Adventures in Missing the Point

posted on May 7th, 2018

I recently had the privilege of attending my niece’s wedding at Buckingham Friends Meeting House, located in a quaint village just a short drive from Philadelphia.  It was a beautiful ceremony, but it had extra special significance for our family, as we all found ourselves sitting in the very same place and on the very same benches where our very first American ancestors once sat, most of whom were laid to rest in a nearby cemetery.

Established in 1702, Buckingham Friends Meeting served as a house of worship for some of the earliest Quaker immigrants to this country.  Many of them were first generation Christians as well. The Friends movement was still relatively new, but its founding fathers and mothers were slowly disappearing (Margaret Fell died the same year that the meeting was opened). Now it was up to this new generation of Christ followers to carry the torch, faithfully and fearlessly bearing witness to the revolutionary gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in the New World.  And this they did, through great personal sacrifice, some of them giving their very lives in the process.

Sadly, it became painfully clear to me during my visit to Buckingham that the torch had been dropped at some point along the way. As I walked around the meeting house and read through the literature that was most prominently displayed, I was unable to find any direct reference to Jesus whatsoever. And yet it was George Fox himself who declared with great joy, “There is only one, even Christ Jesus, who can speak to thy condition.”

Some might describe this as a classic example of “mission drift.” Others might attribute it to an inevitable process of cultural adaptation and accommodation. I can only summarize my personal feelings that day with one word: heartbreaking. It was as if they were missing the whole point. To borrow from the Apostle Paul, it seemed as though they had embraced “a form of godliness” while “denying its power” (2 Tim 3:5). Correct me if I’m wrong, but were not the first Friends seeking to do the exact opposite?

As we look back over church history, including our own history as a people called Quakers, I would like to think that we might be smart enough to learn from our mistakes so that we don’t have to repeat them. But when I survey the overall health and vitality of the American church in general, and the Evangelical Friends Church in particular, I can’t help but wonder …

  • Like our friends in Buckingham, is it possible that we are devoting so much energy to preserving and protecting our Quaker traditions that we are missing the whole point of the gospel? (cf. Mk 7:9)
  • And are we also in danger of exchanging the very power of God for an empty form of godliness? (cf. 2 Tim 3:5)

I don’t have all of the answers, of course, but I would humbly offer these questions as potential “queries” that each of you may want to share with your congregations as well at some point in the near future.

In the midst of such growing concerns, I must tell you that I am encouraged by what appears to be happening at our two Friends-related colleges and universities here in Mid-America:

  • I recently finished teaching a course on “Spiritual Formation and the Transformational Journey” for students enrolled in the School of Graduate Studies at Barclay College.  The course concluded with a three-day, intensive, face-to-face gathering on the Barclay campus. It was a wonderful, life-giving experience for all of us, and I am deeply grateful to have a small part in helping Barclay continue to fulfill its critical, core mission as a community that is called “to prepare students in a Bible-centered environment for effective Christian life, service and leadership.” 
  • I had the privilege of speaking in chapel at Friends University several weeks ago during their Quaker Heritage Week, at which time the building that houses the graduate school was renamed in honor of John Woolman and Elizabeth Fry.  I was also invited to share this same message with the Board of Trustees during their spring meetings. I couldn’t be more thrilled by recent developments at
    Friends, as the University seeks to return to its roots as a “Christian University of Quaker heritage,” that “equips students to honor God and serve others by integrating their intellectual, spiritual and professional lives.”

During these increasingly dark and difficult days, when the hearts of so many appear to be “growing

 cold” (Mt 24:12), may those of us who are part of the extended family of Friends here in Mid-America “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess” (Heb 10:23) and to our core calling and true identity as faithful Friends of Jesus, remaining ever mindful of the words of our Lord Jesus himself: “You are my friends if you do what I command” (Jn 15:14).

For the love of God, we can’t afford to miss the point.

– David O. Williams, General Superintendent

Jr. High Quiz Season Comes To An End | Friendswood, Tx | 4-28-18

posted on April 30th, 2018
The Jr. High Bible Quiz Finals were held on Saturday, April 28 at Friendswood Friends Church.  Twelve teams from seven churches competed over Matthew 15-28. There was fierce competition, but in the end, Northridge Blue came out on top, taking 1st place.  Haviland Blue finished in 2nd place.  Argonia Blue placed 3rd, and Friends Community ended up 4th overall. 
The standings are as follows:

National Friends Church Multiplication Conference | August 1-3, 2018 | Barclay College

posted on April 24th, 2018
The National Friends Church Multiplication Conference is a gathering of evangelically-minded Friends leaders, students, and others who have a heart for church planting and who want to be faithful to do our part to fulfill the Great Commission through the Friends Church. The 2018 conference will feature inspirational messages, best practice workshops, and time for fellowship and synergistic networking with other forward-looking Friends from around the country.  Recognizing that it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people, a number of different methods and approaches will be discussed.  This conference will be informative, stirring, and help us refocus on God’s call with a “gates of hell shall not prevail against it” passion.  Christ is in the process of building His Church.  With God’s help, we need to prayerfully consider how we might shed a maintenance-mentality and stir up a strategic church multiplication movement among evangelically-minded Friends!  
 
The featured speaker at this year’s conference will be Dave Ferguson, lead pastor of Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois, and president of the Exponential Conference, equipping church planting leaders around the world. He is the author of The BIG IDEA (2007), Exponential (2010), On The Verge (2011), Discover Your Mission Now (2013) and Finding Your Way Back To God (2014). Dave will come with a special message for Friends you won’t want to miss!
 
For additional information contact: 
Jim Le Shana, Chair of the NFCMC Planning Team 
Work: 620-862-5252
Cell: 337-7596 

Leach Graduate Scholarship | Deadline to Apply June 1

posted on April 23rd, 2018

The purpose of the Leach Scholarship Endowment is to assist students who are members of the Friends Church and who are involved in graduate studies in preparation for ministry. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, pastoral ministry, missionary service, Christian education and youth ministry. Enrollment is not limited to specific institutions; however, those with an evangelical orientation will be given priority when reviewing applications for scholarships.  The application deadline is June 1.  Additional information on the Leach Scholarship, including an online application, can be found on the EFC-MAYM website: http://www.efcmaym.org/leach-graduate-scholarship/.

Leadership Institute, May 7 | Evangelism and Outreach

posted on April 19th, 2018

I am eagerly anticipating Alan Amavisca’s teaching the Leadership Institute course on Evangelism and Outreach. The first class in this course will be May 7, 2018. We all know that for the Kingdom of God to become realized “on earth as it is in heaven,” the Church needs to reach out and evangelize. This is our call from Jesus, who invites us to follow Him as His disciples. As Alan enables us through his teaching to fulfill Christ’s call, he will give us a strong Biblical foundation for evangelism, outreach, church planting, church multiplication, and disciple-making.

We are very blessed that Alan Amavisca will be our teacher. He has given his life to the ministry of church multiplication, evangelism, and disciple-making. Alan spent fourteen years as a missionary/church planter in Central America, ten years as a pastor on the Yorba Linda Friends Church ministry team, and then nine years as Director for Missions and New Church Development at Evangelical Friends Church Southwest. He has also served at length on the boards of PMI (a Latin American mission to the Islamic world) and Solidarity (an incarnational ministry serving migrant populations). His current role, as the Director of North County Project, allows him to focus on grassroots disciple-making: both with emerging young leaders in the church (in a learning community called The Lab), and with unchurched people who want to know more about Jesus. Alan and his wife, Barbara, live in Placentia, California and have four children: Andrea (and her husband, Scott), Aaron (and his wife, Melissa), Kirsten (and her husband, Jordan), and Stephanie (and her husband, Chad), as well as six grandchildren.

Our desire is to make the Institute classes available to as many Friends as possible; therefore, we have many sites where you can join in live, for the interactive discussion with Alan. Locations where you can interact with Alan and other Institute participants are: St Paul, MN Friends Church (at the home of Kumar Tamang, with Friends from Nepal and Bhutan), Canadian Yearly Meeting (Montreal Monthly Meeting at the home of David Millar, and the  homes of Paul Etienne Mungombe  and Jonathan Esongo, Friends from Congo), (Quebec City Meeting with Musato L. Dems and Alphee Ndahond, Friends from Congo), All Nations (formerly Sudanese Community) Friends Church in Omaha, NE, Palmer, Alaska (at the home of David Miller), Noatak, Alaska (Robert Sheldon, Superintendent), Louisville, KY Friends Church and Stone Mountain Friends Church in Atlanta (with Friends from Rwanda and Burundi), Samson Retnaraj (EFM missionary in Nepal), Mncedisi Nkomo (pastor in Zambia), James Nduwayo (pastor in Rwanda), Faniyi Paul in Nigeria, Amuri Edouard with African Friends in Chicago, Anthony Moodie Pastor at the Dover Friends Church in Jamaica, Mary Carter-Haynes Pastor at Amity Hall Friends Meeting in Jamaica, Linnette Moodie, a Friend in Jamaica, Kickapoo Friends Center, Marshalltown Friends Church, Indianapolis, with Steve Turner, Lighthouse Fellowship Church (at the home of Jerry and Mary Louthan), Friends Community Church (Angleton), Neighborhood Friends Church (at the home of Tom and Bonnie Bousman), Friends Ministry Center (Wichita), Bangor Liberty Friends Church, North Newton (at the home of Merl and Eunice Kinser), Bethel Friends Church, Fowler Friends Church, New Hope Friends Church, and  Barclay College (Jackson Hall).

We recognize that everyone is not available at the time of the meeting, so Drew Davenport will upload the video-recorded session (usually within three days) to YouTube. Thanks, Drew. Click on this link to see and listen to Alan.

I assure you that you will be grateful to learn from Alan, when he teaches Monday, May 7, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. central time.

– Dave Kingrey, Director of Leadership Institute

The Primacy of Prayer

posted on April 19th, 2018

In his introduction to The Journal of George Fox, Quaker statesmen William Penn makes this fascinating observation regarding the enduring legacy of the man now known as the founder of Friends: “Above all, he excelled in prayer.”

This emphasis on the primacy of prayer in the life of our spiritual forefathers should come as no surprise for those of us who aspire to be faithful friends of Jesus in our own time and place. We follow a praying Savior, after all. According to the Gospel of Luke, often referred to as “the praying gospel,” nearly every transformational moment in Jesus’ life and ministry took place “as he was praying” (cf. Lk 3:21; 6:12; 9:16; 9:18; 9:29; 10:21; 11:1; 22:32; 22:44; 23:34; 23:46; 24:30; 24:50).

I have been following Jesus for more than 40 years now, and I must confess that I have found prayer to be the most essential and most challenging of all the spiritual disciplines. But what has helped me most in recent years is the discovery that prayer is not limited to a few, specific methods or models that are unique to any one Christian denomination or church tradition. As my good friend, Fil Anderson likes to say, “There are as many ways to pray as there are moments in the day.”

Over the years, I have found that the more my prayer portfolio has expanded, the more freedom, depth and joy I have experienced in my walk with Christ. This has also helped me to more readily embrace biblical admonitions to pray in ways that once seemed unattainable, such as “pray always” (Lk 18:1) and “pray without ceasing” (1 Th 5:17). I have found it much more do-able to pray always when I am better equipped to pray all ways, and much more fruitful and effective to pray as I can, not as I can’t.

But perhaps the most life-giving and liberating reality I have discovered on my journey is the fact that we are never alone when it comes to this life of prayer.  Scripture reminds us that God the Father “knows what you need before you ask him” (Mt 6:8), that God the Son “always lives to intercede” for us (Heb 7:25), and that God the Spirit “intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Rm 8:26).

As we learn to pray with God, not just to God, we grow to understand that prayer is simply a matter of staying in the conversation, i.e., continually and intentionally resting in the gracious embrace of our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, the Lover of our souls, the One who longs to communicate with us “face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (Ex 33:11).  And somehow, in the midst of this unfolding friendship with God, we are mysteriously and progressively transformed in such a way that others can actually see in us an imperfect yet increasingly authentic reflection of the very face of God (cf. 2 Co 3:18). As C.S. Lewis has testified, “prayer doesn’t change God; it changes me.”

We will be continuing this critical conversation on the primacy of prayer during our 2018 Ministry Conference, to be held July 26-29 on the campus of Friends University in Wichita. Our conference theme, “Seasons of the Soul: Rediscovering the Ancient Paths of Prayer,” will be enriched by the ministry of our guest speaker, Fil Anderson, Executive Director of Journey Resources, and it will be reinforced through participation in a wide variety of prayer exercises throughout our time together during the 147th annual gathering of the Evangelical Friends Church-Mid America Yearly Meeting.

Please make plans now to join us at this year’s Ministry Conference in Wichita. More details will be coming soon!

– David O. Williams, General Superintendent

Jr. High Quiz | Rose Hill, KS | 4-7-18

posted on April 10th, 2018
The Rose Hill Quiz took place on April 7, 2018 with a total of 10 teams competing. 
Northridge Blue came out on top with 1st place,
Haviland Blue took 2nd
Bethel Blue came in  3rd
4th place went to Bethel Red.  
 
The other teams placed as follows:

5th–Northridge Red and Friends Community

6th–Friendwood Red and Friendswood Blue

7th–Argonia and Haviland Red
 

Quaker Qualities Appeal to Younger Generations

posted on April 9th, 2018

The world is an increasingly complex place. We are constantly bombarded with conflicting messages about who we are and how we should live in the world. We seem to struggle to know how to live well in this rapidly moving, ever-changing culture.

At Friends University, we experience these same cultural messages. As we consider the future, and the role our graduates play in this world, we hope they are encouraged to make our world a better place. And that’s shaping how we educate our students.

To accomplish our goal of preparing graduates to lead, influence and transform our world, we are leaning on ideas that have shaped the lives and faith of our founders, the Society of Friends (also known as Quakers), a Christian community seeking to embody the words of Jesus: “You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:14). These ideas are known as SPICES (simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship). We believe these qualities, along with the grace of God and the incredible education they receive, make our graduates stand out and serve our world for the better.

Simplicity can come in many forms and is about reducing much of life to what is necessary, essential and important. This can come in word, deed, dress or desires.

Peace seems self-explanatory, yet we often struggle to know how to live into it. When we learn to listen, and really hear others, we can better understand, empathize and seek the greater good above our own selfish desires. This leads to a higher level of internal and external peace – which can be contagious!

Integrity. In a world where we often mask our true feelings and self, integrity is a call to be the same person – in all places, to all people, at all times. What you see is what you get. It is a simpler existence that creates more peace – internal and external.

Community is more than just being connected. Research tells us while we are more connected (digitally, virtually), we are more relationally disconnected, and more unhealthy and unhappy, than we ever have been. We are created as relational beings to be in intentional relationships with others. Embracing simplicity, peace and integrity leads us into deeper connections and healthier community.

Equality is a buzzword these days. Yet it highlights an important issue plaguing humanity in most cultures.  Quakers have sought to address this issue from their origin. We are all created equal. When we embody this reality, you can see how it shapes the health of our communities and culture.

Stewardship is an idea and practice that helps us see ourselves as implicated in all things. We are called to be caretakers of the elements of life we encounter. Each of us plays a role. We do not leave the work of taking care of our world and resources to someone else. It is our shared responsibility.

Education will always be important and essential. If we fail to incorporate the SPICES that embody the ways Quakers have sought to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, I wonder where we will end up as a society?

We remain hopeful because this younger generation believes things need to change. At Friends University, we believe the ways we are preparing and equipping the world’s future leaders speaks to the changes our world so desperately needs.

Dr. Guy Chmieleski is campus pastor and dean of campus ministries at Friends University. Friends University is celebrating Quaker Heritage Week April 8-14. This editorial ran in the Wichita Eagle April 6, 2018.

Job Opening | NWYM General Superintendent

posted on March 23rd, 2018

The Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends is seeking a new General Superintendent.  We are looking for a mature, experienced leader to help shepherd our yearly meeting following a time of transition.  The new superintendent will be working with different yearly meeting boards and committees, as well as local churches and meetings throughout the Pacific Northwest, to carry our shared revitalized vision for the future, and to discern God’s leading as we move forward into the future together.  Strong administrative skills, matched with a mature and passionate relationship with Jesus, will be needed to help strengthen the community of faith called Northwest Yearly Meeting.

For more information about NWYM, visit our website: nwfriends.org. The application documents and process can be found there beginning March 30, 2018.  Application deadline is April 30, 2018.

Leadership Institute, April 2 | Final Class on “The Personal Life of the Leader”

posted on March 12th, 2018

David Williams is devout in his intention to counsel and guide us in maintaining the healthiest possible lifestyle as church pastors and leaders, as he teaches our Leadership Institute class on April 2, 2018. Church leadership burnout has reached epidemic proportions, and much of the problem lies in neglect of the leader’s personal and family life. It is far too easy to minister to the people in the church to whom God calls us and neglect our own and our family’s health. But the revealing question is, “How can I minister faithfully to other persons and other families, if I do not care properly for my own life and family?”

David Williams is well prepared to teach us about care of ourselves and our families. He has led numerous retreats and workshops in soul care; he has taught college undergraduate and graduate courses, giving spiritual counsel to students; and as Mid-America Yearly Meeting Superintendent, he has provided spiritual nurture for numerous pastors and other church leaders. He will continue to share with us knowledge he has gained from his experiences, study, and teaching. David has been for many years my treasured personal friend, teacher, mentor, and encourager.  Many of you can testify to the same.

Our hope in the Institute is that as many of you as possible will be able to share interactively with David at one of these sites: St Paul, MN Friends Church (at the home of Kumar Tamang, with Friends from Nepal and Bhutan), Canadian Yearly Meeting (Montreal Monthly Meeting at the home of David Millar, and the  homes of Paul Etienne Mungombe  and Jonathan Esongo, Friends from Congo), (Quebec City Meeting with Musato L. Dems and Alphee Ndahond, Friends from Congo), All Nations (formerly Sudanese Community) Friends Church in Omaha, NE, Palmer, Alaska (at the home of David Miller), Noatak, Alaska (Robert Sheldon, Superintendent), Louisville, KY Friends Church and Stone Mountain Friends Church in Atlanta (with Friends from Rwanda and Burundi), Samson Retnaraj (EFM missionary in Nepal), Mncedisi Nkomo (pastor in Zambia), James Nduwayo (pastor in Rwanda), Faniyi Paul (pastor in Nigeria), Amuri Edouard with African Friends in Chicago, Anthony Moodie (pastor at Dover Friends Church in Jamaica), Mary Carter-Haynes (pastor at Amity Hall Friends Meeting in Jamaica), Kickapoo Friends Center, Marshalltown Friends Church, Indianapolis, with Steve Turner, Lighthouse Fellowship Church (at the home of Jerry and Mary Louthan), Friends Community Church (Angleton), Neighborhood Friends Church (at the home of Tom and Bonnie Bousman), Friends Ministry Center (Wichita), Bangor Liberty Friends Church, North Newton (at the home of Merl and Eunice Kinser), Bethel Friends Church, Fowler Friends Church, New Hope Friends Church, and Barclay College (Jackson Hall).

You may be unable to join us for the live class. If so, you can click on the link below to view the video recording on YouTube here.

You might gather a group in your church to view and discuss the video of David’s presentation.

The living Christ, whose resurrection we will have celebrated in our Easter worship services, is our Divine model for healthy spiritual living. He maintained a rhythm of ministry in the world and retreat to a solitary place for prayer.

Hopefully, you will be able to share with us Monday, April 2, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. central time for David’s last class.

Celebrating the resurrection of Christ, and looking forward to seeing you at the Institute,

Dave Kingrey, Director of Leadership Institute

Friends Multiplication Conference News

posted on March 8th, 2018
 
SAVE THE DATE!
 
National Friends Church Multiplication Conference
August 1-3, 2018
A gathering of evangelically-minded Friends leaders, students, and others who have a heart for church planting and who want to be faithful to do our part to fulfill the Great Commission through the Friends Church.
 
WHO WILL BE SPEAKING: Dave Ferguson – Lead Pastor of COMMUNITY Christian Church in Naperville, IL. Dave loves helping people find their way back to God and starting new churches. Dave also provides visionary leadership for NewThing, an international church-planting mission. He is President of the Exponential Conference, equipping church planting leaders around the world. He is the author of The BIG IDEA(2007), Exponential (2010), On The Verge (2011), Discover Your Mission Now (2013) and Finding Your Way Back To God (2014). Dave will come with a special message for Friends you won’t want to miss!
 
WHAT: The 2018 NFCMC will feature inspirational messages, “best practice” workshops, and time for fellowship and synergistic networking with other forward-looking Friends from around the country.  Recognizing that it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people, a number of different methods and approaches will be discussed.  This conference will be informative, stirring, and help us refocus on God’s call with a “gates of hell shall not prevail against it” passion.  Christ is in the process of building His Church.  With God’s help, we need to prayerfully consider how we might shed a maintenance-mentality and stir up a strategic church multiplication movement among evangelically-minded Friends!  
 
JOIN THE STORY: This conference is an extension of the growing events held in 2013, 2014 and 2016.  Although planners anticipated originally that only 30-40 might attend the first gathering (which would have been a great start), the first conference brought together 100 Friends who affirmed a commitment to support and encourage a church multiplication movement!  Follow-up conferences were demanded by popular request, including this one.  These grass-roots efforts have given birth to a National Friends Prayer Network with a regular newsletter, a website (www.FriendsMultiply.com), an inspirational quarterly “Catalyst Conversation” video conference, and a leadership team of Friends from around the country: Multiplication Catalyst Ministries.    God’s heart is for the world.  Church multiplication is part of His mission.  We sense His leading and want to join Him in this story that He is writing.  But we are still in the toddler stage of development.  We need God’s help, and yours.  We are praying and anticipating that the 2018 NFCMC will help us take those next steps forward together to make a difference in this country and world for Christ!
 
WHERE:  The campus of Barclay College, Haviland, Kansas.
 
QUESTIONS?  Contact:
Jim Le Shana, NFCMC Planning Team, 607 N. Kingman, Haviland, KS, 67059.
Email: jim.leshana@barclaycollege.edu   Work: 620-862-5252   Cell: 714-337-7596
 
Watch for More Information!


Some of the attenders at the 
2016 NFCMC!

A New Monasticism

posted on March 6th, 2018

During this season of Lent, Carol and I have been participating in a weekly online retreat entitled “Into the Wilderness.”  The theme passage for each week is taken from one of the many biblical references to those times when God’s people have been called to spend extended time in the desert, those unusually dry, difficult and dangerous places where, ironically, God chooses to do some of His very best and most transformative work.

One of the original Desert Fathers and a pioneer of the modern monastic movement, Anthony of Egypt (251-356) was called to leave the comforts of home at a young age and go into the vast wilderness that lies between the Nile River and the Red Sea.  There he spent twenty years of his life alone in a cave in an effort to wean himself away from the trappings of an increasingly pagan form of Christianity.  Like so many before and after him, Anthony was driven deep into the desert not out of fear, but out of a desperate desire to discover a purer, simpler and more primitive path of Christian discipleship. 

Abba Anthony emerged from his cave a changed man, passionately devoted to a dynamic ministry of preaching, teaching, healing and spiritual direction. Anthony’s biography, an ancient literary classic written by Athanasius of Alexandria, led many of his contemporaries to reconsider the validity of the Christian faith, including Augustine of Hippo, who went on to become one of the most influential Christian leaders in church history.

More recently, an increasing number of church leaders have suggested that the body of Christ is in dire need of a fresh injection of Anthony’s monastic spirit in our own time and place.  In fact, twentieth century German pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, penned the following statement in a letter to his brother in January of 1935 while attempting to remain a faithful disciple of Jesus during the Nazi reign of terror led by Adolf Hitler:

“The restoration of the church will surely come only from a new type of monasticism which has nothing in common with the old but a complete lack of compromise in a life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount in the discipleship of Christ.  I think it is time to gather people together to do this.”

During these opening days of the twenty-first century, a “new monasticism” has been gradually emerging at the edges of the established church.  These holy experiments in radical Christian discipleship can be found within nearly every Christian tradition, including our extended family of Evangelical Friends here in Mid-America.

Friends of Lawrence (formerly known as Lawrence Friends Church) is one such example. Lawrence Friends Church closed its doors in September of 2014, following a prolonged pattern of increasing dysfunction and decline, in order to allow freedom for Christ to birth a new movement of the Spirit in the local community.  After a sufficient season of “lying fallow,” allowing adequate time for careful assessment and prayerful preparation, a new expression of Christ-centered ministry, Friends of Lawrence, was born in July of 2015.

Friends of Lawrence is now entering into a new and exciting phase in its growth and development as a new monastic mission.  Over the past few years, the foundations of fruitful and effective ministry have been well established through the faithful and sacrificial service of our self-supporting missionaries, Jeremiah and Wendy Williams.  Close, personal friendships have been formed, deeply spiritual conversations have taken place, and the property on the corner of 16th and New Hampshire is slowly but surely being restored to its original beauty.

Jeremiah and Wendy are in immediate need of our prayerful support and practical assistance if this dream of rebuilding a vital center for missional ministry in Lawrence, Kansas, the original headquarters of EFC-MAYM, is to become a reality.  With the blessing of our yearly meeting elders, Carol and I are devoting two weekends a month from February through July to provide personal, on-site support for Friends of Lawrence.  Approximately $40,000 in one-time contributions from individuals and churches must be received by April 1 in order to complete the first phase of the renovation process. 

Would you be willing to pray about what type of personal contribution the Lord may be calling you and/or your local church toinvest in Friends of Lawrence?  Additional information, including an online giving portal, can be found on the Friends of Lawrence website.

– David O. Williams, General Superintendent

Jr. High Quiz | Argonia, KS | 3-3-18

posted on March 6th, 2018
 
Argonia Friends Church hosted the March quiz meet on Saturday, March 3.  Eight teams played a round robin tournament where every team played every team, answering questions over Matthew 15-23.  There were many very close matches and nail biting overtimes. In the end, Northridge came out on top taking first place. 
The other teams finished as follows:
 

Leadership Institute, March 5 | The Personal Life of a Leader – Part 2

posted on February 12th, 2018

David Williams will bless us again in the Church Leadership Institute as he teaches our second class on “The Personal Life of the Leader,” March 5, 2018. We especially welcome David’s teaching, because we live in a time when stresses in society are enormous. We, the church leaders, need to be watchful and take care not to allow external pressures impose upon our personal and family lives. David is devoted to enable us to strengthen and enrich our spiritual lives and overall health amidst the strains and tensions in our culture.

David Williams has a breadth of experience in healthy leadership, as a Friends pastor, as a college professor and administrator at Barclay College, and as a Yearly Meeting Superintendent (Lead Pastor of EFC-MAYM)), and he has been intentional to observe wholesome spiritual disciplines to maintain his own spiritual, emotional, and physical health, while fulfilling his vocational responsibilities. Additionally, his Doctor of Ministry education provided numerous, rich resources from the Bible and Church history, which are helpful in healthy living and leadership. He will continue to share these with us in his commitment to help us maintain the healthiest possible lifestyle and church leadership.

We hope you will join us for the live session, in which we will see and converse with David and one another. Sites where the classes are live are: Kickapoo Friends Center, Marshalltown Friends Church, Indianapolis, with Steve Turner, Lighthouse Fellowship Church (at the home of Jerry and Mary Louthan), Friends Community Church (Angleton), Neighborhood Friends Church (at the home of Tom and Bonnie Bousman), Friends Ministry Center (Wichita), Bangor Liberty Friends Church, Barclay College (Jackson Hall). North Newton (at the home of Merl and Eunice Kinser), Fowler Friends Church, New Hope Friends Church, St Paul, MN Friends Church (at the home of Kumar Tamang, with Friends from Nepal and Bhutan), Canadian Yearly Meeting (Montreal Monthly Meeting at the home of David Millar, and the  homes of Paul Etienne Mungombe  and Jonathan Esongo, Friends from Congo), (Quebec City Meeting with Musato L. Dems and Alphee Ndahond, Friends from Congo), All Nations (formerly Sudanese Community) Friends Church in Omaha NE, Palmer, Alaska (at the home of David Miller), Noatak, Alaska (Robert Sheldon, Superintendent), Louisville, KY Friends Church and Stone Mountain Friends Church in Atlanta (with Friends from Rwanda and Burundi), Samson Retnaraj (EFM missionary in Nepal), Mncedisi Nkomo (pastor in Zambia), James Nduwayo (pastor in Rwanda), Faniyi Paul in Nigeria, Amuri Edouard with African Friends in Chicago, Anthony Moodie Pastor at the Dover Friends Church in Jamaica, and Mary Carter-Haynes Pastor at Amity Hall Friends Meeting in Jamaica,

If one of these locations is inconvenient for you, and if you inform me, I will send the WebEx invitation to you. Or if you prefer to view the video-recorded session at a different time, here is the YouTube link.

We have several people around the world, who participate in the Institute by listening to the recordings.

I am eager to hear David Williams’ counsel on ways to enrich our personal and spiritual lives as Church leaders, Monday, March 5, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. central time.

– Dave Kingrey, Director of Leadership Development

Dust in the Wind

posted on February 12th, 2018

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” I was once a high school student. In fact, I was actually sitting in a theatre in Wichita when these very words from the opening scene of the very first Star Wars movie scrolled across the big screen for the very first time back in the summer of 1977.

Yes, I am that old.

Back in the day, I was a big fan of what is now referred to as “classic rock.” One of my favorite bands was a group called Kansas, made up of six ordinary guys from nearby Topeka. I loved their unique brand of innovative and progressive rock music, but I was also deeply fascinated by their faintly spiritual song lyrics. I later discovered that the band’s founder and main songwriter, Kerry Livgren, had grown up in the church but had drifted away from the faith during adolescence and had begun seeking “truth” in earnest from every imaginable source.

Kansas did not have a ton of big hits, but in the summer of 1977 Kerry wrote a song called “Dust in the Wind” that he reluctantly agreed to include on the album, Point of Know Return. According to Kerry, the song was a very personal reflection of his own spiritual journey at the time. “The lyrics almost spewed out,” he later wrote, “a reflection of my inner despair and longing for something that would not pass away, something eternal.”

The prodigal son eventually found his way back home to the Father’s house in 1980, but it was “psalms” like this one that helped Kerry to translate the deepest cries of his heart into a personal prayer language. Thanks to its beautiful, yet haunting melody and thought-provoking lyrics, the song has remained surprisingly popular over the years.

What Kerry could not have known when he wrote “Dust in the Wind” in the summer of 1977 is that I was at a very similar place in life at the time as well. I, too, was wrestling with “inner despair” and “longing for something that would not pass away.” Thanks to the mysterious and relentless grace of God, Kerry’s honest and transparent songwriting was one of the key influences that also led me to return to the Father in, you guessed it, the summer of 1977.

As we enter together into this season of Lent, a special time set aside on the church calendar for each of us to return to the Father through a process of personal reflection, repentance and restoration, we do so with complete confidence that our good and beautiful God will be with us at each and every step along the journey, including those times when we may find ourselves in places of “inner despair and longing.” And on Ash Wednesday, in particular, when many will receive the sign of the cross on their foreheads as an outward symbol of an inner desire to “repent in dust and ashes,” may we all be reminded of this unshakable assurance:

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love … as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:8, 13-14).

– David O. Williams, General Superintendent

Jr. High Quiz | Chandler, OK | 2-10-18

posted on February 12th, 2018

Chandler Friends Church hosted the second quiz tournament on Saturday, Feb. 10.  The weather was cold, but the competition was hot with 12 teams from 7 churches quizzing over Matthew 15-20.  One match in the very first round went into overtime!

The finals found Northridge Blue in first place. Haviland Blue took second, third place went to Argonia Blue and Friends Community came in fourth,

The other teams finished as follows:

5th–Bethel Red, Northridge Red

6th–Friendswood Red, Bethel Blue

7th–Chandler, Friendswood Blue

8th–Haviland Red, Argonia Red

The next quiz will be in Argonia on Saturday, March 3, 2018

Job Opening | Youth Pastor | Alliance, OH

posted on February 8th, 2018
Youth Pastor, Alliance Friends Church
 
Alliance (OH) Friends Church is looking for someone energetic and excited to work with teens, junior high and senior high. Must have a heart to disciple committed teens for Jesus as well as reach out to those more distanced from church. Inner-city type environment with multi-ethnic attenders. Will join a dynamic ministry team. Ministry degree strongly preferred. Contact Donna Carr Jenkins at   330 685 2223 or email donnacj2532@sbcglobal.net  

New Institute Course on “The Personal Life of the Leader” begins Monday, February 5.

posted on February 1st, 2018

Dear Friends in the Church Leadership Institute for Ministry,

David Williams will be our teacher in the new Leadership Institute course, “The Personal Life of the Leader.” The first class will be February 5, 2018. We all want our churches to be healthy, and we are well aware that the health of the church is directly related to the health of church leaders. You and I are these leaders. So the intended outcome of this series of classes is to enrich the lives and leadership of us, who are the leaders in the church. This includes our spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical, and social life. David Williams is committed to guide us in our quest for the fullest possible health.

David Williams is the General Superintendent (Lead Pastor) of the Evangelical Friends Church – Mid America Yearly Meeting. A graduate of Malone University, with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and Ashland Theological Seminary, with a Master of Arts degree, David earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in Leadership and Spiritual Formation at George Fox Evangelical Seminary, now Portland Seminary. David and his wife, Carol, have been partners in full-time Christian ministry throughout their marriage. They have six lovely children and eight beautiful grandchildren. David has served as a Friends Pastor in the Evangelical Friends Church – Eastern Region, and at Barclay College as a Professor in the undergraduate and Master’s studies, and Director of the Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership – Spiritual Formation Concentration. He has taught college courses in the Bible, Theology, Friends History and Beliefs, and Spiritual Formation. He has written the book, Rhythms of Grace: Life-Saving Disciplines for Spiritual Leaders, published by Barclay Press. This is by far the most helpful book I have read for church leaders on the care of their whole lives: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social, and physical. I recommend that all of us read it. David was our first teacher in the Institute in the Wichita branch, when we expanded beyond South Texas, and has taught numerous times in the Institute since then.

We wish for the greatest number of us to be able to participate in this creative learning experience, so offer the classes at these locations: North Newton (at the home of Merl and Eunice Kinser), Fowler Friends Church, New Hope Friends Church, St Paul, NE Friends Church (at the home of Kumar Tamang, with Friends from Nepal and Bhutan), Canadian Yearly Meeting (Montreal Monthly Meeting at the home of David Millar, and the  homes of Paul Etienne Mungombe  and Jonathan Esongo, Friends from Congo), (Quebec City Meeting with Musato L. Dems and Alphee Ndahond, Friends from Congo), All Nations (formerly Sudanese Community) Friends Church in Omaha, Palmer, Alaska (at the home of David Miller), Noatak, Alaska (Robert Sheldon, Superintendent), Louisville, KY Friends Church and Stone Mountain Friends Church in Atlanta (with Friends from Rwanda and Burundi), Samson Retnaraj (EFM missionary in Nepal), Mncedisi Nkomo (pastor in Zambia), James Nduwayo (pastor in Rwanda), Faniyi Paul in Nigeria, Amuri Edouard with African Friends in Chicago, Anthony Moodie at the Dover Friends Church in Jamaica, Mary Carter-Haynes at Amity Hall Friends Meeting in Jamaica, Kickapoo Friends Center, Marshalltown Friends Church, Indianapolis, with Steve Turner, Lighthouse Fellowship Church (at the home of Jerry and Mary Louthan), Friends Community Church (Angleton), Neighborhood Friends Church (at the home of Tom and Bonnie Bousman), Friends Ministry Center (Wichita), Bangor Liberty Friends Church, and Barclay College (Jackson Hall). If the time of the live class does not meet your schedule, you may view a video recording of the class on YouTube, as many Friends do. Simply click on this link.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzYEkoGfmuLVuFvTuuneAqw

We look forward to the teaching of David, who promises to enrich our health and thus the health of our churches, in which we give leadership. The class begins at 7:00 p.m. central time Monday, February 5, 2018.

Eagerly anticipating our fellowship together,

– Dave Kingrey, Director of Leadership Development

2018 Quiz Season is Underway

posted on January 16th, 2018

The first quiz of the season took place on Saturday, Jan. 13 at Northridge Friends Church.  Twelve teams from seven churches quizzed over Matthew 15-17.  The competition was fierce with many close matches.  In the end, Northridge Blue took first, Haviland came in 2nd, Friends Community placed 3rd, and Bethel Blue was 4th.  

 

(First Place: Northridge Blue)

(2nd Place: Haviland)

(3rd Place: Friends Community)

(4th Place: Bethel Blue)

 

The other teams placed as follows:

5th: Argonia Red, Northridge Red

6th: Chandler, Bethel Red

7th: Friendswood Red, Friendswood Blue

8th: Argonia White, Argonia Blue

The next quiz will be in Chandler, OK  on Feb. 10th

Marvelous Moments

posted on January 10th, 2018

Let me be clear.  I am not, have not, and never will be a fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide.  As a lifelong member of Buckeye nation, cheering for Alabama would be a blatant breach of sports etiquette, second only to marrying a Michigan fan.

I am, however, fully capable of recognizing and appreciating gridiron glory wherever it may be found, even in the most unexpected places.  And so I have to admit, somewhat reluctantly, that what I witnessed during Alabama’s victory over Georgia in this year’s NCAA College Football Championship was a thing of pure beauty.

Just in case you missed it, Alabama was down 13-0 at halftime so they decided to shake things up by replacing their starting quarterback, the guy who got them to the big dance, with a highly touted but relatively unproven freshman from Hawaii by the name of Tua Tagovailoa, who then proceeded to lead the Crimson Tide to a 20-point second half, setting up an overtime showdown with the Bulldogs.  Georgia kicked a field goal on the first possession in overtime, then gave the ball back to Alabama for one last shot at the title.  After Tau was sacked for a huge loss on the first play from scrimmage, I think it is safe to say that nearly everyone watching the game had all but given up hope on the prospects of another national championship for Alabama at that point. Everyone, that is, except Tau.  Against all odds, the pigskin poet from Polynesia calmly took the snap, dropped back into the pocket and threw a perfect, 41-yard spiral to fellow freshman, DeVonta Smith for the game-winning touchdown.  Cue the band and let the bedlam begin.

It was, without question, a truly marvelous moment in sports history.  But what made the moment much bigger, infinitely more meaningful and, dare I say, divinely providential, was what took place after the game was over.  When asked about his performance during the postgame interview, Tau took a deep breath, searching for just the right words.  Having gathered himself, he peacefully and publicly declared to millions of viewers from all around the world:

“First and foremost, I would just like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  With him, all things are possible.  All glory goes to God.  I can’t describe what he has done for me and my family. I just thank God I was put in the place and the position that I’m in now.”

What a marvelous moment indeed.  And what a marvelous testimony to the difference that Jesus can make in the hearts and lives of those who trust in him.

Just to be clear, I share this story not to try and make the case that God will give us national championships just because we believe in him.  I’m confident that Georgia has just as many devout believers as Alabama.  We all must cope with our fair share of devastating losses in life, regardless of how talented, hard working or spiritually mature we may be.  But I also know from firsthand experience that we can become so accustomed to sorrow and loss that we may have trouble recognizing and/or receiving good news even when it slaps us in the face. Worst of all, our dreary demeanor prevents us from giving full glory to God for all of the good and beautiful gifts that accompany us on our journey with Jesus, including every little victory that we experience along the way.

With this in mind, I am compelled to begin this new year by praising God for just a few of the many marvelous moments he has allowed us to share together as an extended family of Friends during the past year, including the following: the official launch of a new church among our Bhutanese and Nepali friends in St. Paul (MN), the hundreds of young men and women whose lives were transformed through our student ministries (including over 400 students and adults who participated in summer camp), the practical assistance provided by Family Promise on behalf of more than 500 homeless people in Greater Wichita alone, the celebration of the Barclay College centennial, the revitalized work of our Texas Area Friends Disaster Service in response to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, the investment of over 200 local church leaders in seven Area Leadership Retreats, the life giving rest and renewal provided by our Pastor’s Sabbath Retreat, the six men and women who were publicly recorded as ministers of the gospel during our annual Ministry Conference, the addition of two new staff members to our yearly meeting leadership team, and the countless examples of newfound faith, renewed hope and healing, recovery from addiction, and fresh calling to vocational ministry that are impossible to measure this side of heaven.

Of course, this is just a small sample of the many marvelous moments that we have had the privilege of witnessing in our midst throughout EFC-MAYM in recent days.  To borrow from the Chronicles of Narnia, “Aslan is on the move.”  May we continue to follow him faithfully and fearlessly in the days ahead, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

– David O. Williams, General Superintendent