Traveling Ministries

About the Program

ESR’s Traveling Ministries program seeks to share the spiritual and intellectual gifts of the School’s faculty with the wider community by offering faculty speakers to interested organizations for mutually beneficial learning opportunities. By traveling in this ministry, we aspire to extend the boundaries of the spiritual and educational experience available on campus at ESR. 

The subjects offered are varied and include: Bible Studies, Quaker Faith and Practice, Meeting/Church Management, Christian Spirituality, and Religious Education. The Traveling Ministries program holds that workshops and presentations are not just contributions of the speakers as individuals; they are also a gift freely given by ESR as we seek to nurture society and share some part of ESR’s Quaker vitality with the larger community.

This opportunity to have Quaker seminary faculty engaged in such vital and practical interactions among F/friends is a mutual ministry that has limitless possibilities to enrich all who are involved.

This brochure contains a list of workshop topics that highlight the interests and skills of the teaching faculty.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I request a speaker?

To secure a speaker for your organization, first determine the specifics or parameters of your need:

· Date, time and duration for the speaking engagement

· Purpose for the workshop (retreat, visioning session, education, etc.)

· Audience and audience expectation

After you contact ESR with details of the engagement, we will seek to match faculty interest and availability to your needs.

Who can request a speaker?

Any organization that may find topics of interest available through ESR’s Traveling Ministries program. We expect interest in our offerings particularly among Friends meetings and churches, schools, retirement communities and other Quaker and religious organizations.

Is there a cost?

There is no charge for this service as ESR seeks to offer it as a ministry of outreach from the school to the wider body of Friends and the community. Should an honorarium be offered to the speaker, it would be a gift to that individual.

How far in advance do I need to schedule a speaker?

We ask a minimum of four weeks in order to allow time for discernment of speaker and confirmation of arrangements. The earlier you make your request, the better the opportunity to have a well-planned event.

Whom do I contact if I have more questions?

For additional information, contact Mandy Ford, Director of External Relations by phone 765-973-2158, 800-432-1377 or by email at


Stephen Angell

Geraldine Leatherock Professor of Quaker Studies, B.A., Boston University, 1974; M.A. Earlham School of Religion, 1982; M.A. Vanderbilt University, 1987; Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 1988

Phil Baisley*

Associate Professor of Pastoral Studies, B. S., Lancaster Bible College, 1975; M.Div., Earlham School of Religion, 1993; DMin, Ashland Theological Seminary, 2009

Nancy Bowen**

Associate Professor of Old Testament, B.A. University of California, 1978; M.Div., School of Theology at Claremont, 1985; Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary, 1994

Stephanie Crumley-Effinger*

Director of Supervised Ministry, B.A., Earlham College, 1977; M.Div., Earlham School of Religion, 1981

Jim Higginbotham**

Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care & Counseling, B.A., Hiram College, 1980; M.Div., Vanderbilt University, 1983; M.S., Loyola College of Maryland, 1990; Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2005

Jay Marshall*

Dean, Earlham School of Religion and Vice President of Earlham, A.B., Guilford College, 1985; M.Div., Duke Divinity School, 1988; Ph.D., Duke University, 1992

Tim Seid

Associate Dean & Assistant Professor of New Testament Studies, B.A., Grace College, 1981; M.A., Wheaton College Graduate School, 1984; Ph.D., Brown University, 1996

Carole Spencer*

Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality, Gordon College, 1963-1964; West Chester State College, Philadelphia College of Bible, 1968; Fuller Theological Seminary, 1983;  M.A., Western Evangelical Seminary, 1987; PhD in Theology, University of Birmingham, 2004

Lonnie Valentine

Professor of Peace and Justice Studies, B.A., Raymond College, University of the Pacific, 1970; B.A., University of California at Irvine, 1975; M.A., Earlham School of Religion, 1983; Ph.D., Emory University, 1989

Ben Brazil

Assistant Professor and Director of the Ministry of Writing Program, B.A. University of North Carolina, 1999;  M.T.S. Candler School of Theology, Emory University, 2005;  Ph.D. candidate, Emory University, 

*Recorded Friends minister; **Ordained minister


A Quaker Approach to the Bible as Literature

In their early history, Friends denied that the Bible was the primary authority for faith. Rather, it was the Spirit of Christ that was the primary authority. This affected how they read scripture. This session will explore contemporary approaches to reading the Bible as literature as a way of recapturing the power of the biblical text as early Friends did.

Images of God in the Bible

We will explore the diversity of ways that God is imaged in the Bible, the meaning and significance of those images, and how they might shape our own understanding of God.

Women in the Bible

This session offers a study of stories of women in the Bible and consideration of their significance for contemporary women’s and men’s lives.

The Bible and Media

Explore how the Bible is interpreted in art, music, film, books, or blogs. The particular medium will be selected in consultation with presenter and host congregation/meeting. How do these representations differ from the biblical text? What is the significance of the medium and/or its message for faith and life today?

Surviving Terror

We will use the book of Ezekiel to consider issues of faith and God in the context of national and individual trauma.

The Bible as Living Spirituality

In this workshop (or retreat), we will apply various approaches to reading scripture in life-giving ways, including lectio divina, Ignatian reading, and early Friends’ approach to scripture.

Faith and the Bible

The deepest roots of biblically grounded faith are nourished by the materials in the Old Testament. This workshop provides an overview of history, themes and images that contribute to a rich understanding of God in our modern quest for meaningful faith.

Understanding Paul Today

The Apostle Paul has been a lightning rod of controversy: his letters have been used by those seeking reformation as well as extermination. Recent studies of Paul and his place in the first century world are providing constructive ways to understand Paul’s message in the contemporary world.

A Retreat with Women of the New Testament

By examining the stories of women in the New Testament, especially in Luke’s Gospel, we can explore how women have related to God and how Jesus relates to women. With Luke’s story of Mary and Martha as our focal point, we’ll examine our own response to the radical freedom Jesus offers and our willingness to imitate the examples of discipleship provided by the women we will meet in the Bible.

Quaker Faith And Practice

Emerging Leadership Among Friends

We will focus on the individual’s call to ministry, the recording process, and historical perspectives of designated Friends ministry. Our primary emphasis will be on self-examination of vocational skills, ministry from life wounding, and spiritual gifts.

The Quaker Peace Testimony

The Friends classic 1660 statement to Charles II has become known as the basis for the Quaker Peace Testimony. However, how early Friends saw their testimony in relation to those in political power is often not understood. Peace was their “vocational” witness, which allowed the possibility that others might properly use physical coercion and war. Early Quakers did not deny the authority of those in power to use the sword, but saw their own call to peacemaking.

Conflict Transformation

What can we learn from the field of conflict resolution in order to promote human development, including spiritual growth?  The insights from the Christian and Quaker tradition on reconciliation can be supplemented by insights from practitioners of conflict resolution in the larger world.  This work can be applied to interpersonal, Meeting/Church or larger social conflict.

Clearness Committees: Function and Practice

One of the treasures of Quaker heritage (now being discovered by other Christian groups as well) is the clearness committee, a practice in which people gather prayerfully to listen and offer reflective questions to someone who is facing a decision, dilemma, or other need for discernment and centered guidance. In the workshop Friends will learn about committees for clearness and their basis in Christ’s spirit being present to guide and direct, and have the opportunity to sample the experience. The workshop is available in shorter (minimally 2 hours) and longer forms, with the latter allowing for more depth and additional practice opportunities.

The Light in the Understanding and Experience of Early Friends

Quakers talk much about the inward Light of Christ, or the inner light. But what was the grounding for this central idea of Quakerism in the Bible? And how did the first generation of Friends conceive of it?

Quaker History and Theory of Missions and Outreach

In what ways have Quakers from every branch of the Society of Friends sought to influence the world in the past century? What can we learn from them and apply to the present? This workshop will focus mainly on missions and outreach in Japan and China since 1885 initiated by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Britain Yearly Meeting, and Evangelical Friends Church Eastern Region, as well as any missions and outreach efforts that have flowed these efforts.

Meeting/Church Growth And Management

The Quaker Pastor - A Different Animal?

What, if anything, makes a Friends pastor different from the pastor of the Baptist church down the street. Is there something in our theology that guides us to do typical pastoral ministries in a distinctly “friendly” manner? In this workshop we will consider answers to those questions.

Development and Fundraising

Obtaining resources for non-profit organizations occurs in many different forms: annual fund appeals, capital campaigns, grant writing, major gift solicitations and fees for service, to name just a few. This session will offer an overview of general fundraising principles, or focus on a particular aspect of nonprofit development, depending on the interests of the prospective audience.

Getting from Here to There: A Visioning Workshop

A workshop for leaders seeking a vision for the future based on their meeting’s history, core values, and uniqueness.

Servant Leadership

A seminar on leadership based on Jesus’ teaching and example.

Nurturing Vocal Ministry

The Christian understanding of the ministry of every believer is foundational to worship based in silent waiting and faithful response to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, whether this forms part of a programmed meeting for worship or the whole hour in an unprogrammed meeting. This workshop helps Friends deepen their understanding of the universal ministry and its manifestation in worship. Personal and group preparation will be considered, as well as the meeting’s responsibility for nurture of those who offer vocal ministry.

Vision for Contemporary Pastoral Friends

Pastoral Friends combine traditions from both Quaker and various Protestant expressions of Christian faith and practice. Some claim that identity, integrity and vitality are all at stake. This workshop will discuss the development of the pastoral system among Friends and the ways in which different meetings draw upon various strands of Christian experience. Together we will think about what is most important in planning ministry for the present and future.

Meeting Evangelism

Most Friends shy away from the “E” word. Even so, one facet of a faith community’s life together is determining how it will relate to the larger community in which it resides. Friends do indeed have good news to share. This workshop will help meetings think about outreach in ways that are appropriate to a Quaker understanding of the gospel.

Quaker: Vitality in the Small Meeting/Church

Despite widespread decline of membership, Friends are vital and thriving in several locations. This workshop shares a few of these stories of vitality, identifies commonalities observed in these diverse settings, and encourages meetings to consider their own state of vitality and, if needed, how to strengthen it.

How to Be a Clerk

You’ve been asked by the Nominating Committee to clerk a committee, or a meeting, but you’ve never done it before. How do you go about it? This workshop focuses on the nuts-and-bolts of clerking a meeting for business, including how to fashion an agenda, how to recognize and record the sense of the meeting, how to handle dissension in the meeting when it arises, and any other question that may come to your mind.

Creating a Caring Meeting/Congregation

How do we compassionately respond to the suffering and everyday challenges of people’s lives? This workshop builds on the strengths of the congregation/meeting. We explore how to enable a ministry of care which creates space for healing and growth among individuals, families, and the faith community when they go through difficult times, and understands that compassionate relationships must be nurtured.


Spirituality of Peacemaking

This workshop connects the interior work with work for social change in the world. Some examples of spiritual peacemakers are examined, such as John Woolman, Gandhi, M.L. King, Thomas Merton, and the Dalai Lama. Participants are introduced to various spiritual practices that explicitly link the inner and outer worlds.

The Spiritual Life and Suffering

We live in a world that is filled with loss, tragedy, and many forms of human distress; how do we make sense of it all in light of our faith? Through the Bible, media, and personal sharing we will examine how we understand and find the spiritual resources to respond to suffering. We will reflect on  theological questions about the nature of suffering, and explore a ministry of care that is sensitive to the unanswerable dimensions of the human condition.

Living Prayer

In this day-long workshop or retreat, participants will explore various approaches to prayer in daily life. We will name the natural ways that we are already praying, and also expand our repertoire of daily devotion.

Women Mystics:  What They Show Us About the Spiritual Life

In this workshop (or retreat), we will look at the lives, witness, and writings of three women mystics from the medieval period of European history: Mechthild of Magdeburg, Julian of Norwich, and Teresa of Avila. We will, in particular, explore the vital egalitarian vision of gender and spirituality that they held.

Spirituality and the Body

In this workshop (or retreat) we will explore the history of Christian spirituality as it relates to the body, healing practices, and focusing approaches in responding to the body. Participants will be led in reflective exercises on their own spirituality as related to their own body as well as invited to dialogue about contemporary healing modalities.

Not for Experts Only! -- Theological Reflection and the Rest of Us

Seeking understanding of the world around one in connection with faith is the work of theology. Guided discussions of films, stories, poems, and pictures are among the opportunities for theological reflection on experiences and issues from ordinary life. Participants will share in a common reading or viewing and then be led in reflecting on it from different perspectives of life and faith.

Religious Education

The Learning Environment

What goes into creating an effective environment? This workshop examines the things that contribute to creating a healthy, welcoming, nurturing, and fun place for kids to learn and grow spiritually.

The Art of Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers

This is NOT “Arm-twisting 101.” It’s a plan for ongoing renewal of your teachers and other volunteer staff through planning, training, and encouragement.

A Safe Place for Kids

A seminar on how to create a safe, healthy environment for children in your meeting. A must for meetings in the process of implementing a child protection program.

What? Me a Creative Teacher?

Develop the art of thinking creatively, and learn how a little creativity can go a long way toward helping people learn.


“This workshop was very clarifying for the issues we face. The facilitator was very tuned in to the group and filled an essential role.” —Don Bender, Atlanta Friends Meeting, Georgia

“David Johns is a very good facilitator of each of us seeking the light of the Spirit— sharing that with others and hearing the light from others in the community—as well as sharing his own. Good model for living out Quaker theology. Thank you David.” —Patricia May, Pittsburgh Friends Meeting, Pennsylvania

“Both inspirational and informative.” —Susan Kay, Holy Trinity Episcopal, Oxford, Ohio

“Lloyd Lee [Wilson] was an instrument used to teach me about the need of prayer, the importance of community in spiritual development and the continuity education in the school of Christ.” —Annie Glen, Hopewell Friends, Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting, Indiana

“She led me to appreciate more than I have before the resources that we have, raising the possibility that we can gather, amplify and focus them to greater effect.” —Rob Settlage, Whittier First Friends, California

“The speaker did an excellent job of presenting relevant information and answering participants questions. He was well-prepared and came with a table full of relevant handouts.” —Sheila Rosenthal, Progressive Alliance of Lafayette

“Jay is a talented facilitator. His command of the subject matter was impressive. I thoroughly enjoyed the day.” —Ed English, West Branch Iowa Friends Church Ministry and Counsel.