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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good you are writing again!!