By Joann Neuroth
While missing the vitality of past face-to-face events, the School of the Spirit board feels Spirit’s wind under our wings in many ways: Prayerful listening continues to affirm the expanded call to ministry that came to us last year, and we have increased clarity about the clusters of work that might entail. Our generous donors remain faithful to our missing, proving adequate financial resource to explore and expand the new programming we envision: the carefully stewarded reserves from the Abundant Gifts campaign gave us a solid foundation, donor-partners continue to contribute to our annual appeals, and grant sources encourage us onward. We are gratified to see new people and energy being attracted as well: invitations to specific kinds of service in Snapshots have brought volunteers to strengthen several committees. And most recently we have two unsolicited inquiries from people with calls to ministry that our leadings in that vision we’re called to, asking whether we would be interested in nurturing their ministries in various ways. They feel like answers in a year of testing our faith.
All that is affirming and encouraging. The School of the Spirit now calls for your gifts of talent and time. We are now posed for the next critical steps on our Faithfulness Journey.
Our governance board is rising to new tasks. And we’re extremely grateful for Nikki Mosgrove and Scott Wagoner’s willingness to do so – we’re enjoying learning each other’s gifts. We are now looking to grow the Board and seek your insites on your gifts and individuals you may know with appropriate gifts so that we may enter into incubating/nurturing work with additional ministries beyond our current commitments without more capacity than that for eldering, for administrative system-building, for compliance and accountability work, for framing development requests for ongoing support and for grant-writing. All of that (and more) is background effort essential to being “there” for the ministers we support as they step deep into faithfulness in service of deepening the Religious Society of Friends’ contemplative depth.
So we’re humbly asking for your help in two ways: First, we’re about to enter a season of focused prayer, asking for our eyes to be opened to God’s way forward. Please join us and let us know what your hear from your Inner Guide.
In addition to joining us in praying to find the people God has in mind for us, please do one more thing: ask how you might be led to help sustain this ministry yourself. If you believe that the contemplative rhythm of living in the Divine Presence is the root of abundant life and effective engagement in the world, this is the place to get under the weight of that concern in one of many, varied ways, depending on your gifts and abilities.
- Board service: we ask people to step into a call for a 2-year renewable term and could use another 4-5 people. We’re currently meeting monthly for 2 hours on zoom and doing discernment and development work in between through board committees, bringing seasoned proposals to our Meetings for Business. We’d also love to get back to periodic in-person meetings as well when it’s possible. Particular skill/interest sets we’d love to hear about: concern for individual Spiritual Nurture, concern for racial justice and repair as a spiritual discipline, program evaluation and oversight experience, talking matter of factly about money, archive and record-keeping systems, editing.
- Ministry Care Committees: We’re experimenting with non-board members serving as part of the eldering resource to program developers: the current Faithful Meetings committee has a board member and a non-board member working with Mary Linda. This helps maintain liaison to the governance board while not stretching board members to do it all. This could be a way forward if you aren’t able to commit to a monthly meeting schedule.
- Committee service: If our committees grow robust enough to need fewer board members to carry their work, that helps make board members available elsewhere. We’ve recently beefed up Finance and Spiritual Renewal and Community (though board members could still be relieved there). We also need heft on the Development committee and the Ministers & Elders Program Oversight committee. We dream of beginning a “Listening and Learning” committee to solicit feedback from participants and potential participants in our programs … and of gathering a “Communications” committee to get organized about publications, social media and Snapshots.
This is deeply satisfying, part-time, volunteer work, Friends, and can be fit into otherwise full lives. Listen with us for further instructions. God has something new in mind.