Relations with Meetings & Churches

From its beginning two concerns have shaped the mission of ESR: (1) faithfulness to the historic Quaker understanding of ministry; (2) and responsiveness to the contemporary needs of the Religious Society of Friends, the wider church community, and the world. The latter goal can be realized only as ESR lives in dialogue with these various local, regional, and global communities.

By participating in such faith communities our own lives and our corporate life are nurtured. By listening with sensitivity, our curriculum and classes can be informed by the current issues of ministry and service. In acting with discernment, our resources can be shared in support of and for the enrichment of the work of meetings and churches. The school, its faculty, staff, and students seek to remain actively involved in the wider ministry of the church, as well as related agencies and organizations.

Visitations by students and faculty to monthly and yearly meetings have been an important part of the life of ESR. ESR faculty members attend yearly meeting sessions across the country. Often they are invited to participate as resource persons in the program. Through their ministry of music, the Bethany-ESR Choir has enriched the worship of many meetings and churches, both in the Richmond area and elsewhere.

Through the years ESR faculty members have given leadership to Friends meetings. Some have served in pastoral ministry on weekends or during sabbaticals. Many serve on the boards and committees of yearly meetings, other Quaker organizations, or other church groups. Faculty regularly preach, teach, lecture, and lead workshops and retreats. All are actively involved in a local meeting or church.

Each teaching faculty member has had significant ministry experience prior to joining the ESR faculty. These experiences and commitments are valued in the recruitment of new faculty and in the evaluations of continuing faculty.