England 2011 – Brilliant!

(Me in front of the London Bridge in 2001)

Dear Friends,

This last fall I was invited by an organization I am a part of called Quakers Uniting in Publications (QUIP) to speak at their annual meeting on writing and to help release Spirit Rising: Young Quaker Voices, the book for which I have served as an editorial board member and contributor for the last three years. Though the book has been released since last May, the Quakers in Britain are holding a UK release and they would like to have me come and promote it as well as speak to Friends around the area.

Though I loved the idea of this opportunity when Gil, one of the co-clerks, first asked me to come, I thought about the conference and prayed over it for several months. I was, in fact, about to let the idea go due to my tight budget here at home but the idea has never let me go and so I decided to try some doors, to see what would open. First, I renewed my passport since it expired last September and started working on saving reward air miles to help with the airfare. I then talked this opportunity of ministry over with trusted mentors who gave me resounding encouragement and urged me to go to England.

Now things are falling into place. I am discussing with the Quakers in both Britain and the Netherlands where else they could use me while I’m there and the doors are opening one after another, in Lancaster, Brighton, Cambridge, around London, and in The Hague, Netherlands. I am really excited about these opportunities to minister with and spend time with the European Quakers. They are a group with a different flavor than both the Kenyan and US Quakers I have already had the gift of traveling amongst.

When our editorial board worked on Spirit Rising, dreaming of what it could be and do, we hoped the words would not only inspire a person to know God better and to more deeply understand and appreciate the diversity within Quakerism and humanity in general, but that the words would also inspire people of all theologies to discuss with each other the beliefs dear to them and form the difficult yet profound relationships we began between the ten of us editorial board members. We wanted what was birthed among us to grow in the book and come to fruition in the lives of those who read and discuss it. We wanted to see our work continued around the world, that the book would go back to the countries the words came from and spill out from there. This opportunity to go speak in Britain and the Netherlands is a part of that work. We need people in this world who will stand up and say they have done it; they have delved into the painful conversations with people different from themselves and to be honest about how they have been changed by those experiences. If we are to have greater cooperation among our various countries and theologies in this world, we need to hear the voices of those who are willing to say yes, it is hard, but yes, it is worth it. I want to be one of those people. As imperfect me, I want to stand up and help be that bridge crossing those divides and whatever country that ministry is in, whatever culture an audience comes from, that is where I want to be. This is the work I am called to.

In addition to the speaking and intervisition, I am also going to England and Netherlands on writing assignments from Friends Journal and Western Friend. I will be writing articles about experiences such as being an evangelical traveling amongst unprogrammed Friends and another on the QUIP conference. And of course, I will be blogging while I’m there.

Though different Quaker organizations are helping me fund the trip, I still have a ways to go. All told, the trip will cost around $2,200.00 between airfare, transportation, room and board, conference fees, and other miscellaneous expenses such as traveling health insurance, though this amount may grow a bit depending on the travel and time required for the additional speaking ministry. Though this amount takes into account the discount on airfare from my reward air miles and my being hosted by local Friends, this cost is still beyond my budget. I am fundraising through donations and what I can set aside out of my own income though I am trying to squirrel away whatever I can now as I will be missing a great deal of work to do this ministry. I would greatly appreciate any help you could give whether that is financial or holding me in prayer as I undertake this work. You can make out any checks directly to me. Specific prayer needs include guidance as we plan who I will be speaking to in addition to my work at the conference, smooth travel, safety, good health, and most importantly, that the words I bring to these groups are blessed and used by God.

As I said, I will be posting here to my blog as I travel, www.WalkingtheSea.blogspot.com. I invite you to check in with me to see how the trip is going, both in the planning and execution. I will leave sometime in late April and return in early May. Thank you for your consideration in helping me minister in Britain and The Netherlands.

Please contact me with any further questions. I hope you are doing well in the New Year.

Sarah Katreen Hoggatt

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