Tuesday was my last day of working for Friends Center at Guilford College. A lot of people are asking what I will do next.
Here is my answer: I am taking a leap of faith and embarking on creating a new Quaker ministry! I am working to start a network of Quaker campus ministries on non-Quaker campuses in the United States.
This idea has been floating around in my mind since I interned with Princeton University’s Office of Religious Life during the last year of seminary three years ago. During my internship, I started a Quaker student group to worship with weekly.
I was surprised at who came to the group. There were several students who grew up identifying as Quakers, while others came who did not identify as Quakers, but they went to Quaker schools growing up and they cherished and missed the weekly meetings for worship. Then there were occasional visitors who were intrigued about Quakers.
Over the years, I have been involved in a lot of conversations about Quaker renewal and how to grow the Religious Society of Friends. None of these conversations have involved
talking about working with college students on college campuses. While I was a student at Princeton Theological Seminary, many of my classmates talked fondly of their denominational campus ministry and that helped them to discern their call to ministry. At the same time, I know of several Quaker leaders who came to Quakerism during college at non-Quaker institutions, but we do not have any network or coordinated effort to assist Quaker students or students who may be interested in Quakerism at these institutions.
I envision creating a network of campus ministries to help reach young adults at non Quaker higher education institutions as well as creating resources to help Quaker students and Quakers in general support campus ministries in their area. My hope with creating this network is to support Quaker students at non-Quaker institutions, develop future Quaker leaders, and to reach college students who would be interested in Quakerism if they have the chance to hear our messages.
For the next year, with the help of my family, I have been released from full-time work to pursue setting up this network. Also I have a support committee from my meeting, First Friends Meeting of Greensboro, to support me in this work.
You can help me with this effort by helping to identify:
- Quaker students you know at non Quaker institutions
- Quaker student group at non Quaker institutions
- Quakers who have a leading to work with college students
I welcome any help, input, and prayers as I take this next step! I am scared and excited at the same time!