Diane Randall, Friends Committee on National Legislation:
I think a lot. I realized there was potentially something there for me, and that part of following a path of faithfulness would be just allowing myself to be there, to be a candidate, and if I didn’t get selected, then that was okay. I had worked on housing and homelessness ,and I felt like the lobbying work I’d done was in the same vein: not being partisan, trying to talk to everyone, and really being open to who would support these initiatives. To do that with Friends at the federal level was definitely a different order of magnitude, and a different range of issues. It seemed like a good opportunity to test what I understood about my Quaker faith in a political arena.
For more of Diane’s story, click here
Jen Karsten, Pendle Hill:
Mostly, I suppose, in the process of seeking clarity to proceed. Also knowing that because I was applying to a Quaker center, I needed to ask myself, “Am I ready to be a voice of Quakerism for people unfamiliar with the religion and coming to visit?”
For more of Jen’s story, click here
Gretchen Castle, Friends World Committee for Consultation:
It continues to affirm the work I’m doing, that I’m in the right place, and that God helps me through it. It is a tough job, because I’m the only full time person in the office and I’m traveling around a good bit of the time. I intend to be in it for the long haul. In order to do that, I really do take off the weekend. I am committed to doing a good, hard, working day every day that I’m there, and going home at six or so. I don’t work long hours, but I work hard when I’m there, and that’s my survival strategy. God’s presence every day is where I gain my strength and my optimism. It’s really important to me to rely on that.
For more of Gretchen’s story, click here
Gabe Ehri, Friends Journal:
My faith got me in the door of the organization back in 2004, and having a lifelong experience of relationship with the organization. Friends Journal was on my parents’ coffee table when I was a kid, it was something my meeting sent to me when I was in college. I had a story with it that was strong by the time I came to apply for the Executive Director role. I still have that story, and it has grown over the years. I think being an active, practicing Quaker was an important piece of my role – I don’t think they would have hired someone who wasn’t-this is an organization where you need to have a Quaker at the helm. I knew if I was offered the job and decided to try my hand at it, that I would really have to be more deliberate about practicing Quakerism. I was going to burn out if I didn’t have some specially Quaker spiritual uplift coming from an active practice. I also knew I would feel like a phony if I was trying to lead an organization that was dedicated to this and I was not in a relationship with a practicing spiritual community. I was very lucky that I found that. Doing this work and trying to be a good monthly meeting Quaker at the same time has really been a mutually supportive thing to those two parts of my life. One of the joys of doing this work is getting feedback from people who read the articles, or see the issues, or watch the videos. Hearing with my own ears that what we do as an organization has a positive effect in the Quaker world is one of the real perks of the job.
For more of Gabe’s story, click here
Drew Smith, Friends Council on Education:
It was all about my faith. It’s about integrity. That’s how I felt. It’s the same thing–when I took the job at Russell Byers Charter, it felt like, “If you really believe this stuff, you should do this job. Turning it down means you’re turning away from yourself.” That’s why I’m here. It’s a real challenge to live up to your own standards. I’m fortunate, on the one hand, that I get a chance to try to do that, but on the other hand, I had to sort of heed the call, “This is what I’m supposed to do.”
For more of Drew’s story, click here
Doug Bennett, Earlham College (Emeritus):
During the search I was living in New York, and I was a member of 15th Street Meeting in New York. I really didn’t have a circle of people there that I thought could be helpful to me. I thought a lot about what I wanted to say, and I talked a lot about Earlham’s Quakerness through the search.
For more of Doug’s story, click here