In local Quaker congregation, the head honcho is called a clerk, an important (unpaid) job even when there’s a pastor. (A whole other discussion.)
In a traditional body that observes “unprogrammed” worship like ours, the role carries the added burden of being the official spokesperson for all and the presumed face and voice of the Meeting. (Not that everyone will agree. Not in our pluralistic age. Beware of the back-sniping.)
The position rotates among members deemed worthy, and I have served five years, plus a few others as the deputy recording clerk and also as clerk of our regional umbrella, so I’ve done more than a little. But I’m far from the only one. Nor am I whining.
Here are ten others from the three-plus decades I’ve been in New England and active in Dover Friends Meeting.
- Silas Weeks. Replanted from an old Long Island Quaker family and long the steady hand in rebuilding our Meeting. Quite a Character.
- Pat Gildea. Quite an administrator. She loved having lunch to discuss things. After marrying, she scurried to England and new challenges. Whew!
- Barbara Sturrock. A beloved elder. Now in a retirement center up the coast.
- Charolotte Fardelmann. Grounded in her heart. In a retirement center closer by.
- Sara Hubner. Now much appreciated in her demanding, detailed work in the yearly meeting office. Membership moved to Gonic Friends up the road. Board games, anyone?
- Connie Weeks. Silas’s wife and then widow.
- Chip Neal. A New Hampshire public television personality and producer with a gentle sense of wonder who has since moved under the shadow of Parkinson’s, yet still showing flashes of wonder.
- Bill Gallot. Deceased all too early and dearly missed.
- Jean Blickensderfer. Also deceased and ditto. I never would have made it through my terms in the role if it weren’t for her support, eventually recognized as assistant clerk.
- Chuck Cox. Organic farmer. It helps, especially where nurture and patience and more patience are needed. I always lean on his warm smile and twinkling eyes.
As you can see, it’s an equal-opportunity job gratefully sifted by the Nominating Committee. Tell us about similar public servants you’ve known.