Marjory, a Seeker for over 30 years, speaks about her call to outreach teaching
My call to “outreach teaching” has emerged over time. It began as a high school history teacher in the 60s. Then, while my husband, Peter, was in Vietnam, I began working with a potter’s wheel and the clay drew me to more experiential learning. For a decade (1970-1980), I was a professional potter. When we moved to DC in 1976, I was in a cooperative studio at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia.
During those quiet years in the pottery studio, I explored the “inward journey” of prayer, journaling, meditation and retreat. When we landed at Seekers in 1976, I moved into the Seekers School of Christian Living and joined the sponsoring mission group, Learners & Teachers. In our periodic gift-discernment exercise, somebody named my gift as “outreach teaching,” and I think that fits. Writing, speaking, creating retreats and continuing to deepen my own spiritual life are all part of that call.
After study at Virginia Theological Seminary (1982-85), I worked as the Executive Director of Faith@Work, a national small-group ministry. We sponsored retreats and published F@W magazine as a resource for helping people discover call and ministry in daily life. Out of that experience, several books emerged: Braided Streams: Esther and a Woman’s Way of Growing; Seasons of Friendship Naomi and Ruth as a Model, and Call to the Soul: Six Stages of Spiritual Development. (Click here for more on the books.)
In 2002, Peter and I led the first F@W work-pilgrimage to Guatemala and when I retired in 2008, Seekers became the sponsor for that yearly trip. Peace Accords in 1996 had promised elementary education to the indigenous people of Guatemala, but there were few schools then, so building schools with local villagers was our focus. Over the years, more than 25 Seekers participated in one or more of the 15 trips that we organized and led. Now that the need for new schools has largely been met (and we are 15 years older), we have set that call down.
In anticipation of Seekers’ move from the Church of the Saviour headquarters building to our present location in Takoma Park, I worried about retaining members who lived in Virginia. Emily Gilbert, Muriel Lipp and I, all Virginia residents then, started Living Water Mission Group to “tend the inner life of Seekers” and, incidentally, to care for the elders in our community. Since then, Living Water has sponsored silent retreats, offered classes in the School, and encouraged discussion of aging and dying in our community.
At Seekers, I have also continued membership in Learners & Teachers, offering classes regularly in our (renamed) School for Christian Growth. Using the notes and papers of Sonya Dyer and Muriel Lipp, along with minutes from Stewards, I was glad to complete Stalking the Spirit, a history of Seekers Church in time for our 40th anniversary in 2016.
Now that Peter and I have moved to an apartment close to Seekers Church, my interest in learning and teaching continues. I’ve also been making biodegradable burial urns which are designed to dissolve with the ashes of a loved one, and sharing my long history with Church of the Saviour as chair of the CoS Council. I continue to be grateful to Seekers as a place to give and receive the gifts of a creative and inclusive community!