This installment for “The Bell” will be a little bit different. Usually, I try to have a devotional or some type of teaching in this space, but this month we are going to focus on what’s happening in the YM, some issues the YM is dealing with, and a discussion of what took place at the recent IAYM Ministry Conference.
My house in June was consumed with summer camp at Camp Quaker Heights. Kellen and Nate each attended camp. Kellen was a counselor in training for the Elementary camp. Robin was a Co-Director for the Elementary camp. Camp this year for the IAYM was an obvious success. Each of the camps increased attendance this year. Reviews and critiques from campers, parents and staff were universally more positive than in recent years. We had many who were first time attendees at camp that were very impressed by their experience. The Elementary camp had 73 kids in attendance. This does not mean that we can’t improve. Next year the Jr High and High School camps will be separated. Dates for the High School camp will run over a weekend to ensure more attendance.
With camp ending in June we rolled into July and members of the IAYM youth attended a mission trip in Chicago from July 13-19. There were six jr high and high schoolers who attended. They were from Bangor Liberty Friends, Grinnell Friends and Fairfield Friends. Four adults traveled with the group and worked with them throughout the week. During this time they presented a VBS program for the community where they were working, worked at a homeless shelter serving meals, and spent time just hanging out with another group from New York. We should all be very encouraged by and proud of the youth that took this trip. Our kids are listening, they are trying to be light in a dark world.
At the end of July, the IAYM Ministry conference was held in Oskaloosa. Attendance this year was clearly down compared to the four previous years. I wish I could give you definitive answer as to why that was the case. The best I can come up with is that the people who see the importance of the Yearly Meeting are getting older and are unable to attend as they once did. We have done a poor job in raising the younger generation to see the importance of the Iowa Yearly Meeting. What was once seen as a time for families to travel and see old friends to spend a few days in fellowship and encouragement is now viewed as a time for business meetings and talking about what once was.
There was business conducted at the Yearly Meeting. Quakerdale’s ongoing transition to dealing with a changing landscape was discussed as they struggle to maintain Josiah White’s intent in founding the organization. The Youth and Young Adult Board discussed their growing pains as they begin the ministry year without a Yearly Meeting Director. This will cause the board and its volunteers to have a more hands on approach to camps and to the ministry of the youth and young adults. Continuing on the path of change or transition, the IAYM has made changes to “The Discipline” to clarify some language and remove some ambiguity that existed. Many see this as a longer, or multi-year, process. A good deal of the discipline had not changed since the 1970s. As most of us can attest there have been seismic shifts in the culture and in the church during that time. These changes along with the revised mission statement and plans to develop a core principles statement are all steps to provide a church body with clarity as we attempt to engage a culture that grows darker every day.
There was a good deal of discussion concerning what external bodies and organizations the IAYM should or should not associate with in the future. This is not something that is new. The IAYM has been having this discussion since the mid-1970s. Throughout Friends history we have been involved in issues that confront the culture in which we live. From the “Radical Reformation” of the 1640s and 1650s, the American Revolution, Abolition, the Industrial Revolution, the fight for civil rights for all and the opposition to man’s unending desire to war against his fellow man, we have always been involved in issues of the culture that are biblical issues. In doing so we have aligned with lobbying groups and others that we felt had the same convictions and goals, such as, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Friends World Committee for Consultation, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Friends United Meeting (FUM). Overtime some of these groups, while they maintained their view on social issues they drifted away from our common biblical views. Some of them today no longer have a Christian based view of the world or their mission. In some cases they have embraced a secular attitude towards issues that the church cannot share. These are just some of the discussions that will continue for years down the road. As Friends we are famously slow in coming to a determinative consensus on big issues and I see no reason this won’t be the case in this instance.
So in finishing up this month, it was not my intent to give you all doom and gloom for the future. Because the future is as bright or brighter than it has ever been. Our youth are engaged, our church is engaged, we have a great deal to be excited about. Remember, revival has never taken place in the church without difficult times. Just as trials and tests in your life bring about growth and faithfulness, so trials and tests of the church as a whole bring about growth and obedience to our Lord. The future of Bangor Liberty, the IAYM and the Body of Christ is a bright future because every day we move closer to a day when “every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father
9 Deeper in the Spirit in Oskaloosa
10 Christian Ed 8:30a
17 Pot luck meal Comm A (Rick & Sue H)
21 Liberty USFW 7:00p Hostess: Sharon J
23 Winter Family Banquet in Oskaloosa
8 Blizzard Blast (5th-8th Grade) in Marshalltown
15-16 Ignite Conference in Des Moines for High School And Youth Workers
LIBRARY LEDGE – Inspirational People
Wore out from the holidays? We have books by inspirational people, as well as about inspirational people. Grab a good book from our library and relax.
We have two new books by Billy Graham: Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond and Hear My Heart: What I Would Say to You. A book by Franklin Graham about Billy Graham: Through My Father's Eyes. Also Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, Unbroken: Path to Redemption, and a DVD I Can Only Imagine.
Also on our shelves: Tim Tebow’s Shaken, Let’s Roll! by Lisa Beamer, Mike Singletary One-on-One and so many more!
Mesquakie Friends Church
Friendly Kidz & Youth:
On Wednesday nights you will find Mac & Berny picking up 30-60 Children for 2 hours of fun, food and Jesus. This evening is at the core of the ministry of Mesquakie friends. One visit and you will find that your heart has been stolen and you will begin planning your next chance to come back. All are welcome!
A big thanks to all who donated for the Thank Offering. Our Candlelight service will highlight House of Compassion and Child Abuse Prevention Services. This is also our last month in this quarter focusing on Africa missions: Samburu, Turkana, Friends Theological College, and Lugulu Mission Hospital.
January/February/March, 2019: Palestine: Ramallah and Amari play center.