We Have a Dream… (Dream Statement from EFC-MAYM Ministry Conference 2014)

Jwquaker's Blog

The following words were spoken at the closing session of the 2014 Ministry Conference of the Evangelical Friends Church Mid America Yearly Meeting. They were presented by the Yearly Meeting Superintendent, Dr. David Williams, on July 27, 2014.  A very special thank you to David, Matt Macy (Associate Director of Evangelical Friends Missions), and all those Friends whom participated in the formation of the document at the Ministry conference.

‘In the last days,’ God says,

dream Painting by Abby Penna

‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.

Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.

-Acts 2:17

We have a dream…

We have a dream of the gospel lived out…and that God would use us to do it.

We dream that whatever is true in Heaven be true on earth…in our local churches, in the communities where our churches…

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Way Forward?

Gregg Koskela

(These words and thoughts are my own. I am not in any clerk position in our Yearly Meeting and do not speak for our Yearly Meeting. As a community, we have not discussed many of these ideas, but I offer them in hope that these words or some like it might be affirmed by the Yearly Meeting as a way forward.)

As Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends, we have just completed our 122nd annual sessions. In our discussions and business this week we discerned that we are not in unity around a proposed revision to our Faith and Practice about human sexuality. What might be further said?

We are in unity and we affirm our love for persons who identify as LGBTQ (both in and out of NWYM).

We are in unity and we affirm that all people, including those who identify as LGBTQ, are made in God’s image and…

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Worship and Purpose-Part 5

Gregg Koskela

(Message given at Newberg Friends Church on July 6, 2014)

At the beginning of June, we started this series on the purpose of the church and the purpose of worship.

We’ve been trying to set out some of the foundational beliefs we have about church. We began looking at the unique history of our church, the beautiful unity that came from a quiet conservative Quaker named William Hobson and a revivalist preacher named John Henry Douglas. We then started working through Ephesians, seeing in chapter 1 verse 10 God’s purpose to bring all things in creation in right relationship with Jesus. If God’s purpose is unity, then love is the dominant force.

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Worship and Purpose- Part 4

Gregg Koskela

(Message given at Newberg Friends Church on June 29, 2014)

For the last couple of years, I have been wrestling with what I am beginning to think is one of the fundamental divides in Christianity.

It comes out in a variety of ways, but I’ve summed it up most recently a couple of weeks ago like this: Do we think God is ultimately and fundamentally dividing/separating/judging the world, or do we think God is ultimately and fundamentally trying to unify/love/redeem the world?

Saying it that way betrays my belief…it makes the second sound better. A more fair way to state the distinction is to talk about who God is and what God is doing. One way would say, “God is holy, and God’s loving actions are to rescue humanity from sinfulness.” Another would say, “God is loving, and God’s sacrificial actions are to bring humanity into right relationship with Jesus…

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Worship and Purpose-Part 3

Gregg Koskela

(Message given at Newberg Friends Church on June 22, 2014)

For several weeks, I’ve been trying to build a case.

We’re in a series where we are looking at the purpose of worship and the purpose of our church. In times of transition, it’s important to communicate what our vision and values are. I’ve been building the case for our purpose out of the book of Ephesians, and seeing the vision God has for bringing unity to all creation under Christ as the foremost purpose of God and of the church.

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Seventh Month 19

As Light Is Sown

…  If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. …  – Luke 6:27-36 (NIV)

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Some commentators see in these examples an element of shaming the offender. The give-and-take is a public act. See what the offender does! Walk naked, then, and tell everyone. Who could possibly find comfort in stolen clothing that way? At the heart of this passage is a higher dynamic, equality: “Do to others …”

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And the Prophet Isaiah points at such as the Lord’s peculiar People, Hear the Word of the Lord, (saith he) ye that tremble at his Word; your Brethren…

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Love as Resistance: the call for enemy-love in the 21st century

black flag theology

Washing dishes is a menial task and if you never cook at home someone else is paid (poorly, I might add) to wash them for you. Recently I moved into [another] community house where we share the responsibility of dish-washing. Although, some people take up the charge more than others, of course. I am reminded of a Crimethinc poster, that breaks down different ideological and political approaches to washing dishes. Because Crimethinc is one of the greatest contributors to anarchist propaganda, the anarchist version stands as the utopian ideal, while Marxism and Communism are fuddy-duddies. They propose that in Anarchism: “We all share in the dishwashing.” This description sounds similar to the neighbor/enemy love that Jesus commands in the Sermon on the Mount.

This summer, we started a sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount. (I partially still long for the lectionary because there are so many different scriptures…

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