Is Convergence Contagious?
It was kind of roundabout, but it had the unmistakable stamp of God’s workings on it. Two Friends from Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative) read Wess and my articles. They got to talking about the plans for the upcoming FWCC meeting and how FWCC is so convergent and yet not quite and how there ought to be a discussion about convergence at the conference. After looking us up on the internet, one of them sent an email to a listserve that Wess had set up. My husband wrote back to her, and she wrote back and asked if we had any suggestions for a workshop at the FWCC conference. I wrote back and said I’d be happy to discuss my experience so far, in fact I had been thinking about trying to go to the annual meeting, but not sure at all that it would be possible. Fortunately, my clearness committee was meeting that week, and I had a chance to consider with them whether I was called to go to Rhode Island in March. Several further back and forths by email with FWCC folks and Wess and my new Sister-in-Christ. There was some kerfuffle over whether this was really happening or not, and I’m still not sure quite how this is going to work out. But the current workshop title (I didn’t make this up, but I love it) is “Am I a convergent Friend? And is it contagious?”
I feel clear now that I need to go, and I’m clear that Wess needs to go, and I am making arrangements. I have asked for support from my meeting and my yearly meeting and we’re doing a little fundraising among Friends for the rest of the money for the two of us. Convergence requires us to work together. I still think that the interest group I led at PYM last summer fell flat because I tried to do it by myself. And some of us, because we work in this in-between space, will fall in the cracks between Quaker institutions, and need more help than others.
Newsflash: Convergence is not about me. The winds of the Holy Spirit blow where they will. This is an important reminder. I did not invent the various phenomena it describes and I do not own the word. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this. I have to accept that somewhere, sometime, there will be a discussion or gathering or workshop about convergent Friends and I will not be there. And that’s good: I hope the renewal of classic Quakerism will be much bigger than I am.
At the same time, I want to be free to go where God leads me. This is part of my reason for asking for clearness and support from my meeting so that my Friends in real life can help me hear what God is asking me to do and figure out how to do it. I already have little nudges in my heart and some written invitations to go to Greensboro, North Carolina one day, but not right now. I’m feeling pretty full up for this spring. There may be more destinations on my spiritual itinerary. I don’t know yet; that’s okay. And if I am faithful in this work, I expect that the next steps will be shown to me.
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