Last weekend (while still sick) I traveled to Chicago to speak at the Salt& Light events of Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC). FWCC is hosting a series of these events throughout the world in preparation of the 2012 World Conference of Friends which will be held in Kenya. The full theme is "Being Salt and Light: Friends Living the Kingdom of God in a Broken World."
I had/have the honor of speaking with Anne Bennett, a wise and a strong witness for peace. Her bio reads:
Anne Bennett, Britain Yearly Meeting, served as Representative (Director)of Quaker House Belfast. Quaker House was established to provide a place of "quiet diplomacy" where off-the-record meetings of politicians, paramilitaries and members of various communities in Ireland could take place. She served on the staff of the British Friends’ Quaker Peace and Service department. In that role she provided support for the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva and was involved in peace-making in several countries that were experiencing civil war. From Beirut to Burundi, she sometimes found herself flying alone into countries just as the expatriates were being evacuated.
Anne and I spoke last weekend at Lake Forrest Monthly Meeting and at Downers Grove Monthly Meeting, outside of the Chicago area. I had the opportunity to experiment with Biblical story telling and brought the participants back to the turn of the century 100 A.D. as well as back at to be beginning of Quakerism in the 1650's. Speaking on the passage about Salt and Light in Matthew 5:13-16, I helped lay the theological and historical foundation for Anne's stories of being Friends in a broken world.
As I heard Anne tell her stories about working in Northern Ireland and around the world, I found myself hoping and praying that I too may be blessed to witness such transformational experiences. It has been a gift to support her in her ministry while also developing my gifts and voice among Friends.
We travel to Indianapolis tomorrow (I'm just about recovered from my cold!) to speak with Indianapolis First Friends Church. I'm keeping my fingers cross that I can finish all my school work in time and find moments during my travels to keep up with my classes.
Next stop? New Orleans, Louisiana for the Centennial Gathering of the National Council of Churches.