Quakers and Revival
April 11, 2023
Season 1, episode 6. In this episode of Quakers Today we ask, What is a daily practice that clears your head and steadies you for the day?
- The host of Quakers Today, Peterson Toscano, speaks with Karla Jay, the global ministries coordinator for Friends United Meeting. Her husband, Michael Jay, is the pastor of Raysville Friends Church. Karla has been on the pastoral team at Iglesia Amigos de Indianapolis, where her father, Carlos Moran, is pastor. Karla was an eye-witness to a modern revival in Wilmore, Kentucky, a spiritual event that made national news. Was it a hoax? Group hysteria? Or was this a genuine spiritual encounter? Karla Jay tells us what she heard and saw on her visit to Asbury University.
- Anthony Kirk, a transgender pastor at a Friends Church, shares a Bible passage that has been central to his spiritual and gender journey. Hear more in the QuakerSpeak.com video Made in the Image of God: A Transgender Pastor Shares Psalm 139.
- Kathleen B. Wilson dusted off and reformatted the writings of an early twentieth-century mystic and created the free on-line pamphlet Quaker Thomas Kelly: Life from the Center. We share readings of excerpts by Alissa Vanderbark, a Quaker Voluntary Service fellow, and Jonah Sutton-Morse, a member of Concord (N.H.) Meeting and a member of the Society of Friends Discord group.
You will find a complete transcript of this episode below after the show notes.
After the episode concludes we share voicemails from listeners who answered the question, What is a daily practice that clears your head and steadies you for the day?
Question for next month
In the June episode of Quakers Today and the June issue of Friends Journal we consider the topic leadership.
The world is changing rapidly and these include changes in how we view our leaders in the political realm and in religious spaces. With so many people working remotely, even the relationships between managers and workers have changed.
Here is our question for you to consider. What do you expect and need in a leader? This could be a leader on the job, in a religious space, in your community or in the political world.
Leave a voice memo with your name and the town where you live. The number to call is 317-QUAKERS, that’s 317-782-5377. +1 if calling from outside the U.S.
Quakers Today is the companion podcast to Friends Journal and other Friends Publishing Corporation (FPC) content online.
Season One of Quakers Today has been sponsored by Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS).
QVS is the only organization in the United States dedicated solely to the spiritual and vocational needs of young adult Friends and seekers. Learn about the year-long fellowship program for young adults. Visit quakervoluntaryservice.org. And Follow QVS on Instagram @quakervoluntaryservice.
Feel free to send comments, questions, and requests for our new show. Email us at email@example.com.
Music from this episode comes from Epidemic Sound. You heard Get a Hold on Me by Martin Klem, Revive Us by JOYSPRING, Toward Success by From Now On, Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts (Instrumental Version) by Roy Williams, Be This Way by Hallman, Got Nothing to Worry About by Garden Friend
Transcript for Quakers and Revival
Karla Jay, Alissa Vanderbark, Sunny, Jonah Sutton-Morse, Anthony Kirk, Peterson Toscano
Peterson Toscano 00:00
In this episode of Quakers Today we ask, What is a daily practice that clears your head and steadies you for the day?” I speak with an eyewitness to a modern revival in Wilmore, Kentucky, a spiritual event that made national news. Was it a hoax? Group hysteria? Or was this a genuine spiritual encounter? Karla Jay tells us what she heard and saw on her visit to Asbury University. Anthony Kirk, a transgender pastor at a Friend’s Church shares a Bible passage that has been central to his spiritual and gender journey. And Kathleen B Wilson dusted off and reformatted the writings of an early 20th century mystic. You will hear readings from the new pamphlet, Quaker Thomas Kelly, Life from the Center.
Peterson Toscano 00:49
I am Peterson Toscano. This is the sixth episode of Quakers Today, a project of Friends Publishing Corporation. This first season of Quakers Today has been sponsored by Quaker Voluntary Service.
Peterson Toscano 01:05
Karla Jay serves as the global ministries coordinator for Friends United Meeting or fu M. Her husband, Michael Jay,is the pastor of Rayville Friends Church. Karla has been on the pastoral team at Iglesia Amigos de Indianapolis, where her father Carlos Moran is pastor. Like many people, it was online that she first learned about the Asbury revival.
Karla Jay 01:30
I just thought, oh, you know, these are people that probably want attention or just want to say that you know, the spirit is being poured over them.
Peterson Toscano 01:40
On February 8 2023, after an on campus chapel service, a group of Asbury students decided to stay in the chapel to pray and sing. For the next two weeks students, community members and visitors from around the USA attended impromptu worship services. During that time classes were suspended online and in the media, people called it an outpouring of the Holy Spirit or the Asbury revival. According to Inside Higher Ed, “Asbury is part of the Wesleyan theological tradition, which emphasizes transformational encounters with the Holy Spirit.” This year during the two weeks of nearly constant prayer and worship, over 50,000 visitors joined the students. Karla Jay was not interested in traveling the three hours to the Asbury campus. But her sister, who Karla doesn’t get to see often, proposed they meet up and visit together. Karla shared with me what she saw and heard. And she reflects on what revival means to her.
Karla Jay 02:47
It wasn’t hard to find; the campus is not that big. We found it, and we saw that it will be a while before we got in. There was maybe 2000 people outside at the time we went there. Being already suspicious of what was happening, I was looking for like, are there any other Latinos? Are there other Black people here, you know, people that are different from regular white people? Or is this just like a white people movement? There was some other Latinos maybe not as many as I would have liked there to be. But there were some other Latinos in the crowd. The majority of the crowd was white.
Karla Jay 03:28
We waited about 45 minutes to get in. And in the meantime, an usher came in. He asked us, What did we need? And what were we doing there? Like, did we come for anything in particular? And we said, we just came to feel the presence and to be here. He said, Are there any needs that you have that you would like me to pray for you? And we said just that we feel the presence that he prayed for us, that we may feel the presence and that we may be blessed?
Karla Jay 04:03
It was just very quiet, even though there was music being played in the background. The worship leaders weren’t not really leading people into worship. They were there. There was background music, people were praying, some people were singing to the music that was being played. Some people, if they felt like it, they went up and gave testimony. People were allowed to go in and out as they felt led. It almost felt like in a programed Meeting for Worship with background music. It wasn’t organized. It was spontaneous.
Karla Jay 04:44
We were there for about an hour and a half. And I felt like we had only been there for 15 minutes. I didn’t feel bored or anxious then. I usually feel that in a lot of church meetings, I’m bored. I’m anxious that I want to leave. I believe I’ve already sang these hymns before. I probably already heard that sermon before, whether the person that I’m listening to is new, but I probably already heard the sermon in some way or another. I did not feel that at Asbury. I just felt like there was peace there. And that whatever was happening, a genuine experience for most of the people there.
Karla Jay 05:26
Growing up Evangelical and Holiness, I did see adults making a plea for a revival to happen. But I’d never seen them asking for repentance or turning around. The church has been asking for revival to happen. But at the same time, I don’t see many leaders of the church recognizing the sins that the church has been a part of . And some of that sin has to do with issues of justice. What I saw in Asbury is that this movement, or it might be too soon to call it revival, but this outpouring happen in very young people. I mean, these are college kids, they’re not older than I don’t know, twenty-three. They don’t have any influence. They don’t have any positions of power. This spontaneous worship happened among them. It didn’t happen and an older generation that is not recognizing the sins and you know, like, the younger generation, it’s been more honest about the injustice that is happening in this country. That might have something to do with you know, recognizing that not everyone in this country has the same justice and being able to recognize that and be able to say we are going to make a difference. I think that in itself is the movement of the Holy Spirit. God is not going to do an outpouring, and people that are not repenting and calling for justice in this country. If they’re not calling against racism, if they’re not calling against misogyny, the Holy Spirit is not going to move in that. Our relationship with God also has to do with a relationship with others around us and how we seek justice for our brothers and sisters.
Anthony Kirk 07:48
My journey with religion and spirituality has been completely intertwined. In my relationship with my gender identity and coming out as transgender. My name is Anthony Kirk, I use he/him pronouns. I live in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and I am currently the pastor of Klamath Falls friends church.
Anthony Kirk 08:18
There’s actually a Psalm that has really helped me. I reflect on it a lot. I use it for Transgender Day of Visibility events, and I share it with those who are exploring their identity, exploring their gender, their sexuality, and wondering, Well, where do I fit? The scripture that I use comes from Psalm 139, verses 13 through 16, from the New Revised Standard Version
Anthony Kirk 08:52
For It was you who formed my inward parts, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you. When I was being made in secret. Intricately woven in the depths of the earth, your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your books were written all the days that were formed for me when none of them as yet existed. And it’s the beautiful reminder that God knew us since our conception, as we were formed, God knew us and loved us and created us long before society put labels on us and made assumptions. And that’s brought so much comfort to me and so many people in my life.
Peterson Toscano 09:55
That was Anthony Kirk, in an excerpt from the QuakerSpeak Video Made in the Image of God, a Transgender Pastor shares Psalm 139. You will find the full video and other QuakerSpeak videos at the QuakerSpeak channel on YouTube, or visit Quakerspeak.com.
Peterson Toscano 10:12
Quaker Thomas Kelly Life from the Center is a free online pamphlet that includes excerpts from two of Kelly’s books, Testament of Devotion, and The Eternal Promise. While reading Kelly’s writing, Kathleen B. Wilson started copying excerpts verbatim and arranging sentences and phrases. The format helped her savor each word and phrase Alissa Vanderbark, a Quaker Voluntary Service fellow, and Jonah Sutton-Morse, a member of Concord Monthly Meeting in New Hampshire. Join us to read passages from the pamphlet.
Alissa Vanderbark 10:56
I have no interest in silence as a form. But I know that devotion and dedication arise in the deep communing of the heart, in dwelling with a silence in the center of our being in periods of relaxed listening and expectancy. The silence within us seems to merge with a creative silence within the heart of God. And we hear eternity’s whispers, and we become miracles of eternity, breaking into time, live a listening life. Order your outward life, so that nothing drowns out the listening.
Jonah Sutton-Morse 11:39
The second spring of hope, business, we simple humble people can bear the seed of hope. No religious dictator will save the world, no giant figure of heroic size, will stalk across the stage of history today as a new messiah. But in simple, humble, imperfect person, like you and me, wells up the spring of hope. We have this treasure of the seed in the earthen vessels, very earthen vessels, yield yourselves to the growth of the seed within you. In these our days of suffering. Sow yourselves into the furrows of the world’s pain and hope will grow and rise. Be not overcome by the imposing forces of evil and of might. Be of good cheer as Jesus I have overcome the world.
Peterson Toscano 12:59
That was Alissa Vanderbark and Jonah Sutton Morse reading excerpts from the free online pamphlet Quaker Thomas Kelly Life from the Center. You can read the full version and the introduction written by Kathleen B. Wilson at the website QuakerThomasKelly.org. And you can connect with Quakers like Jonah at the Society of Friends Discord group. I will have links for you in our show notes.
Peterson Toscano 13:29
Thank you for listening to Quakers Today. This podcast is written and produced by me Peterson Toscano. I receive a lot of assistance and input from the Friends Journal staff Gabe, Gail, Martin, and Ron Thank you Friends.
Peterson Toscano 13:42
For articles and blog posts related to this episode visit FriendsJournal.org. Music on today’s show comes from Epidemic Sound. This is the end of season one. But fear not Friends Publishing Corporation has renewed this show for another season. I will continue to produce it with the possibility of a co-host. We will premiere Season Two on June 13th 2023.
Peterson Toscano 14:10
Season One of Quakers Today was sponsored by Quaker Voluntary Service. Thank you so much. QVS is the only organization in the United States dedicated solely to the spiritual and vocational needs of young adult friends and seekers. Learn about the year long fellowship program for young adults, visit QuakerVoluntaryService.org and follow QVS on Instagram at QuakerVoluntaryService. If you have a comment or suggestion for this podcast or just want to say hi, you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Stick around after the closing to hear voicemails from listeners who share their daily spiritual practices. Thank you Friend. I look forward to spending more time with you soon
Peterson Toscano 15:15
In a moment, you will hear voicemails from listeners about their daily spiritual practices. But first, I want to share with you the question for our June episode, and it is a question about leaders and leadership. The world is changing rapidly. And these include changes to how we view our leaders in the political realm and religious spaces. With so many people working remotely, even the relationships between managers and workers have changed. So here’s our question for you to consider. What do you expect and need in a leader? This could be a leader on the job, in a religious space, in your community, or in the political world? What do you expect and need in a leader? I would love to hear and share your thoughts. Leave a voice memo with your name and the town where you live. The number to call is 317 Quakers. That’s 317.7825377. 317 Plus one if you’re calling from outside the USA. You can also send an email. I have these contact details in our show notes over at QuakersToday.org. Now we hear answers to the question what is a daily practice that clears your head and studies you for the day
I’m Sunny in Virginia. I attend Richmond Friends Meeting. And thank you for the query. It helped me think through what it is that starts my day. After reading today books in the luxury of my bed without hot coffee and a dog, I go for movement in the fresh air. This morning I swept the desk with a sturdy broom while the pollen was still damp so the mask wasn’t needed. Some mornings I’d like to scoop leaves or rake or follow the dog around the meadow. But breathing and moving awakens my body and pulls things together. I add a little yoga, maybe a hot shower, but the thing is the motion of leaving my body with the breath that gathers my mind, body and spirit into the center. And there I can face today. Thank you for that query again. I’m gonna watch myself with more consciousness but not obsession.
Sharlee from Allentown Pennsylvania, I worship at the Lehigh Valley Friends Meeting. So the daily practice that clears my head and steady for the day is praying a prayer a member of my meeting shared with me. She was the convener of a group that met to walk with me during a time of aa upsetting spiritual doubt. And the prayer is God most high and glorious, come into the shadows of my heart. Give me a generous spirit and let me always live in the light of your love. Thank you goodbye.