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My New Job At Friends United Meeting

This month I begin work with Friends United Meeting (FUM), an international association of Quakers with member churches in North America, the Middle East, East Africa and Latin America. My official title is Interim Communications and Web Specialist. The “interim” part of this means that the job will last from July until December, and we will evaluate at the end of that time whether the position should continue in its present form. This job is in many ways experimental, which excites me; I am a starter, an entrepreneur and an innovator, and I am looking forward to pioneering a new chapter in FUM’s role as a communicator on behalf of and among Friends.

The “communications” part of my job title means that I will be focusing on FUM’s strategic outreach, especially online and social media communications. In addition, I will be collaborating on Quaker Life, one of the most prominent print publications in the Religious Society of Friends.As FUM’s magazine for more than 50 years, Quaker Lifeis probably our most important tool for communicating across the entire association at the present time. This is especially true considering the limitations of internet access in East Africa, where the majority of Friends reside.
The “web” part of my job will be especially prominent in this interim period. I will be working closely with other members of the FUM staff as we roll out an entirely new and re-designed website.The current website was originally set up in 1997, and although the site has had an amazing 15-year run, it is clearly time for an upgrade! I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of this work.
It is an honor to be on staff with Friends United Meeting. My faith is deeply rooted in traditional Quaker faith and practice – including waiting worship, orthodox Christian belief, and Quaker business practice – and, for me, Friends United Meeting represents the beautiful diversity that is possible when we are gathered together in Jesus Christ. Like so many established Christian organizations today, FUM faces huge challenges. As a diverse and multicultural association of Friends, we are stretched almost the breaking point around questions of authority, our understandings of Scripture, our different levels of access to wealth and mobility, and our vision for what the Body of Christ looks like when we are faithful.

Despite these challenges, I hold out hope for Friends United Meeting. At its best, FUM symbolizes what a broad, diverse, flexible and generously orthodox association of Friends could look like. As a member of FUM’s staff, I will be looking for ways to empower Yearly Meetings, local churches and individual members to live out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. As we are gathered together in the living power of God’s Spirit – spanning nations, cultures, races and languages – I am hopeful that FUM can play a vital role in building up the Body of Christ.

In the months ahead, I want to hear from Friends about how FUM can be more vital and relevant, particularly among Friends in North America. For generations, the primary focus of Friends United Meeting has been on foreign mission fields, and we can see the rich fruits of these efforts among Friends in East Africa, Palestine, and the Carribean. Yet there is a growing sense that North America itself needs to be the recipient of a new missionary effort. What might that look like? 

How might the growing strength of Friends in the developing world contribute to a spiritual rebirth in North America? What role do we have to play in this time of great transition for the North American Church? How might Friends United Meeting be an instrument of Christ’s work of renewal and transformation?

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
-Isaiah 43:19

  • Jez

    Good job Micah, in so many ways. I’m looking forward to seeing your and FUM’s progress.

  • At least the site doesn’t look like it’s from 1997.

  • May the flexibility of your path allow you to follow your leadings.

    Thanks for all your great work! Would love to hear more about FUM sometime.

  • One thing FUM could do would be to facilitate a traveling ministry where Friends from other places could minister to North American Friends. This has been done some in the past, but a stronger program in this area could contribute to revitalization among North American Friends.

    And then some videos from their ministry could be posted at the FUM Web site.

  • Steve Olshewsky

    Finding your questions too provocative, so pardon my spurious response:

    “North America itself needs to be the recipient of a new missionary effort. What might that look like?”

    Answering a question with a question, how many people say they have a leading to travel in the ministry, outside their own Meetings?

    As a follow-up question, how many of those people could be well prepared to follow their leading to travel by first developing their gifts within their own Meetings?

    The Religious Society of Friends seems replete with Monthly Meetings, each a greenhouse for individual growth.

    As the individual grows, so too the Meeting is blessed.

    Eventually, the vibrant Meeting cannot help but spillover into other areas of the Quaker (& not so Quaker) world.

    So to answer the question directly, it would look like Monthly Meetings using Clearness Committees for more than membership & marriage.

  • grace and peace of the Lord to you in your new job, Micah. you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    I like Bill S.’s idea about traveling ministry, by the way… maybe FUM could collaborate with YMs who are bringing folks from other lands to North America, already… I realize funds are always an issue….

    e.g. some friends of mine attended YM for the first time (SAYMA, an FGC YM) and were greatly inspired by a Bolivian Friend who was there, presenting….