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From the Discussion Task Force

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From the Discussion Task Force
What is God calling us to do?
Invitation to hold threshing meetings in preparation for February 16th quarterly meeting
 
by Judy Maurer
 
I was moved by the discussion at the October quarterly meeting about “What does God want us to be?” We listened as person after person stood and spoke with messages of grace, wisdom, sacrifice, openness, faith. The discussion itself had remarkable unity; one of the threads was the implications of following Christ.
 
The follow up question, which we will discuss at the February quarterly meeting, is “What is God calling us to do?
 
The task force for this discussion invites each Sierra-Cascades church to hold a threshing meeting before February 16th to reflect, discern, and listen around this question. These meetings help you know how the Spirit is moving in you and others in your church about the issue. It will also enrich the discussion when we are gathered as a yearly meeting in February.
 
A threshing meeting is about listening to God, oneself, and others gathered; it’s not a meeting to decide and bring a minute. Time is short, especially given the holidays, so please set a date soon that fits your church.

By December 21st, the discussion task force will share queries, guidelines, and possible formats you can use for the threshing meetings so that it will be a positive, inspiring experience. If you’d like, a member of the task force can come and facilitate the discussion. Churches who are still deciding whether to join Sierra-Cascades or not may participate and request a facilitator. Independent members or members who are at a distance can by participate by zoom or other methods. One of the task force members, Jim Teeters at East Hill, has a special concern for nurturing discussions among isolated or individual members of SCYMF.

I’m excited to see what the threshing sessions bring forth! In my own prayer and reflection on the question, my husband Johan alerted me to a passage in Ephesians 4. I’m intrigued that so many of the issues in the question “What is God calling us to do?” are in that passage:
 
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

The questions in the verses include:
  • “What shall we - Christ’s people -  do to equip ourselves?”
  • “What will be our works of service?”
  • “What will we do to build up the body of Christ?”
  • “How do we help each other increase in the knowledge of the Son of God?”
  • If Christ has given SCYMF apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, how do we  nurture them? How do we help them - us - attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ?”
I especially love the last bit of this passage – about how WE become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. It’s not me or you alone, it’s us. And it’s one of the many scriptures that unite social justice and faith  –  reflecting the many times Jesus called his audiences to sacrificial social justice. 

The question before us at quarterly meeting will be “How do we begin in the goal of reaching, as one body, the whole measure of the fullness of Christ?” 

It is a tall order – and we are honored and delighted to be engaging with you about it!  Come join us on February 16th at West Hills Friends Church in Portland.
 
Task Force members:
Judy Maurer, Clerk (Camas) - judypdx@gmail.com
Sarah Katreen Hoggatt
Promise Partner (North Seattle)
Julie Peyton (West Hills)
Sue Scott (Eugene)
Jim Teeters (East Hill)

Announcements

Frank Granshaw is giving a presentation about an upcoming trip to COP24 (this year's United Nations climate conference in Poland). The presentation is scheduled from 7-9 p.m., Friday, January 18, at Multnomah Monthly Meeting and will lead in to a more general discussion about how Quakers can tackle the climate issues we are now facing. To broaden the conversation, they are inviting other Quakers to join them. Click here for the Background and Questions document Frank has prepared.

Quarterly Gathering will be at West Hills Friends Church on Saturday, February 16, 2019. Our next annual session has been scheduled for May 24–26, 2019.

Reedwood Friends Church, Portland, Oregon, is seeking applications for the position of full-time pastor.  Reedwood is an urban, Christ-centered, multi-cultural church that welcomes all seekers of truth.  Until recently Reedwood was part of Northwest Yearly Meeting, but it is now an independent Friends Church of approximately 70 affiliated persons. Applications may be made by sending a cover letter, CV and written statement showing personal commitment to Quaker values and testimonies to Susanne Christopher, Clerk, pastoral search committee, jobs@reedwood.org. To see the complete job description, click here https://reedwoodfriends.wordpress.com/

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