Friends General Conference offers many programs and services helpful for meetings in welcoming and orienting new Friends. Here are a few of the most pertinent:
FGC’s Advancement and Outreach (A&O) Committee:
This committee produces an Inreach/ Outreach Packet designed to help meetings explore how to become more welcoming and how to integrate newcomers into the life of the meeting. It includes guidelines and handouts for a workshop focused on knitting together and deepening the meeting community, while reaching out to visitors and newcomers. Most of the materials in the packet are available on the A&O Committee Web page at www.fgcquaker.org/ao. Meetings may also order one free copy of the packet from the FGC office, 1216 Arch Street, Suite 2B, Philadelphia, PA 19107, Attn: Deborah Fisch.
A&O also produces Outreach Notes, a new e-newsletter that provides quick tips and updates on reaching out to newcomers and helping meetings grow. To subscribe, contact Deborah Fisch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Traveling Ministries Program (TMP):
The Traveling Ministries Program seeks to strengthen the spiritual health of meetings so that Friends will be better prepared to welcome seekers by offering a clear understanding of who Friends are as a faith community. The TMP coordinator helps arrange opportunities for seasoned Friends who have spiritual gifts to visit meetings that request visits to address a specific concern of the meeting, or simply to share worship and fellowship.
QuakerBooks of FGC:
FGC’s bookstore offers many books, tracts, and religious education materials useful for orienting new Friends. Among them are Listening to the Light by Jim Pym, an excellent introductory text; Silence and Speech: For Those New to Meeting for Worship, practical tips for newcomers to meeting for worship; A Living Silence, an audio introduction to Friends and worship originally produced for National Public Radio; A Quaker Path: A Spiritual Journey from Visitor to Attender to Member, an explication of the membership process with queries for both the prospective member and the meeting; and the Inquirer’s Packet, a selection of tracts orienting visitors to the history and practices of Friends. This material is available online at www.QuakerBooks.org or by calling (800) 966-4556.
Quaker Press of FGC:
FGC’s press publishes books and other resources that nurture Friends and Friends meetings. The Quaker Way, One Explorer’s Glossary of Quaker Terms and the Friends and… tract series are especially relevant to new Friends and attenders. FGConnections, a quarterly newsletter, keeps Friends informed about FGC programs and services as well as issues and concerns among the Quaker community. For all the latest information check out our websites: www.fgcquaker.org, wwwQuakerBooks.org, and www.QuakerFinder.org.