I was first inspired by the idea of prophetic service more than ten years ago when Noah Merrill, now the Secretary of New England Yearly Meeting, and I first connected. We found ourselves wondering and dreaming about what the contemporary witness of Friends could and should be for our generation of young adults. This concept of prophetic service, first coined by Rufus Jones, became a key idea behind the creation of Quaker Voluntary Service.
Prophetic service means engaging in both the inward and outward work of transformation. For many young adults in our program, QVS is their first foray into the realities of the struggle for social change within complex and imperfect systems and institutions. By centering the program year in intentional Quaker community, young adults are better able to integrate their values, practices, and identities in such a way that their work can be grounded in love and joy, rather than clouded by fear and aggression.
As Quakers, we believe engaging in this way does not try to obscure the realities of privilege, oppression, racism, classism, and all of the many other real challenges that face someone engaged in service, but rather confronts issues openly, with integrity and humbleness, staying grounded in God’s leading and guidance, constantly remaining accountable to those in the community of service.
Quaker Voluntary Service grew out of a leading to find a new way to bring Spirit-grounded Friends witness to the world.
Now in our sixth year, QVS celebrates over 100 alumni. These inspiring young adults have gone on to work in Quaker organizations, nonprofits, and businesses, attend graduate school, and more as they continue to integrate the QVS experience into the rest of their lives. We are humbled to have impacted the work of over 60 organizations who have hosted a QVS Fellow. We give gratitude for partnerships with Quaker meetings, churches and individuals who have given deeply of themselves in support of these young adults, mentoring them in the Quaker Way.
Will you be part of a hopeful future for the Religious Society of Friends and the world?
As we move into our next five years, QVS is committed to continue deepening our roots in the legacy of Quaker service, grounding in our successful model, and growing in our reach and impact. A generous Friend is offering a matching gift for all new and increased donations, up to $25,000. Help us to provide more opportunities for prophetic service among Friends, and to build on the success of our first five years by making a gift today.
Founding Executive Director