Martin Kelley talks about on- and off-line communities and the role of ministry and workshops in this six-minute preparation for the Convergent Friends workshop.

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Comment by Tricia on 2nd mo. 23, 2009 at 9:43pm
Martin, I like this very much. Bridging the real world and online community through our messages. Friends testimonies are best experienced by actually seeing Friends testifying! I like your interviews at the conference, too. It's a great opportunity and I'm glad you are here.
Comment by Richard B. Miller on 2nd mo. 20, 2009 at 4:03pm
Actually, I'm on the recording Clerk for Ministers, Elders and Overseers this year. Lloyd Lee Wilson has been pretty good about traveling and spreading publishing the idea of ministerial oversight. In part he has led by example. Lloyd Leed doesn't seem to be traveling as much as he once did, partly due to health reasons I think.

You are right that some of these muscles have become atrophied in the SOF. I think the best way to get moving is to lead by example. Lloyd Lee would make a point of asking YM for oversight of his ministry. People get defensive about being eldered or being approached about oversight. So this makes those who ought to be doing the oversight back off. Instead if more people would take the initiative to ask elders (or members of Ministry and Oversight if their meeting doesn't appoint elders) to read what they have written or to travel with them if they are going to speak, then the necessary oversight would start happening again, I think that people should ask for oversight and make clear that they are really asking for oversight and not just for some pro forma letter to be written.
Comment by Martin Kelley on 2nd mo. 20, 2009 at 1:49pm
Hi Richard: as you might guess, I agree with you. Part of the issue I think is that we have meetings that have really forgotten how to practice this kind of ministerial oversight. It doesn't at all surprise me that a Conservative Yearly Meeting has enough experience in place to be on the forefront of adapting to this new medium.

The more you can share this with those yearly meetings that have lost what we might call the "ministry support muscles," the better they'll be able to give us guidance. I wonder if the some of the Friends on your wife's committee might consider traveling or publishing some thoughts on this?
Comment by Richard B. Miller on 2nd mo. 20, 2009 at 1:42pm
Martin, It was good to be able to connect a face with the name. It's a reminder to me of what we miss when we just read text.

On this issue of accountability, I do think we ought to work harder to make it work. About a year after I had started blogging my wife went to the Ministers, Elders and Overseers at NCYM-C (she was one of the clerks of this body at the time) and told them I was blogging, which involved explaining what a blog was, and told them that hard copies of all my posts were available for anyone to read. Since then at gatherings I've been approached by a couple of members of that body who let me know they have been reading my blog and that they approve and continue to approve of the work.

This is the way I think it should be done. I know that others instead put up disclaimers on their blogs about this being only their own opinion, etc. To me such disclaimers do not work. If the Friend writes in an entertaining way they will be read and if they are colorful and widely read then they will become part of the public face of Quakerism. The disclaimer doesn't keep them from being a public Friend; it just circumvents the need for accountability that comes along with being a public Friend.

I've voiced this concern before but nobody seems to take it seriously as far as I can see. Now it may be that the meetings are at fault here in not being willing to do the oversight. In which case we should ask why? Perhaps they just do not realize that more people are reading Quaker blogs than are reading print literature like Friends Journal. If the lack of oversight is due to older Friends not understanding the way the world has been changing, then greater effort must be made to educate them.

I hope Christ will lead your sessions. Give my love to all.

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