Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting Plenary talks in Richmond, ampoule Indiana, July 28 and 29, 2011. Noah Baker Merrill and Margery Post Abbott will jointly speak on the theme “What Does the Lord Ask of Us?: Our Everyday Ministry of Love and Service”
Thursday Evening, July 28: “Walking Humbly With Our God”
To take up an everyday ministry involves both the inward motion of listening and attending to the Guide and the outward motion of seeking to bring what we hear into our lives and the wider world. In the two plenary sessions this year, Noah and Marge will jointly address some of the dimensions of the call to service as it has become visible in their lives.
Tonight, Marge and Noah will reflect on their very different experiences of listening and responding to leadings to service. Together they will consider ways we can help one another awaken more fully to the Eternal Presence at work among us and be more attentive to the invitation to know more of God. Marge will speak to the sometimes painful process of learning to articulate her glimpses of the Hope that walks beside each of us which was central to her call to ministry. Noah will offer field notes from an unfolding journey of struggle, surrender, and transformation as he seeks to learn and practice faithfulness.
Together, they will engage with the lessons they have found in encouraging and challenging all of us as we are taught to walk in the Way of Love.
Friday Evening, July 29: “To Do Justice and To Love Kindness”
The outward dimension of ministry is not separate from the inward motion, but rather thrives only as we return again and again to the Source. Marge and Noah have been led into very different work, and each has found different sources of inspiration as well as pressures pushing them away from living out the heart of their ministry. This evening’s conversation will contrast two distinct experiences of making visible the walk with God.
In his journey as an activist, aid worker, and traveling minister, Noah has sought to understand, live, and help make visible the invitation to what Quaker mystic and scholar Rufus Jones called Friends’ “prophetic service” – seeking out, living in, and moving from the places where worship and witness meet – in the Religious Society of Friends, among the people of Iraq, and elsewhere.
As her work among Friends grew Marge came to engage with Quakers from the programmed meetings which are the majority in Oregon. She found herself drawn reluctantly into coming to terms with her own hostility towards evangelical Quakers in ways that have opened a much wider vision of who we are and what we are about in the world. In this work she has come to believe that the challenge to love one another within our family of Friends is a crucial witness in a tangled, bitter world.