I leave tomorrow for Nairobi, Kenya and the 6th World Conference of Friends! I'll be at Kabarak University in Nakuru, Kenya from the 17th to the 25th. I'm giving a workshop presenting what I've been learning about the eschatological views of early Friends and ways to recover a transforming vision of a new world for today --drawing from Douglas Gwyn, Walter Wink, and a dab of my research on Howgill. I'll also be helping with the transcription and web-publishing of conference events, and searching out delegates from obscure Yearly Meetings to ask them for their demographic statistics -- no small task among 1000 attendees!
You can follow the conference events on the FWCC Salt & Light website, here:
After the conference, I'll be travelling with Eden Grace (Beacon Hill MM and Field Staff in the African office of FUM) to visit Friends in the Turkana region of northwestern Kenya (west of Lake Turkana, once called Lake Rudolph). Eden has visited there many times and says that she loves their joyful spirit! http://www.fum.org/worldmissions/turkana.html
On a more serious note, we will also be visiting the Kakuma Refugee Camp operated by the UN; apparently there's a Friends church within the camp. http://kakuma.wordpress.com/about-kakuma-refugee-camp/
I have been very nervous about this trip for months, but a few days ago I began to look forward to flying. And I think that Spirit has been granting me providential bits of synergy in this past week -- it turns out I'll be on the same flights with Betsy Cazden (Quaker historian and Providence MM!) all the way from Rhode Island to Nairobi, so we'll get to geek out together about Quaker history -- and she's heavily involved in FWCC, as well! Then, Jane Ramu (Nairobi MM, attending Beacon Hill MM while a grad student at Boston College) was kind enough to introduce me to her family in Nairobi so I'll have some "tour guides" while I'm there for two days before the conference. Jane is studying special education methods for deaf-blind children and helps run these schools in Kenya: http://www.senseinternational.org.uk/pages/sense-international-east-africa.html (Jane's in the video!)
My studies at Andover-Newton Theological School are only part of a longer-term leading to help Friends of all kinds understand each other, and this World Gathering is truly a great opportunity for that. I'm thankful that even when my inexperience at international travel is making things look dark, the Light is helping way open for me to walk forward faithfully to its leadings.