FWCC World Gathering: Thoughts on my Thread Group options

The thread groups for the FWCC Conference in Kenya have been posted and I am completely conflicted. Good thing I don't have to sign up for them ahead of time. The thread groups will happen over the course of three days and I have the option to take two.

Do I want to do lectio divina lead by Friends from Iowa Conservative and Pacific YM? I've been leading lectio divina somewhat awkwardly in the Meeting for Theism with Attention to Jesus group, and it might be imminitely practical for me to explore how other people do it. It's interesting and might be useful, but at the moment, it doesn't seem all that exciting.

What does have me excited is the thread group on Eschatology and Utopias. Let's do some theology! About Revelation! And Millenialism! From a personal, intellectual and spiritual level, I think this might be the most benefical for me. Nobody ever wants to delve deep into this stuff with me and so much of early Friends theology is based on this sort of New Creation/Second Coming stuff. The old rules don't apply because the Kingdom is now. Clearly, this is my first choice.

But if my first choice is the thing that feeds me, it seems that my second choice should be about what I can bring home to the people who are sending me. And those people are NCYM-C, right? Do they want me to lend my voice as a Young Conservative to difficult conversations about Human Sexuality or how Conservatives fit into the Convergent Friends Movement? Or should I attend a thread group about something that I know nothing about and have no idea how it might translate into my life and work? There's a thread group on translating Quaker and other Christian texts into Indigenous languages in Bolivia. There's another one on Climate Change, Food Security and Deadly Conflict being co-lead by people from SAYMA and East Africa YM.

In part, I think that some of my inner conflict about this is coming from the fact that I don't know why I'm going to Kenya in the first place. I mean, I'm excited to go. And Way has opened for me to go. And other people, who I trust completely, have had the leadings to make this happen for me. But do I know why God wants me in Kenya? Not yet. But there's still time. I don't leave for four weeks.

In the meantime: prayer, vaccinations, and buying a raincoat.




I am going to Kenya in about six weeks as one of the NCYM-C delegates to the FWCC World Conference.

I am going because some of my elders took it upon themselves to make this happen for me. From small and large donations, to offers of contacts in Nairobi, to a songbook from an international Quaker gathering that happened in 1983, to letters and messages on Facebook, I have felt so loved and supported in the buildup to this Conference.

All this has lead me to think deeply on the importance of elders. NCYM-C records elders and defines them as such in our Faith and Practice:

In every Monthly Meeting there is a vital and continuing need for a nucleus of Friends who feel exceptional concern for the deeper spiritual life of the Meeting. They will also feel a concern for the encouragement and guidance of the vocal ministry. These, however, are but the primary qualifications to be looked for in elders. Ideally they need, in addition, a considerable insight into character, an alert spiritual discernment, good judgment, and a fund of ready tact and open friendliness - all of these humbly dedicated to a deeply felt zeal for the spiritual growth of the Society, upheld and purified by the power of constant, watchful prayer.

Not everyone that I consider to be my elder is recorded as of yet and I sometimes forget who is and who is not. But there are people in my life who have a concern for the deeper spiritual life of the Society and my place in it. They are universally humble, open, friendly, discerning and they carry with them the weight of a deeply centered life. When one of these people decided that I should go to Kenya, I did not question her or her motivation. I will go where I am sent, even when the message doesn't come directly to me.

I am deeply grateful for the eldership of NCYM-C and will be carrying so much love with me as I travel even further afield.

Elizabeth Bathurst

Oh, right. We have a blog.

So, This blog has been seriously neglected for quite some time. My apologies. I've got a lot of stuff going on, Quaker and otherwise, and I think it may be time to put some of it out there.

I'm leading two separate discussion groups going on at Big Urban Liberal Meeting. One is a neighborhood worship group that meets about every six weeks or so. The other has only met a few times, but is exploring Jesus through a variety of methods. I'm also doing some committee work.

I'm preparing to go to Kenya as a NCYM-C delegate for the FWCC World Conference in April. I'm intending to post updates from my trip here, under the tag SaltandLight.

My non-Quaker paid work is very stressful at the moment, with a massive reorganization and layoffs looming.

I don't know if my renewed intentions to update the blog will rub off on my co-blogger or not, but I'm hopeful.

Elizabeth Bathurst