Last August I received an invitation from FGC to consider proposing a workshop for the 2013 Gathering, along with a note that on the evaluation forms someone had suggested I might lead a workshop on “regaining the prophetic voice.” After sitting with potential co-facilitators, I was very pleased when Jonathan expressed interest in working with me, and with the topic. I was drawn to the general topic, because of my own call to ministry and the travel I have done among Friends over the last 8 years. In 1999 I had an experience of being called to ministry during meeting for worship at New England Yearly Meeting. “As Quakers we have a powerful heritage, but today we are a pale shadow of who we are called to be. The world needs what we hold, and we need to come forward and live faithfully to the Spirit and to the Quaker tradition.” The experience was transformative. The call I felt began a journey to understand the Spirit’s work in my life, to increase the alignment of my life with the eternal patterns, and to invite others to pursue their own alignment. While I am very cautious of loaded words such as “prophetic”, Jonathan and I were able to negotiate a title that worked for both of us, and we invite you to join us in “practicing prophetic ministry.”
To provide more of my spiritual history, I grew up in a dissident Mormon family, with 13 brothers and sisters. Our parents were well-educated, independent thinkers, who encouraged us to think and reflect. I left the Mormon church in my twenties, and first attended Quaker meeting with my husband, John, in Cairo, Egypt, during the first Gulf War. I had read Quaker books as a kid, but I’m not really sure what drew us to the Quaker worship group in Cairo. Over the next few years we attended Ithaca Monthly Meeting, and then a small worship group in Hanoi, Vietnam, while I was doing my doctoral research. I became a member of Ithaca Monthly Meeting in 1995, in part triggered by reading The Quiet Rebels, and feeling that this was a tradition I wanted to be a part of. We moved to West Virginia shortly after becoming members of Ithaca Meeting, and transferred membership to there. We were in West Virginia for three years, and during the second and third years we were very active in the Charleston Meeting, even though we had an hour’s drive each way. We moved to Connecticut in 1998, and have been active in the Hartford Monthly Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting since that time.
Over the last 14 years I have intentionally kept my work commitments at less than full time, in order to protect the time I need for maintaining my spiritual life and engaging in the ministry I am led to. Professionally I am trained in international nutrition and public health, and I teach and do research in the area of international nutrition, nutrition and infectious disease, and community health. I live in Hartford, CT with my husband John, and our two sons Rainer (18) and CJ (16). In my spare time I sit on the back porch and watch the birds and the trees, quilt, read, garden and can.
Debbie Humphries, June 2013
From Mormonism to Quakers, more about Debbie’s spiritual journey