Ministry and Outreach Programme
The EMES Ministry and Outreach (M&O) Programme was created in 2008 and has been maintained since then with funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT). It serves to nurture and support the spiritual lives of Friends, individually and corporately, as well as to strengthen outreach efforts across the Section. The Programme works closely with Quaker Meetings, groups and isolated Friends. It offers a variety of resources and opportunities for both online and face-to-face learning and fellowship.
Thanks to renewed funding from the JRCT, the Programme can continue through 2019. The focus until then is to consolidate the work done since the beginning of the Programme and to encourage Friends to engage in three inter-related areas: documentation of Quaker faith and practice, lives of especially influential Friends and the history of the many Meetings and groups.
To these ends, there is a new online EMES Information Resource, hosted by Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre. It can be described as an EMES-wide Faith and Practice, expressing the experience of Friends across Europe and the Middle East. The fruits of the M&O Programme since its beginning are available there. The Information Resource will continue to grow and become increasingly multilingual as Friends contribute to it. EMES can support translation efforts to this end.
The Information Resource includes information about Quaker in Europe, the 7-week online introductory course that is available in many different languages. There is also information about the Companion Programme that links anyone seriously interested in the Quaker way with an experienced Friend for a period of structured interaction.
Within the Information Resource is a limited-access interactive forum for Friends who are currently serving their Meetings in the area of Nurture and Care (also traditionally known as Eldership and Oversight). The Information Resource collects descriptions of Quaker methods of interaction (for example Worship Sharing and Meetings for Clearness). It is a place where spiritual wisdom and stories of Quaker lives can be collected. It is a place where the histories of Quakerism in Europe and the Middle East can be made available as they are documented.
Intervisitation and travelling in the ministry have been central to Quaker life since the 17th century and continue to be so today. The M&O Programme encourages Friends to visit each other for mutual learning and support, and it helps identify and equip Friends to travel on behalf of EMES to Quaker Meetings that need support or nurture for various reasons. The experience of earlier Visiting Friends can be accessed through the Information Resource in preparation for visits of various kinds. Friends who intend to travel within the Section are encouraged to inform EMES staff, so that we can remain aware of groups and isolated Friends who have been visited. Another way the M&O Programme serves Friends is to organise residential gatherings for learning and exploration of various themes.
The M&O Programme encourages and supports Quaker groups in making use of the EMES Small Grants Fund. This fund exists to help strengthen Quaker identity and community and to bring Quaker values to the wider community. Quaker groups are encouraged to apply for funding for projects that meet these criteria. EMES staff can suggest projects that specifically link with its 2017-2019 focus and are prepared to support Meetings that are interested in exploring project proposals.