The Nurture of Ministry: Quaker Practices Past and Present
This report for New Garden Friends Meeting in Greensboro, N.C., provides a context for how nurture of Friends' ministries has been understood through the years. It begins with a review of Friends' original practices, including the special relationship between the elder and the Gospel minister, and how the practice of recording began (and was eventually abandoned by some unprogrammed traditions). Then it focuses on recording practices as they evolved and diverged among North Carolina Quakers since the early 1800s. It concludes with some queries that invite corporate discernment by the monthly meeting around the issues of what ministry means, how it is identified, and how it can be nurtured. It calls for a classic Quaker view of ministry that is not confined to occupational offices. Though this report was written with one semi-programmed, progressive monthly meeting in mind, it would be of value to other monthly meetings wanting to explore new understandings of ministry and its nurture.