After 38 years of being a Quaker, I felt led to join the First United Methodist Church of Pasadena, where Jill and I have been warmly welcomed, appreciated and supported for the last few years. I still plan to attend Orange Grove Quaker meeting, which meets right after the Methodist service since I love the Quaker way of worship, our Quaker testimonies, and my dear Quaker friends, some of whom I've known since coming to California thirty some years ago to marry Kathleen Ross, my wife of blessed memory. Kathleen was a Methodist pastor I met at Pendle Hill, a Quaker Center for Study and Contemplation near Philadelphia. For twenty years Kathleen and I had a Quaker-Methodist alliance which enhanced both our ministries. She passed away of cancer 13 years ago, but still lives in my heart and inspires me.
I'm thrilled that Jill has been welcomed into the Methodist community where her calling for housing justice is deeply appreciated and respected. We love Pastors Amy, Connie and Jen. They are incredibly kind and supportive of us and our social and racial justice work. As I get to know the congregation, I am enjoying making new friends who seem vaguely familiar since I've been part of the Methodist family for almost as long as I've been a Quaker.
I felt God's presence and love surrounding me when I stood in front of this beautiful congregation and affirmed my commitment to be part of this Christian fellowship. And I am experiencing the spiritual and emotional healing I need to continue my calling to be a Christian Quaker, to practice kindness and friendship, and work for justice and peace. I thank God for leading me to this new and life-giving phase in my spiritual development.
I am also thankful for the 126+ friends who liked or loved this reflection when I posted it on my Facebook page. Their affirmation of my leading warmed my heart. I felt as if the angels of heaven must have been rejoicing when I made my commitment to be part of the First United Methodist Church of Pasadena!
Here are some of the heart-warming comments. (Sandy Olewine is a Methodist pastor I've known for nearly 30 years and love and respect deeply.)
"God speed you on your continuing spiritual journey." --Gil Skidmore.
"This is great Anthony. Good on you for following your leading." Fe Renee.
Paul "speaks my mind," as Quakers say. I thoroughly enjoyed the article he recommended, which explores the profound relationship between modern Quakers and Anglicans.
I've also written and spoken about "experiencing the Light as a Quaker and as a Methodist": https://laquaker.blogspot.com/2012/03/experiencing-light-as-quaker-and-as.html , For me, Quakerism and Methodism are complementary.