Saturday, May 18, 2013


I'm not sure if that is a real word or not, but it will do!

I was asked if I'd be on our Epistle committee at YM last weekend, along with two other Friends. Knowing I had quite a heavy workload on already whilst there I was hesitant, but knew I had to do it. I've moaned often enough about epistles turning into reports in the past so felt obliged to 'be the change you want to see'.

It was an interesting experience trying to take useful notes in session, and I found I was writing down expressions and quotes voiced by Friends rather than the facts and details that were shared. Many of those voices found their way into the finished epistle and I'm grateful for the spirit moving through them.

There were several times when we had to discern which were 'newsletter moments' and which were epistle ones - the 'tuis outside the window and the 2Es at the desk' being one of the easier ones (and yes I know that really the plural of tui is ngā tui not tuis but I'm afraid the anglicised version tends to predominate). In jokes take a bit more explaining than a glossary footnote allows!

One very affirming experience was that each of the suggestions we received in the basket from Friends turned out to be something we'd already included, indicative perhaps of how gathered and cohesive YM felt this year.

It was still too long really in the end, but honouring our bi-cultural commitment doesn't make for a low word count when you meet in the rohe of three iwi and include both names of our YM! Hopefully though we've done better than a well known character of a previous Meeting of mine who after 5 minutes or more of vocal ministry would say "and I've said too much already, but..." and then proceed to double the length of his ministry without actually adding to the message.

Being active in the worldwide family of Friends certainly made me more mindful of maintaining a balance between being true to ourselves and the character of our YM, and ensuring that we didn't put out what to many might feel like a secular statement. Our first drafting certainly felt it was leaning towards the latter and I went into Meeting for Worship on the Sunday morning holding that concern and wondering where I'd find the words we needed given that none of the committee leaned to naturally talking in a more religious framework. As we went into worship someone said 'well at least you will get a rest now and won't have to take notes for an hour!', to quote another kind of tui - yeah right... we got gifted with so much inspiration during that hour from the vocal ministry given that the rest of the epistle just flowed from there. Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye may find!

I'm still not sure I'd volunteer to be on an epistle committee again, but I'm grateful for the opportunity this gave me, for having two wonderful women, Valerie and Carril, to work with and for it making me see YM through a different lens as I tried to focus on the spirit and message we had for the world, rather than the nitty gritty of business to report back to my Worship Group later.

No comments: