By Mary Linda McKinney
Coddiwomple: “To travel purposefully in a yet unknown destination.”
When using a map, you know where you’re heading and you can plan your route. Although the purpose is the same – to get from where you are to where you’re going – a GPS is a very different tool. With a GPS, you input your destination and your route is calculated for you. The big picture is not given, only the first small segment. Upon completing that segment, you are shown the next piece…and the next…and the next…until you arrive. When you deviate from the route, you are given “recalculating…recalculating” until the GPS catches up with where you are and offers a new next segment to get you back on track.
It has been my experience that God often acts in the role of my Divine GPS and that is the case right now. Rather than “coddiwompling”, I have been given a leading to create a program that does for Friends Meetings what the School of the Spirit program “On Being a Spiritual Nurturer” did for individuals. One step at a time (“live up to the Light thou has…”) God is showing me what Faithful Meetings is to be (“…and more will be granted thee.”).
My steps do not yet feel purposeful; they feel more like the careful steps one makes on a slippery surface. I’m walking in the Light like a spiritual penguin as I move toward a destination that feels both sure and also not completely clear. But I know my Divine GPS, who has a kind, encouraging voice that never sounds brusque when giving directions nor exasperated when I miss a turn, is with me. I have rarely done anything this big and broad before so I need the steadying presence of my beloved Holy Navigator as I learn to trust my steps. I am grateful and very humbled to be invited to make this journey. I hope to meet some of you on the way and look forward to getting to know many others at our destination.
Faithful Meetings program is grounded in the belief that spiritual deepening should, and can, begin at home. Through Faithful Meetings, Friends meetings and churches will be provided opportunities to build spiritual and emotional bonds between members, learn about and engage in corporate and individual Quaker spiritual practices, and explore how to listen attentively and surely for the “still, small Voice” which guides each and all toward wholeness.
Bittersweet Moment: June 2021
It was with a mix of emotions that I signed my “Independent Contractor Memorandum of Commitment between The School of the Spirit Ministry (SotS) and Mary Linda McKinney” today. I am now officially the Program Developer for Faithful Meetings program. I’m excited to engage in work that feels timely and important. I’m humbled that my call to spiritually nurture Friends communities has been affirmed and is being supported by School of the Spirit with loving care. I’m kept low by holding in the Light my feelings of being inadequate for this endeavor… to which God responds with the next small task and the tools I need to accomplish it. I’m edified and sometimes elated to be learning what I need to know and meeting the folks God wants me to meet. But becoming an Independent Contractor with The School of the Spirit also means that I can no longer serve on the ministry’s governance board and that makes me a little weepy.
I joined the governance board in 2016 and was invited by Joann to become her co-clerk in 2019. I have loved being a board member and feel rightly used in this service. I have felt that my gifts meshed well with SotS’s needs so that my unique way of seeing things provided a welcome perspective about the work SotS is called to do. Joann and I are a good team, her administrative leadership harmonizing well with my intuitive trust that the Holy Spirit is our guide. I have enjoyed and been nurtured by the effort we’ve put in together and I will miss partnering with her. I’m clear, though, that all the prayer, worship, conversations and hard work that we and the other board members, Jan, Catherine, and Judy engaged in over our “sabbatical year” brought us to this moment. I’m grateful that they, and our newest board members Nikki and Scott, brought us to this moment. I’m grateful that they have been able to affirm this call for our organization and with it my transition from board member to minister. My heart is overflowing with gratitude to be part of an organization that is entirely centered around seeking the will of the Divine and helping others learn more surely how to do so.