SF Meeting's new Fund for Leadings

In July 2010, San Francisco Monthly Meeting approved the following guidelines for our new Fund for Leadings. I share them here because I think this is an exciting effort that Quaker meetings and even other congregations should know about. They were drafted by an ad hoc budget committee, and edited by me following two periods of discernment at monthly meeting for business.

San Francisco Friends Meeting
Fund for Leadings

In May 2010, San Francisco Friends Meeting created a Fund for Leadings (Minute 2010-05-09). The purpose of this fund is to encourage Friends who feel “a sense of being called by God to undertake a specific course of action” to pursue their leadings. We hope members and regular attenders will feel inspired to apply for ministry support money to help manifest spiritual leadings. Friends will submit a written request and funds will be approved by the meeting for business to ensure fairness and transparency.

The meeting approved creating the Fund for Leadings with $30,000 from the General Fund. In First month 2011, the meeting will review and evaluate this program and the fund. Based on this review, the meeting would decide to continue the fund, apply additional funding, or lay down the fund. If the funds are not expended at that time, Friends will review the Fund again later.

We are excited this financial resource is being put to use for good works, spiritual leadings, and ministry as an expression of witness to our faith and practice as Friends. We look forward to education and conversation around the topic of our leadings in the coming months.

Guidelines for Requests for Support from the Fund

The intention of the Fund for Leadings is to support members and regular attenders of the San Francisco Friends meeting to pursue a new leading or a new phase of an existing leading, which would otherwise not be possible without corporate discernment and financial support. Ideally the Fund for Leadings would assist an individual (rather than an organization) who does not have access to or support from other funding sources.

Support from the Fund for Leadings will help Friends bring their ministry into action. Our hope is that the Fund for Leadings will stimulate dialogue and discernment of how Spirit is moving us to act in the world. From this deep listening, we encourage Friends to step forward, seek support, and consider submission of a proposal. All requests will be considered with the following guidelines in mind. To nurture this process, Ministry & Oversight will offer a series of workshops on discerning leadings and ideas for how to bring a leading into acts of ministry in the world. (Note: Funding is already available for scholarships and travel assistance to Quaker gatherings and conferences through the meeting’s Gatherings Fund.)

Clarification on “Leadings”

In Pacific Yearly Meeting's Faith & Practice, a “Leading” is defined (p. 135) as “a sense of being called by God to undertake a specific course of action. A Friend may submit a leading to the Meeting for testing by corporate wisdom. A leading often arises from a concern.” (A “concern” is defined as “a quickening sense of the need to do something about a situation or issue in response to what is felt to be a direct intimation of God’s will.”)

It is Friends practice to test a leading through prayerful individual and corporate discernment. (Discernment is “the process of seeking and discovering that which is deeply true.”) Friends seeking support through the Fund for Leadings should request a “Clearness Committee” from Ministry & Oversight for further discernment of their leadings. The report from the clearness committee should be included in the written request for support.


Heather Madrone said...

Santa Cruz Friends Meeting has a New Concerns fund for the purpose of supporting members' and attenders' leadings. It's been in operation for some years now.

Michael Bischoff said...

The Lyman Fund (http://www.pym.org/pm/more-53837.php) offers similar grants for leadings of Friends, though it is not based in a particular Meeting.

Chris M. said...

Heather and Michael - I'm glad to know about these other two funds. Thank you for mentioning them.