Spiritually I feel well taken care of at Atlanta Friends Meeting. Atlanta Friends Meeting minuted their spiritual support for our house, and we are reminded of that support daily. I wish that every monthly meeting that I walk into would be as welcoming as Atlanta was for us QVSers. Because they were waiting for our arrival, there was an expectation that Atlanta would take care of us. They want to help us deepen our spiritual life while understanding that we are busy in our daily intentional living. I wonder what it would look like for every newcomer to feel as welcomed as we were. What if we were all waiting to welcome every newcomer and try remember to welcome them for the next three or four weeks?
Last week, I joined Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business where the meeting reflected on “how they foster a spirit of community among those in the Meeting?” After a time of reflection, we then struggled with the nominating committee not being able to fill the meetings slate of committees, during which I was reminded of my great welcoming.Because I was welcomed so well but was also not being asked to do anything, I was reminded of how important it is that we understand that because someone is new to one meeting does not mean they are new to Quakerism. My experience has been that a “new” attender is thought of as needing time before becoming part of the meeting, but sometimes that isolates someone who has experience on committees. For some six months might be the time they need to adjust while for others it might be years before they understand why they should join a committee. We need a space to deepen our faith through the practice of committee work. My deepest faith experiences are ones of small group work shining on the larger community. My small group work, QVS, seems to be light to the greater Atlanta Friends Meeting community. They have new work to support and help transform. Thank you Atlanta Friends Meeting for supporting me as I grow in my faith and vocation.
More pictures from the School of Americas Watch Protest the weekend of November 16-18. Kelsey and Rebecca participated.
We are now at the end of two weeks together here in Atlanta as part of the launch house of Quaker Voluntary Service. As we gathered together last week we were given the opportunity to get to know one another and understand where we come from. The first afternoon of orientation we spent journaling and sharing about our childhoods. As we shared, we learned about the struggles as well as the strengths we identify in ourselves. After sharing and looking at our schedule, we asked for some more time to share about what is next for us in this year together, so the following afternoon we talked about our expectations and understandings for this year of communal living. It was such a blessing to spend time settling in as a house and program before we headed off to work.
This last week we started settling into work. We all work 40 hours a week and we are all slowly learning about when that means Monday through Friday during conventional hours and when it means nights and weekends, as well. It was lovely to be the first one home on Tuesday, our first day at work, and see everyone come in. They all had a different story of learning about their jobs, but everyone looked tired and overwhelmed from the deluge of information from their day. We all have a lot to take leadership on in our jobs and we all are looking for the place that is ours.
As I settle into my job at American Friends Service Committee, I am finding the things that sometimes feel boring are the places that I am also most excited to see myself grow. I have lots of different responsibilities right now but they are slowing coming together to create a regular schedule.
At home I am enjoying house meals every work night, as well as the communal hang out that happens after dinner. Most nights I wish I was going to bed earlier but that is because I feel pulled to both be a housemate, as well as be an introvert who needs time in a smaller group. We have started watching TV shows together in the good American fashion and are enjoying laughing with each other. As we worship and eat together we are reminded that we are on the beginning of a journey that still has eleven months to go.
Rebecca Sullivan is a life-long Quaker and has spent her life living in intentional community. She graduated from Guilford College in May 2011 with a double major in Comparative Religion and Peace and Conflict Studies. While at Guilford Rebecca participated in the Quaker Leadership Scholars Program and served as the Co-Clerk. She also studied abroad in Kenya with the School for International Training. In Philadelphia where she now lives, she has participated in the Emerging Leaders Scholars Program of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and she is an intern with the Friends Rehabilitation Program, as well as with Education Works. Rebecca will do her QVS service at the American Friends Service Committee’s Atlanta office, and she will focus on AFSC’s emerging work within Atlanta area schools.