My visit to Quip
The first thing that I discovered was how diverse the membership of QUIP is. They have two co-clerks, one English and one American, and two treasurers, again, one English and one American. They rotate their annual meetings between England and various parts of North America in some more or less regular pattern. There were participants from all branches of North American Quakerism. What was most gratifying to me was that these people all got along with each other. No one questioned the theological beliefs on anyone else and they were able to focus on the work at hand.
I was able to have informal conversations with people from yearly meetings in FUM. It is clear that there are a range of views in those yearly meetings. At the level of the FUM board the yearly meetings are sometimes seen as discrete entities that speak with a single voice on various issues. The reality is much less simple than that. There are liberal and evangelical voices within many yearly meetings.
The other thing that was clear was that when Friends do have common interests and are sharing in work that is mutually beneficial, they can work very well together. I saw it with QUIP and I have had glimpses of this at the General Board.
Robin Mohr, Gil Skidmore and I were the blogging panel. Gil moderated the discussion and talked a little. Robin and I shared more extensively from our experience and we had a good discussion. One of the themes of the meeting was dealing with electronic media and how to adapt to the changes in the world of publishing. There was quite a bit of discussion of what we bloggers were about and also some of the mechanics. There were also a number of bloggers present who were not part of the panel.
On Saturday we went to Guilford College and visited the Quaker Archives. I was pleased to see people who were excited by questions of how to archive electronic media for future historians. What will happen to the records of Usenet groups like soc.religion.quaker that was one of the first places for the Quaker discussion on line? Do Quaker organizations have a responsibility to archive this against the day that Google stops? What about the Quaker mailing lists that continued the discussion? I am glad that there are people who are thinking about these things.
In conjunction with this meeting the editorial board for the QUIP Youth Book project met. On Saturday night the editorial board had a panel in which they introduced themselves and what they hoped for from the project. One of the questions that they were asked was what qualified them for their position on the board. Their responses were pretty awesome.
As I listened to them I remember that it was when I was a Young Adult Friend that I first experienced the power that can happen in meeting for worship. I had my first experiences of trying to live a faithful life. I also first became frustrated that the adult meetings just did not seem to get the treasure that was in their midst. They seemed to be content with just a bare shell of what they could have. In fact I still have that same frustration today.
As is often the case, the best part of the meeting was not the formal program but the opportunities to speak with a variety of Friends from different backgrounds and to get to know them a little better. I had the opportunity to meet fellow bloggers C. Wess Daniels and “Elizabeth Bathurst”, the Quaking Harlot. And while looking up these links I discovered that Sarah Hoggatt is a blogger, too. All in all it was a favored time.
The question I am left with is this: How can we be publishers of truth in this changing world?
Blessings to all,