We feel a mutual calling to work for faithfulness and revitalization. At the moment, this includes listening uplifting the voices of young people. It also includes walking with people through pain and grief. We are learning more about where this work may draw us in the future.
In March 2020, just before the pandemic, we felt a call to travel in the ministry together. Of course, the arrival of the pandemic shifted our plans. In spite of this, we felt a call taking shape, and began to listen for more clarity.
Photo from the Friends General Conference
We spent several months in discernment. We met with spiritual teachers and called each other often. Over time, we began to clear that we were being led to listen – specifically, to listen to young people. We weren't sure what this might become, but were willing to begin. We reached out to a Friend from the West Coast, and asked them to meet with us for an interview. This is how the Listening Project began.
Since that time, we continue to learn more about our joint calling. We are able to live out our gifts with more clarity, safety, and grace because we are working together. We rely on prayer and intuition to make many of our decisions. To read more about our individual journeys, see below.
JT and Johanna
“Our voices are medicine.”
― Janice Longboat
from Six Nations
Faith has always been important to me. As a kid, my childhood church offered stability and love, It helped me grow. At age 19, I began searching for a new faith community that would also help me grow. I searched many place. I avoided going to Quaker meeting because Quakers were so sincere! I found them intimidating.
In my twenties, I began to reckon with parts of my past, including the impact of sexual violence. I took time to heal. I wanted to heal so badly that I was willing to set everything else aside. I sometimes marvel at the determination that this created.
Healing taught me what it felt like to have my soul rearranged. In the process, I surrendered to God again and again. I prayed with elders, and met with sound healers, shamans, and coaches. I enrolled in a Reiki I class and, later Reiki II. I began to feel energy move around me. I had an experience of praying for once, for a group board meeting. Though I could not hear the words they were saying, I felt the energy move throughout their process.
A year later, I met with some elders at the Friends General Conference (a Quaker gathering). They helped me to claim a gift of healing. It was a difficult process. At the time, all I wanted was for my life to be more normal! I resisted my calling, because it was weird. Then I heard a voice whisper in my ear (gently, but with some exasperation): "Don't you know this is a gift?!"
This somehow prompted me to cave in and say "yes."
I enrolled in the School of the Spirit's "On Being a Spiritual Nurturer program," and later came to fully claim my gift in healing. My Quaker community helps me to live it out.
“To listen another’s soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another.”
― Douglas Van Steere
These famous words have a deep meaning for me. They confirm the holy act of listening with the full love and acceptance of oneness in God, the eternal inseparability of all beings in the cosmos. Listening is a gift I am working to manifest as my ministry.
I was raised in a family that believed in science and had liberal beliefs, but where religion was often scorned. Many of the reasons for this are ones I still agree with. Still, I have long had an interest in myths and religions from around the world and studied some of them academically. I have also had a fascination with science, especially quantum physics and chaos theory.
The synthesis of these ideas led me to Quakerism after I began having mystical experiences of my own. In 2012, I became a regular attender at Orange Grove Meeting in California. Since 2014, I have traveled widely as a result of trying to be faithful to Spirit. These years have taught me much about who I am, my relationship to Spirit, and what I may be called to next. I have now seen a variety of communities and learned more about gifts, grace, and ministry. This work feels as if it is ongoing and also always just beginning.
I am passionate about the message of oneness with Spirit that Quakers have to offer and the healing potential of that message in the world. I am hoping to witness and testify to this Truth with other Friends. I believe a prerequisite to do this rightly is living ever more into divine Love within ourselves and each other. This is a lifelong process with much struggle. I feel led to do work to support this journey with individuals and communities amongst Friends and beyond. It is my hope that restoring our knowledge of one another's inherent holiness will bring Light and Love more fully into the world.