk to remind ourselves that we are trying to gather up insight and discern what we are being asked as a body to do. We record each decision as it is made, our way of documenting what happened in the immediacy of worshipful attention. These are not new to any reader, but I repeat them because, like scattered insights gathered into one decision, these customs, gathered together and prayerfully followed, make effective clerking possible.
And what of the clerk? She must welcome all, and gently remind all that prayerful silence is as useful as commenting on each piece of business brought before the meeting. She must balance immediacy and preparedness. The efforts of the body must be directed towards a well-seasoned idea, and not bogged down in details better handled by individuals or committees.
The most delightful task, and the hardest, is that the clerk must not want anything but clear spiritual discernment. I have found this “not wanting” to be an extraordinary spiritual discipline. I try to arrive at the clerk’s table wondering what Spirit will ask of us and nothing more. Just as we must be able to say, if we pray effectively, “Thy will be done,” as clerks, we clerk best when we pray only that we be allowed to assist in the discernment of the will of God for us all. We hold the people gathered in an attitude both prayerful and practical, observing people, watching for body language, head nodding, disapproval, general murmurs of assent or dissent, all spoken and unspoken contributions held in an attempt to discern what the body is being asked to do.
Sometimes, things go wrong. The clerk must be willing to stop, to ask for worship, to be blunt but kind about what she sees happening to the group. I have stopped meetings to say things like, “Friends this has stopped feeling worshipful.” “I don’t know where to go next. Does anyone have a clearer sense than I do of what’s needed?” “Friends, let’s remember to speak to the issue and not to one another.” Comments like these allow everyone to participate in keeping the meeting for business worshipful.
The clerk holds process and product together, and pays very close attention to the first, while not losing sight of the fact that something must result from all that process. Sometimes what results is that we acknowledge that we aren’t clear to move forward, that the issue is unseasoned, that the issue is too tender for us, that there is, as yet, no clear discernment, that Friends are tired and respite is needed.
The clerk, by her example and insistence, takes on only business that is truly the work of the body. Once, a minute proposed for our region asked us to recognize the marital union between two people regardless of gender. After some thought, it was clear that this was not the work of our region. The region does not marry people and therefore could not, in good conscience, claim a Truth for individual meetings that it could not exercise itself. Had that issue come before the body, it would have exhausted both our insight and our patience very quickly, because it would be an intellectual exercise, not grounded in action we can perform. The issue of setting up a tax escrow account for war-tax resistance, however, is an issue appropriate for the region. Friends in the region have labored long and carefully over small details because it is something that will result in action.
Another essential task is to reflect the process back to people. I remember early in my time as clerk of the region, noticing that the first item of business at Fall Gathering usually became a place of many false starts as people stood to speak to the issue simply to be heard. I thought of it as an eagerness to participate, but what it looked like was a lot of distracting thoughts brought to the floor. I noticed that this didn’t happen at Spring Gathering, a weekend event. My hunch was that because business meeting occurs later in the weekend, people have had a chance to be heard and to reconnect with the community, resulting in less need for “airtime” at business meeting. So, the next Fall Gathering, I shared that observation before we began meeting for business. I shared it as I have here, claiming that it showed eagerness and not ego. Inviting Friends to reflect carefully, I humorously reminded them that they needed to conserve their energy and focus for the long agenda laid out. This changed the “flavor” of the first item of business and Friends have been more efficient in their work.
Clerks must serve a gathered people, hoping to assist them in finding God’s will for us. In order to do this we must be more interested in process and people than in product. If we are faithful to lovingly using the process, the people respond and the product unfolds. When it does, Spirit is served and people are glad to have participated.
What Is Leadership?
Why Do We Need It?
I have heard it said, I’m not sure whether with conviction or with bemusement, “Quaker leadership is an oxymoron.” I don’t buy it and I hope you won’t buy it either. My bias is that our religious society is in need of a fresh perspective on leadership. The perspective I propose is one that honors the exercise of leadership and the leaders among us without compromising the integrity and spiritual understandings of our religious society. Leadership is an energy that transforms a mere collection of two or more individuals, each with his or her own agenda, into a group of people who have something in common.
What the group has in common could be as simple as the intention of two people to come together to talk about something over lunch. A larger group might have something more complex in common such as the intention of several hundred people to gather once a year as North Pacific Yearly Meeting. In both cases, what has made the activity possible? It is leadership. Someone took leadership. Someone produced an energy—a thought, a word, an action—that caused something to happen. Leadership is a good thing and we have need of it in the Society of Friends.
|…human beings (and this would include Quakers) do not engage successfully in group activity without leadership.|
I think of a group of people, regardless of its size, as having one member more than the number of people who are actually present. So, for example, in a marriage of two people, are there not really three people present? The third person is the marriage itself with its own needs and requirements, perhaps quite different from the needs and requirements felt by either partner. In a monthly meeting for business with 20 people present, are there not really 21 people in the room? The extra person being the meeting itself, collectively, which, again, may have its own needs and requirements quite independent of the needs and requirements felt by any one member of the group.
The person who is able and willing to think about the group from the point of view of the extra member is a leader.
This story comes out of my relationship with my wife, Nancy. Ten years ago, when were dating and before we were married, we were having Christmas at her apartment. I make a big thing out of an elaborate wiring of the Christmas tree, a thousand lights or more, and so it is really my job to dismantle the tree after the holiday. The day after Christmas, a Thursday, we fell into an argument about when the tree would come down. Nancy wanted it down by Monday, and I didn’t see why it couldn’t stay up for another two or three weeks. We really went at it, coming to an impasse that is hard to understand from a distance. Finally, it occurred to me suggest that we try a sense of the meeting consciousness, borrowing from our Quaker business meeting practice. I said to Nancy, let’s ask, “What is the ‘sense of our relationship’ about when the tree should come down?” In that moment our consciousness was lifted to a place that included the needs of our relationship, and it was immediately clear that the tree should come down by Monday. Later, Nancy was able to say thank you for your leadership.
|Photo by Paul Busby|
The reality is that human beings (and this would include Quakers) do not engage successfully in group activity without leadership. If people are going to act as a group or as a community, at least one person has to think about the group or community as a whole. The more people there are doing this, the better the outcome; but at least one person has to play this role.
We make a similar statement about our meetings for business. We say that our meetings for business are more satisfactory when everyone is present with clerking consciousness—that is, when everyone present is thinking about the meeting as though he or she were the clerk.
A clerk of the meeting is a Quaker leader, but it is not the clerk’s job to be the only leader in the meeting. Leadership can be shared, and there may be many leaders in a meeting. Anyone can, and hopefully will, step into leadership, depending on the circumstances and the ways in which he or she is led.
As I conceptualize it, a Quaker model of leadership has six dimensions. While leaders and leadership can come from any corner of the meeting, in this model I have in mind primarily those who have been appointed to an office.
First, a leader thinks globally; that is, thinks comprehensively about the whole, whatever the whole may be for that person in those circumstances. The whole may be the meeting itself, or a committee; it may be some other group of one or more people.
A meeting clerk is leading when he is thinking about the needs, opportunities, and possibilities for the whole meeting. A committee clerk is leading when she is thinking about the needs, opportunities, and possibilities for the whole committee. Thinking globally means not only dealing with the issues of the moment, but also taking a farsighted view; thinking not only about the immediate situation but imagining the future and what it may hold and require.
Second, a leader shares the fruits of her perceptions, ideas, and experience. She gathers ideas and makes proposals to the meeting or the committee. A leader is proactive, sharing what she has learned and inviting others to understand and to share in her thinking.
Third, a leader takes risks, sticks his neck out, and is willing to be vulnerable in service to the meeting or to a committee. In the process, a leader realizes that creative and new ideas inevitably encounter resistance. A leader is willing to risk rejection. If his ideas are not accepted, he will release them in favor of new insights, new ideas, and new proposals.
Fourth, a Quaker leader is spiritually grounded, has a spiritual awareness, and is open to spiritual guidance. In short, we expect that there will be a spiritual component to the leadership. If the new chief executive of Credit Suisse Group had said he had no interest in the spiritual aspects of running a large global bank, we would have thought nothing of it. If I were to say, however, that I had no interest in the spiritual aspects of being general secretary of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, I would expect that members of the meeting would want to visit with me.
Fifth, a Quaker leader tests her ideas with others to some greater extent than might be expected in the wider world. We expect that new ideas and proposals will be tested with the community (or some portion of it, as may be designated by the community). We expect that the community will have insight, both spiritual and temporal, and that the community’s input is an important aspect of arriving at best possible outcomes.
Sixth, a Quaker leader finds his primary satisfaction in the success of the community, and not in his own personal success. A Quaker leader will be less concerned about his personal legacy than about the strength of the meeting when his or her service is completed. A Quaker leader will find her satisfaction in service to the community, not in personal power or influence.
We need both leadership and community. Leadership without community risks dictatorship, autocracy, self-aggrandizement, and ultimately failure. Community without leadership risks atrophy, disintegration, drift and purposelessness. I would lift up the query, “Have we, as Friends, too often disparaged leadership because we have focused on its potential downside?”
I choose to see the positive potential for leadership. It is a gift. It is one that we need to acknowledge and to honor. It is a spiritual gift. It is an office in the body of Christ. As Plato once observed, “What is honored in a country will be cultivated there.” I think the same is true for leadership in the Society of Friends. If we honor leadership, and the leaders among us, leadership and new leaders will be cultivated. I think our future depends on it.
Avoiding Quaker Burnout
As Quakers we have a moral responsibility to be people of hope. Despair should not be a characteristic of any Quaker. Let’s start with the despair part. As Thomas Kelly so wisely counseled, Friends are only to do that work that they are truly called to by God. That there is no one else to do the work is not a sufficient reason to undertake it: perhaps it will be the vacuum of the work not being done that will call someone to it. Or, perhaps the space left empty by not doing it will generate a new idea about what and how it is to be done.
Not everything we are asked to do is a call from God; sometimes it is a call from a committee out of ideas. We need to learn how to discern a real call, both through prayer and through the wise counsel of trusted Friends.
If we are doing only that work we are truly called to we have lessened the chances that we will experience burnout because we will not be exhausted doing things we are not called to.
|The more pressing the work, the more prayer is called for.|
Next, we need to remember that this is God’s work that God has called us to: It is not our work. Remembering that will allow us to unhitch our ego from the success or failure of the work—we are called to be faithful, not successful. It also allows us to be patient with those who do not have the fervor for the work that we have, or that we think they should have. They are God’s problem, not ours, except as someone to pray for. Knowing that it is God’s work also allows us to reflect that it is on God’s timetable, and not to be impatient with God for having a larger frame of reference than we are capable of.
Since it is God’s work that we do, we would be foolish not to set time aside to be in communication with God about what needs to be done, when, and by whom. Grounding our work in worship and prayer slows us down and reminds us of the points above. The more pressing the work, the more prayer is called for. We might even ask others to undertake prayer for it as well.
If you find yourself becoming impatient or frustrated, that is burnout, and it is your problem, not a problem of the person you are impatient or frustrated with. Make time for fun, creativity, a nap, more prayer.
Now, hope. No, I do not mean optimism or any Pollyanna-ish silliness: those are mere wishes. I mean Hope, which is a gift of the Spirit and grows out of a knowing that we are doing God’s work, in God’s time, and therefore, it can not be other than fruitful, though not for us to know when or how. We know we are embarked on a great work, that God is in the world, available to us, even as we are. When we know that, in our very bones, then we are God’s people, people of hope, and despair finds no home in us. What a radical concept: to be in the USA in the early 21st century and be a person of hope. Go for it!
Robert K. Greenleaf
The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The best test is: do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?
–Robert K. Greenleaf, author, The Servant as Leader
The idea of servant-leadership continues to create a quiet revolution in workplaces. Traditional autocratic and hierarchical modes of leadership are yielding to a different way of working—one based on teamwork and community, one that seeks to involve others in decisionmaking, one strongly based in ethical and caring behavior, and one that is attempting to enhance the personal growth of workers while improving the caring and quality of our institutions. This approach to leadership and service is called servant-leadership.
The words servant and leader are usually thought of as opposites. When two opposites are brought together in a creative and meaningful way, a paradox emerges. However, the basic idea of servant-leadership is both logical and intuitive. Since the time of the industrial revolution, managers have tended to view people as cogs within a machine. In the past few decades, we have witnessed a shift toward the ideas put forward by Robert Greenleaf, Stephen Covey, Peter Senge, Max DePree, Margaret Wheatley, Ken Blanchard, and others who suggest that there is a better way to manage our organizations. Robert Greenleaf’s writings on servant-leadership helped to get this movement started, and his views have had a profound and growing effect on many.
Robert K. Greenleaf
The servant-leader can be effective only where the principle of leading by serving is knit into the whole fabric of the institution.…Everyone who is part of the community must accept the principle in his or her own life. If we do not express that ideal at every level of institutional life, it will serve only to paralyze our leaders further.…Recent Quaker institutional history has shown us that leaders who have tried to be servants have frequently been oppressed by a great many imperious, irresponsible, and capricious would-be masters.…The servant-leader must lead, which means to set goals and directions, to channel energy, to persuade and organize: to wield power.
—Paul Lacey, Earlham College, Quakers and the Use of Power, Pendle Hill Pamphlet, 1982
The term servant-leadership was coined by Quaker Robert K. Greenleaf (1904–1990). Greenleaf spent most of his organizational life in the field of management research, development, and education. As a lifelong student of how things get done in organizations, Greenleaf distilled his observations in a series of essays and books on the theme of “The Servant as Leader”—the objective of which was to stimulate thought and action for building a better, more caring society.
The Servant As Leader Idea
A gift for discernment: can articulate a decision and express it in the spirit of unity (not necessarily unanimity); be clearly committed to the organization’s central values; is able to build and maintain trust among constituents; exercise good judgment; is able to confront others and make unpopular decisions. It is grounded in the spirit of truth and love.
“Friends and their Leaders,” Bruce Birchard, Friends Journal, June 1993
The idea of the servant as leader came partly out of Greenleaf’s half century of experience in working to shape large institutions. However, the event that crystallized Greenleaf’s thinking came in the 1960s, when he read Hermann Hesse’s short novel Journey to the East—an account of a mythical journey by a group of people on a spiritual quest.
|“I call servant-leadership as much as anything else, the golden rule.”|
After reading this story, Green-leaf concluded that the central meaning of it was that the great leader is first experienced as a servant to others, and that this is central to his or her greatness. True leadership emerges from those whose primary motivation is a deep desire to help others.
In 1970, at the age of 66, Greenleaf published The Servant as Leader, the first of a dozen essays and books on servant-leadership. Greenleaf’s servant-leadership writings have made a deep, lasting impression on leaders, educators, and many others who are concerned with leadership, management, service, and personal growth.
What is Servant-Leadership?
I call servant-leadership as much as anything else, the golden rule. Do unto others, as you would have others do onto you. I look at CEOs out there…thinking …they are what’s important. But in the course of my business career, I think arrogance took a back seat to humility. And my appreciation of the people that do the hard work of the company, those that we would call the servants perhaps, the people who get out of bed in the morning and do the world’s work are the most valuable asset a company can have. So it’s not only an idealistic strategy, it’s a great business strategy.
John Bogle, Chairman Emeritus, The Vanguard Group, NBC Dateline, 2004
In all his works, Greenleaf discusses the need for a new kind of leadership model that puts serving others—including employees, customers, and community—as the number one priority. Servant-leadership emphasizes increased service to others, a holistic approach to work, promoting a sense of community, and the sharing of power in decisionmaking.
Who is a servant-leader? Greenleaf said that the servant-leader is one who is a servant first.
Servant-leadership is not a “quick-fix” approach. Nor is it something that can be quickly instilled within an institution. At its core, servant-leadership is a long-term, transformational approach to life and work—in essence, a way of being—that has the potential for creating positive change throughout our society.
Larry C. Spears (www.spearscenter.org) is an author and editor of a dozen books on servant-leadership. He is now president & CEO of the Spears Center for Servant-Leadership.
Holding a Group in Prayer
The practice of holding a group in prayer can be described as a form of eldering, of caring for and nurturing Friends in Spirit-led ministry and accountability. In trying to remember when and where I started holding groups in prayer, I thought of various retreats and gatherings, but was unable to recall a specific first time. Then, while puzzling it out with a friend, I realized that it was what I had done at my home meeting since I started attending there.
|God makes it work.|
From the beginning it has felt normal to start worship with a sense of everyone in the room gathered in a loving embrace, bound together in the vibrant energy of the Loving Friend, and to hold that sense. After a while I often let go of that, and slip into quiet listening, and sometimes of course into fretful list-making and mental grazing.
When called or led to the specific task of holding a group in prayer, whether in a workshop, retreat, business worship, meeting for worship, or committee meeting, I have the sense of going down a very deep well, which feels different than the well I go to in my own worship. Perhaps, as there are many doors to Quaker worship, there are also many wells.
As happens in regular worship, I lose tactile sensation. I know my hands are resting on my thighs, but I cannot feel the contact. It’s not a floating or a numbness; it feels rather like a separation of my consciousness and my body. I can hear what is being said around me, but even when it is funny, something I would ordinarily laugh along with, I feel that I could not laugh if my life depended on it—I’m simply somewhere else. Afterward I feel a sense of reintegration, as spirit and body reunite. I’m aware of feeling simultaneously drained and filled.
Sometimes the task is to hold a whole group, or a group and a facilitator or leader simultaneously, or even a group, the facilitator, and individuals who are in conflict. This may sound complicated and perhaps a bit unnecessarily divisive, but God makes it work. It has become apparent that, whatever has been asked, what I am called to do is to center down with the intention in my heart of praying for all present to feel their hearts opened and opened wider by and to One Love.
Participants and leader-participants report feeling supported, cared for, and strengthened by knowing that someone is holding them in prayer, whether or not that person is physically present. After being held in prayer during a challenging session, one retreat leader gave an astonished report that he had never really believed that that made a difference, and to his amazement he experienced it as a powerful, palpable force.
That prayer can be experienced as healing, centering, deepening. The presence of someone whose sole intention is to pray for the greatest good for all can serve as a powerful reminder that we seek to move in love and unity with the Spirit, each other, and ourselves as we try to discern and follow God’s call.
If you wish to shine like the daylight, burn up the night of self-importance. Dissolve the self like copper in the elixir; dissolve in Him who fosters all existence. But you are bound by the discord of “I” and “We.” The cause of this ruin is this sad dualism.
The Committee on Sufferings
Over the years, Friends have been called to lead by example, living out our Testimonies in our daily lives. Our actions, whether they be nonviolent resistance to war, standing for fair treatment and opportunity for all, or working faithfully behind the scenes in Quaker committees, may speak louder or more persuasively than our words. If we are out ahead of the pack in social reform, the seeds we sow by our witness may not bloom in the observer for many years, and so it is easy to feel alone. We may also find ourselves in more physically dangerous or financially challenging positions than we had anticipated.
Since the founding of our Society, Quakers have been asked to suffer physical and financial hardships for conscience’ sake, but we are not asked to suffer alone. Our practice is to test leadings through the committee process so that our work has a spiritually supportive community behind it. “Committees of Sufferings” were part of the early Quaker structure to share the burdens experienced by Friends staying true to our Testimonies.
|Please remember this avenue for financial help when your conscience leads you beyond your short-term means.|
New York Yearly Meeting’s Committee on Sufferings follows this tradition. It provides emergency relief to those who suffer financially in their fidelity to a Quaker testimony. (Requests for ongoing support for leadings should be directed to NYYM Trustees.)
When a Friend landed in prison in Europe while studying the religious roots of nonviolent social protest and working nonviolently to publicize immigration issues, when Friends resisting war and war taxes suffered as the federal government looked askance at them, and when a Friend needed an ambulance to take him home from Yearly Meeting the Committees on Sufferings stepped in. Please remember this avenue for financial help when your conscience leads you beyond your short-term means.
Members and attenders of NYYM may apply for financial assistance from the Committees of Sufferings. The request should be related to a testimony and should be seasoned by a Quaker body such as the monthly meeting, quarterly meeting, or Yearly Meeting. See the Ministry section of NYYM Web site at for full details of the application process.
Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and
deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything
will be well.
Around New York Yearly Meeting
Earthcare Series at Powell House
“Earth in the Headlines: How Are We Called to Respond?” led by Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Friend Marshall Massey, is the first of several workshops of the new Earthcare Series at Powell House. The workshop will be held March 14–16, 2008.
“Eco-Spirituality and Action” with Angela Manno, April 11–13, 2008. This weekend is based on the eight-week course Angela taught for New York Quarter, out of which the NYYM minute emerged.
“Permaculture: A Toolbox for Sustainability and Beyond” with Ethan Roland, August 1–3, 2008. Principles of Permaculture and hands-on experience for all ages (participants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian).
Further information is available in February InfoShare.
Responsible Adult Presence Workshop
A Workshop on Adult Presences at Quaker Youth Gatherings will be held at Farmington-Scipio Spring Gathering Friday, May 16, 2008, 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m., at the Long Point Camp, Pen Yan, N.Y.
For information see www.nyym.org/events/rap16may08.html.
The Harvest of Prison Worship
On February 10, 2008, several former Quaker prison worship group members and prison volunteers from Scarsdale and Chappaqua meetings worshiped at Morningside meeting in upper Manhattan.
Morningside provided a warm welcome, a beautiful meeting space, a gathered meeting, and refreshments.
At rise of meeting, most of the parolees spoke movingly of their prison experiences, the beneficial effects that Quakerism has had on their lives, and their struggles since being released.
Westbury Meeting Supports Members in YM Service
Westbury Monthly Meeting has been concerned about the gap in communication between those who serve on Yearly Meeting committees and the rest of the monthly meeting. To address this concern, they have initiated a funding line to offer direct support to those Friends in Yearly Meeting service, relieving them of the need to ask for help from the Yearly Meeting budget to attend committee meetings. The expectation is that such Friends will give periodic reports to Westbury about the work they are doing, both grounding their work in the community and informing the meeting about the work of the Yearly Meeting.
There will be a weekend of singing and pot-luck fellowship at Mohawk Valley Monthly Meeting and Liseli Haines’s house the weekend of April 26–28, 2008. All are welcome! There will be a few beds for older Friends, camping and bedrolling space available for others. Bring enough food for one meal and $10 to defray costs for breakfast supplies and extras. We will be singing from Rise Up Singing and Worship in Song. Children are most welcome, but those who don’t want to participate in the singing are the responsibility of their parents. For more information, contact Christopher Sammond or Mary Jacobs.
Supreme Court Won’t Hear Tax-Resistance Case
On October 1, 2007, the U.S, Supreme Court declined to review the war-tax-withholding case of Jenkins v. Commissioner of IRS. As this door closed, another opened. The case can now be appealed beyond the domestic courts and presented to an international human-rights tribunal. Preparations for this next step are now underway.
The supporting amicus brief, submitted to the Supreme Court by NYYM, is under consideration for publication as a Pendle Hill pamphlet. The amicus brief is remarkably readable and may be read at www.cpti.ws/court_docs/usa/jenkins/sc/nyym_amicus/toc.html.
Scarsdale MM is cosponsoring an exhibit, advocating the end of nuclear weapons, at the Maryknoll Society Fathers and Brothers Center, 55 Ryder Rd., Ossining, from March 2–16. Other cosponsors are the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, Pax Christi, and the Maryknoll Society. For more information, call the Maryknoll Society at 914-941-7590, or e-mail juandempsey [at] yahoo.com.
Our Quaker Identity
The Second Meeting of Unprogrammed Quakers in Latin America
May 2–4, 2008
Casa de los Amigos, Mexico City
We invite you to the Second Meeting of Unprogrammed Quakers in Latin America in Mexico City May 2–4, 2008. The first such meeting, in Costa Rica in 2006, began to construct “a sense of Community” among participants from varied meetings and nations.
The meeting provided a space to reflect, to share experiences, to support one another, and to seek clarity with others. It was a time to build, renew, and strengthen bonds among Quakers in Latin America from the silent tradition.
The Unity that Friends found at the First Meeting of Unprogrammed Quakers in Latin America was the base for the desire to hold a second such meeting, in Mexico City, to continue building and exploring together.
We feel called to continue this exploration, to know one another and recognize our community, share experiences, confront challenges, and worship together.
In this gathering we will have the opportunity to work and worship together in Community and in the Light of the Quaker faith in the unprogrammed or silent tradition. We hope that the fellowship will be something very special; a time to reflect, to talk, and to enjoy.
For more information about the meeting, registration and lodging, please write to Paty Constantino or Nick Wright at segunda.reunion [at] gmail.com.
Please note that the meeting will be held in Spanish, and there will be no formal translation.
(More information is available at www.nyym.org/events/latam02-04may08.html.)
April 4–6, 2008
Oakwood Friends School
Spring Sessions this year include intergenerational fun and games, and an inspiring talk by Henry Lickers, a member of the Seneca Nation, Turtle Clan, who invites us to share in “the Mohawk’s worldview [which is] one of integration with the environment and not domination.”
This spring we are again being warmly welcomed by Oakwood Friends School. All the sessions and committee meetings will be held on this beautiful campus, and some Friends will be accommodated in dormitories.
Nine Partners Quarter , which is hosting Spring Sessions, welcomes you to come and participate. Active participation is needed for the life and witness of the Religious Society of Friends to grow. The attendance and involvement of Friends from every monthly meeting ensures that the wisdom of a variety of Friends will be brought to our worship with a concern for business. Then we can report back to our monthly meetings our experience of life in the Spirit.
Two evening programs:
As we look ahead to Summer sessions, whose theme is “Spiritual Community across the Spectrum of Age,” it is appropriate that on Friday of Spring Sessions, there will be an evening of Spirit- filled Games, Song, and Dance for Friends of all ages. This program will be facilitated by Youth Program participants under the care of Friendly Adult Presences. Join in to celebrate Unity in Community—the theme of this Spring Sessions’ Youth Program.
While our young program facilitators set the stage, there will be a brief exposition on The Spirit at Play. Then Quakers get ready to quake! as the Community joins in favorite noncompetitive games, beloved songs and a rousing finale dance. Expect refreshments, laughs, and Friendly faces. The starting time of this event was not available at press time. Request information when you register.
Hosts and guests are encouraged to come for the program, and go home together.
On Saturday evening we have the opportunity to hear Henry Lickers, a member of the Seneca Nation, Turtle Clan. Henry Lickers’ extensive résumé includes being director of the Department of the Environment of The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, a position he has held for 31 years. His talk will be titled “32 Years on the River.”He writes, “The problems of environment and society have been with the Mohawk People of Akwesasne since the first nonnative arrived in North America. The Mohawk’s worldview has been one of integration with the environment and not domination. Akwesasne is a good example of all the problems which have plagued both Native and Nonnative society.The lecture will concentrate on the different points of view between native and nonnative society with concrete examples supplied by the community of Akwesasne.”
Coffee, tea, and munchies will be available Saturday morning in the registration area. We will join Oakwood’s boarding students in the cafeteria for Saturday lunch and dinner, and Sunday lunch. A hot breakfast will be available on Saturday and Sunday mornings. (Oakwood is constructing a new ramp, which will make the cafeteria accessible. Accessible restrooms are located in a nearby building.)
Nine Partners Friends are welcoming overnight guests. Please indicate on the registration form your needs regarding allergies (including animals), stairs, food, and the like. Home hospitality cannot be guaranteed after the registration deadline of March 17, 2008.
Oakwood Friends School has one or two dormitory buildings that are not being used by students. Rooms in these buildings will be available for Spring Sessions attenders. These rooms are very simple—clean but undecorated, with plain painted walls and tile floors. Each has two twin beds. There is one large bathroom on each floor. The charge is $20 per bed per night. Sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels are included. Children may sleep on the floor of their parent’s room at no charge. There is a limited number of rooms, and they will be assigned first-come, first-served.
If you prefer to stay in a motel, there are several within 1.5 miles of the Oakwood Friends School campus. These are listed, with the room rates they quoted to us, on page 8. If you prefer to search for other accommodations on the Internet, Oakwood’s address is 22 Spackenkill Rd., Poughkeepsie, NY 12603.
Children and Youth:
Plans are underway for a program for teens, themed Unity in Community,and a separate program for 9- to 12-year-olds. Look for more information in InfoShare. Please indicate on the registration form the names and ages of youth who will be participating, as well as of younger children who will need childcare. Childcare will be available only if requested in advance.
Metro North and Amtrak both stop in Poughkeepsie. To arrange to be met at the train station, please contact Karen Snare, karensnare [at] aol.com or 845-677-3021.
Meeting and display space:
Requests for committee meeting rooms or space for displays should be directed to Lois Pomeroy lpomeroy [at] optonline.net or 845 691-7150. Please make requests by March 17, 2008. Committee clerks should be aware that rooms will be scheduled only if a request is received.
You may register in two ways. Either fill out the registration form online, save it, and e-mail it to hathawar [at] newpaltz.edu or print it out and mail it to Viola Hathaway, 141 Fulton Ave, Apt 112, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603. In either case, please make out your check to NYYM, and mail it to Viola before the deadline. The registration deadline is March 17, 2008.
If you have questions about registration please contact Viola Hathaway hathawar [at] newpaltz.edu or 845-454-6431 For questions about other things, contact Karen Snare karensnare [at] aol.com or 845-677-3021.
During the weekend of Spring Sessions, if you find yourself lost on the way, or need to contact the host committee for other reasons, you may call 845-242-1709.
(as known at press time)
|5:30 P.M.||Registration begins|
|7:15||Intergenerational games and dance|
|8:30 A.M.||Registration with bagels, coffee, and tea|
|9:00–9:45||Meeting for worship|
|12:00–1:15 P.M.||Lunch and fellowship|
|1:30–3:30||Meeting for worship
with a concern for business
|7:00||Speaker: Henry Lickers|
|9:00–10:30 A.M.||Meeting for worship
with a concern for business
|11:00–12:00||Meeting for Worship|
|12:15 –1:15 P.M.||Lunch and farewells|
Oakwood Friends School
22 Spackenkill Road
Poughkeepsie NY 12601
From I-84 takeExit 13—Rt. 9 North, and follow Rte 9 for 9½ miles. (Look for Miracle Ford—cream-colored building, blue roof—on the right and move to the right lane when you pass it.) Take the exit to “Spackenkill Rd.—Rte 113”. The ramp will merge onto Spackenkill Rd. and the entrance to Oakwood Friends is 500 feet on the right.
From Manhattan or Bronx: Take the Hutchinson River Pkwy. to I-684 north, to I-84 west. Exit at Rte 9 North, and follow directions above.
From Long Island: Take White-stone Expressway across the Whitestone Bridge—Rt. 678; this becomes the Hutchinson River Pkwy. Follow directions from Manhattan.
From New Jersey: Take the Garden State Pkwy. or I-287 to NYS Thruway (I-87) north. Take Exit 17 (Newburgh) to I-84 East, cross the Newburgh Beacon Bridge, continue east to Exit 13—Rt. 9 North, and follow directions above.
From Upstate New York: Take NYS thruway South to exit 18 (New Paltz), go east on 299, 6 miles to Rt. 9W south. (This is a t-intersection.) Turn right, go about 2 miles, and follow signs to the Mid-Hudson Bridge toward Poughkeepsie. Cross bridge, staying to the right, and exit immediately onto Rt. 9 South (toward Wappingers Falls). Follow Rt. 9 south for 3.5 miles to “NY 113 Spackenkill Rd” and take that exit. (It’s just beyond the overpass.) The ramp will merge onto Spackenkill Rd. and the entrance to Oakwood Friends is about 1000 feet on the right.
Motels Near Oakwood Friends School
All of these are along South Road (Route 9). Quoted rates are per night and, except for the Super 8, are from the motel chain’s Web site.
Super 8 (about ¼ mile from campus)
2349 South Road, Poughkeepsie NY 12601
One double bed $75.00; two double beds $85.00
Econo Lodge (about 1 mile from campus)
2625 South Road, Poughkeepsie NY 12601
Courtyard by Marriott (about 1 mi. from campus)
2641 South Road, Poughkeepsie NY 12601
$89.00 with 14-day advance reservation
Best Western (about 1½ mi. from campus)
2170 South Road, Poughkeepsie NY 12601
$127.49 with 7-day advance reservation
Holiday Inn Express (about 1½ mi. from campus)
2750 South Road, Poughkeepsie NY 12601
Reservations toll-free 888-465-4329
Local number 845-473-1151
This column is prepared from information about membership received from the local meeting recorders.
Laura Anne Goodwin—Chappaqua
Adrianne Ellen Pierce—Chappaqua
Elizabeth Root—Perry City
Greta Mickey, to Central Finger Lakes, from Bulls Head-Oswego
Kirsten Richardson, to Chatham-Summit from North Somerset & Wiltshire Area Monthly Meeting (UK)
Thomas Rowe, from Rahway-Plainfield, to Chatham-Summit
Gertrude Sloan, from Rahway-Plainfield, to Chatham-Summit
George Badgley, member of Butternuts, on February 26, 2008
Margaret Chadwick, member of Manasquan, on January 29, 2008
Cheryl Cuyler, member of Stamford-Greenwich, on February 15, 2008
Morton Kahn, member of Poplar Ridge, on December 3, 2007
George Roe, member of Manasquan, on December 1, 2007
James Lewis Roser, member of Chatham-Summit, on January 12, 2008