Perhaps it will also help to keep in mind that the modern Ministry and Counsel committee reinvents the traditional select meeting of Ministers, Elders, and Overseers: those with recognized gifts in prophetic, free-gospel vocal ministry; in being bishops or anchorites, holding the meeting community in prayer; and in being pastoral caregivers, aware of temporal and spiritual needs and responding to them. At Agamenticus our biggest weakness is on the overseer front. In many pastoral congregations, I would argue, many problems arise because the pastor or minister is expected to embody all three functions, and the “priesthood of all believers” is subsequently lost. That’s a far cry from “releasing” the pastor to fulfill one gift, with the congregation performing the other roles as they, too, are gifted. In an unprogrammed meeting, this means being aware of the ways each person fits into the body of Christ.
I sense that it will be important for you to reach out beyond Orono Meeting, to find within Vasselboro Quarter and the Yearly Meeting the “secret Wilburites” who seem to exist in every meeting, but who often feel isolated; in my travels among Friends, they often come up to me after the hour of worship and express gratitude for hearing a Christ-centered, Bible-based message. One Friend observed that as she grew spiritually, she began to discover that everyone she considered a “Weighty Quake,” a Friend with depth and grounding, was also a devoted Christian. And the traditional Bible Half-Hour each morning at Yearly Meeting has contained some of the best spiritual study I’ve encountered anywhere, arising more “in” the text than “about” it.
For more Seasons of the Spirit, click here.