Living Our Ministry in a Secular World – Retreat, March 17-19, 2017

Facilitated by Marge Abbott and Honor Woodrow

Apparently insignificant gestures, such as not tipping a hat, can have far reaching consequences. Is the grand gesture a necessary act of faithfulness and when is it right to be obedient in the small actions of daily life? Friends whose religious faith grounds their work in the world often encounter secular organizations which leave them feeling frustrated or isolated. What might happen if we develop a more ecological orientation to ministry, celebrate the everyday motions, and see how they might grow the strength and the community to sustain a public witness of our faith as it undergirds our work in the world?

We are each called to be faithful, to take up whatever cross is ours to carry. Noticing and attending to God’s call to service that is potentially there for all of us is at the heart of life among Friends. How do we find our base community that helps spread the vision and provide accountability? How do we develop the daily disciplines that aid in sorting through the anger that may surround us and avoiding the isolation that can cut us from our roots? How do we find ways to avoid getting caught up in pressure to be successful in the world’s terms?

We can stand with each other and hear our agonized cries, and we can testify to the sustaining joy that fills our hearts. We can bless each other as we walk together, reminding each other of the flavor of the divine touch that sent us on this path, as we acknowledge the false steps and the helpful learning — the despair and the hope — which have brought us thus far.

Our hope for this weekend is that we might raise up the everyday ways in which our lives are intertwined and knit together in and with Christ’s Spirit. May we better be able to go forth into the world bearing witness to the Inward Guide in ordinary actions as much as in radical proclamation.

The Friends Center in Barnesville, Ohio, is a retreat and conference center for exploring Christian unprogrammed Quakerism and its meaning today. It is rooted in Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative).

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