FGC Central Committee
It's difficult to describe my experience, which makes it difficult to write about. Having recently joined the Publications and Distribution Committee of FGC - which does work with publications and with Quaker Books of FGC and such; it's a Program committee - this was my first opportunity to meet other committee members in person and begin to get a better feel for the work of the committee. With plenty of [shameless] promoting of Whispers of Faith during Central Committee, those Friends who did not already know me began to recognize my name and who I was - something I have not necessarily experienced among Friends, but it was very affirming for me. Feeling connected to and active among the wider body of FGC Friends is incredibly grounding for me, as is seeing Friends with whom I share a deeper connection. Quaker Process, too, was certainly central to my experience these last few days - even after four days of intense Quaker Process among mostly adult Friends (rather than among high school Friends, as most of my previous experiences have been), I do still love it. I love it even more, even. I walked away from Central Committee - or rather, rode in a car, a plane, a bus, a subway, and another bus away from Central Committee - feeling connected, valued, affirmed, and loved on a level deeper than one might usually find out in the "real" world. Though that love does continue even after I take of my name tag and dive back into the "real" world.
I hugged my way into the room where the Plenaries occurred on Thursday night after arriving late, and then hugged my way back out this morning as I left a little early. It was in hugging my way out that the feeling of affirmation and love really hit home for me, and that feeling stuck with me rather strongly during my entire trek back to campus, and lasted almost overwhelmingly until I finally hankered down and did my German homework - and homework is usually quite distracting from the Spirit.
I learned a number of things this weekend, one of which stands out quite distinctly and importantly for me. Central Committee this year approved the formation of a new Program Committee: the Youth Ministries Committee. Being already on Publications and Distribution, I am unable to join this new and exciting committee for the time being, but that aside, I had to reconcile with myself where I stood with Youth Ministries, as it has been a passion of mine in the past couple years. I was soon clear that I needed to learn to put faith into a committee for an issue about which I am passionate, to let go and trust that this committee is just as passionate if not more passionate about Youth Ministries as I am, and that my gifts are needed elsewhere at this time. Feeling that youth ministries is such a deeply important issue makes letting go of my need to be on the Youth Ministries Committee a bit more of an issue, but right now I see it as a situation where I love it so much I have to let it go; this is not where I am led right now. Instead, I currently remain on the Publications and Distribution Committee as one of the youngest members, doing the work of Youth Ministries by creating a more intergenerational environment within this particular committee, setting an example, and working faithfully where my gifts are needed, regardless of my age. I do hope to be as involved as is possible, appropriate, needed, and feasible with Youth Ministries projects as they develop.
I was deeply touched by the passionate presentation of the work of the Ad Hoc Youth Ministries Discernment Committee by the clerk of this committee, Robin Greenler - this was the committee created last year to discern issues and concerns surrounding youth ministries among Friends. She spoke clearly and with much energy of the concerns and experiences of young(er) Friends, and of the work of the Committee; so much that I have experienced/have been experiencing was articulated passionately by Robin during this report, and it touched me deeply. I have so much faith in the formation of this committee, as complicated as forming a new FGC Program committee as such is looking right now, and I'm so thrilled.
Feeling more grounded in the Spirit, more grounded in a wider Quaker community, and excited about the work in which I am now involved, and with the affirming love of incredible and dedicated Friends, I can continue in my collegiate life holding all of this in my heart.
I'm not sure if I managed to capture the way I feel right now and where that feeling came from with this post, and I certainly did not describe all that happened at Central Committee this year, but I needed to articulate something here. More later on this, perhaps.
Love and Light,