FORWARD IN FAITHFULNESS
We are a network of Quakers who work for inner transformation and collective renewal. Our goal is to motivate one another toward revitalization, so people of faith may become creative, relevant, and thriving for years to come.
We also love taking photos.
JT and Johanna
We feel a mutual calling to work for faithfulness and revitalization. At the moment, this includes listening and 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.
“Our voices are medicine.”
― Janice Longboat
from Six Nations
Faith has always been important to me. As a child, my family's church offered stability and love. It helped me grow. When I was 19, I began searching for a new faith community that would help me grow as an adult. I searched many places. I avoided going to Quaker meeting, however. Quakers were so sincere that I found them intimidating!
In my twenties, I began to reckon with parts of my past, including the impacts of sexual violence. It took a long time for me to reconcile and start to heal. Healing was the top priority in my life. I sometimes marvel at the determination that I carried as a result.
Moments of healing, combined over time, have rearranged my soul. Surrender has taught me new ways of being. I have prayed with elders, shamans, and sound healers. After taking classes in Reiki I and Reiki II, I began to feel energy move around me. Once I prayed for a Quaker group that was meeting in an adjacent room. 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. They named a gift of healing inside of me. I found it difficult to claim and accept this gift. At the time, all I wanted was for my life to be more normal. Then I heard a voice whisper in my ear - gently, but with some exasperation- "Don't you know this is a gift?!"
Hearing these words somehow prompted me to cave in and say "yes." Later in the year, I enrolled in the School of the Spirit's "On Being a Spiritual Nurturer program." I began to live out my healing gift in new ways. I continue to explore Mystery, now armed with a greater understanding of who I am.
“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.