Although the Kenya-Moses Brown project highlights one way Friends schools in the United States can build relationships with Friends schools and children in other countries, it has also strengthened the relationship between a local Friends meeting and a local Friends school.
As a member of Friends Meeting at Cambridge (FMC), I first met Elphas at meeting for worship. He offered a meaningful message about silent worship and his appreciation for it as he experienced it here in the United States. Later I met him again at a lecture at the Episcopal Divinity School. At that time I think we were both delighted to find another Quaker who was in divinity school. FMC supported Elphas during his two-year stay here and nurtured his leadings for ministry upon his return to Kenya.
I am struck now at how simple an act it was for me to take Elphas with me to Moses Brown School to see a meeting for worship with children. I wanted him to experience our lower and middle school meetings for worship, to share silent worship with 200 young children. My other hope was for Elphas to see what Friends schools are like in the United States and for our students and teachers to meet a Quaker from Kenya. Although I sensed Elphas’ desire to build this relationship with our school, I did not know if it would be possible to continue after he returned to Kenya.
Since then, FMC has continued to support Elphas both with letters and financial contributions to his ministry. As you know from the article, one of FMC’s members took the cameras to Africa, and I picked them up upon their return. Elphas’ support committee shared this project with the meeting when soliciting funding for his ministry. As a result, FMC’s stewardship of Elphas’ gifts has nurtured the learning of students at Moses Brown, and strengthened the relationship between the meeting and the school.
As a member of meeting, this project serves as a reminder to me of the importance of nurturing and supporting our members, as well as helping visitors and members make connections to our Friends school. One never knows the leadings that may arise out of a simple introduction of one person to a Friends school community.