its role-past and future-in the life of the Religious Society of Friends. A broad and rich body of critical thinking was assessed. The conference was organized by a committee from Illinois Yearly Meeting, which issued the invitations and had, over a period of a year, worked out the program in consultation with other groups. Participants included representatives from various activities and interests across the branches of Friends, including programmed and evangelical meetings: 19 other yearly meetings, several colleges with workcamp experience, the Philadelphia Weekend Workcamps, Washington Quaker Workcamps, the Casa de los Amigos in Mexico, Friends Peace Teams, the AFSC, PRO-NICA, Youth Services Opportunities in New York, the Arizona Prison Project, Quaker Experiential Service and Training in Seattle, and Friends Disaster Service.
A final epistle and conference report is available from the organizers. These record a broad examination of the spiritual process in Quaker service, including waiting for and discerning a leading, reaching clearness, receiving oversight and exercising accountability, and both giving and laying down support for concerns. Careful attention was given to ways to keep service projects truly Spirit-led.
The gathering laid the ground for continuing networking among individuals and groups with converging interests. Thus, the experience of a small AFSC/yearly meeting group visiting and working with a Native American community for a few days was viewed alongside the complex process of living with a South Carolina community for several months while jointly rebuilding an African American congregation's burned church. Impressions of what this meant to all persons concerned were exchanged and evaluated.
Although it was not headlined at Burlington, the kind of service that might be volunteered on a larger scale is illustrated by the activities of Friends supported by the Pickett Fund. That fund, created in memory of Lilly and Clarence Pickett, liberates Friends to express their concerns in selected communities. In recent years it enabled a Homewood (Baltimore, Md.) Friend to interpret the world population problem among Friends and a Boulder (Colo.) member to work toward finding ways of dealing with land mines in war-torn areas. In the current year three young women are carrying out service entailing directing the Chicago Fellowship of Friends summer day camp program; working with Friends Board Training and Support Project to find and train young Friends as volunteer board members; and going from Greensboro, North Carolina, to participate in a workcamp in Ramallah, West Bank.
The Burlington consultation was clear that the activities reported need to continue and expand. It was not clear how this is to be accomplished. An interim group was proposed to create and operate some kind of continuing organization that might help assure strengthened volunteer service opportunities. This step awaits further communication and consultation. Some participants are fearful that if that responsibility were to be assumed by a bureaucratic AFSC, the underlying emphasis on volunteer service and its distinctively Quaker oversight would be lost. The challenge now is for imaginative Friends to step forth and carry the enthusiasm and dedication joined at Burlington into a new era of nurtured volunteer service. We should involve a broad spectrum of persons committed to recreating channels for service fitting to our time and for the generation to come.
For information on the Burlington Conference, the author thanks Harold Confer, David Finke, Kenneth Ives, Judy Jager, and Marti Matthews. Copies of the following materials may be obtained by communicating with the organizing committee for the Burliniton Conference.
List of participants and interested organizations
Directory of Quaker Service, Training, Witness, and Internships, 1996
Mailing list for Newsletter
Address.- Judy Jager, 1002 Florence Avenue, Evanston, IL 60202 Phone 847-864-8173
Web site: http://www.uic.edu/-conant/qvstc