All About the Ministry of Vanessa Julye

Vanessa's journey has been to listen to members of the Religious Society of Friends, especially people of Color (past and present.) She shares the experiences of people of Color with The Society of Friends to help Quakerism become a whole blessed community. A large part of her ministry is to hear that people of Color often do not feel welcomed and included in the Religious Society of Friends. Vanessa's ministry involves a combination of visiting, writing, speaking, and traveling to provide witness and education. She also provides leadership on a number of committees and concern groups in the wider Quaker community that have grown out of her ministry. Vanessa responds to requests for visits from Friends schools, organizations, yearly, quarterly and monthly meetings. This ministry is well-rooted in the Quaker Testimony of Equality and is a concern that needs lifting up in the Religious Society of Friends at this time.

The ministry has been tested over a period of eight years, and has gradually grown, not only as a result of Vanessa's inward leading, but as a response to her outward practice of visitations and other work. All indications are that there is a readiness for her ministry, an opening that seems of the Divine.

Called to do this work in 1994, one of the ways Vanessa started answering this call was by serving as the convener of a worship group for people of color at Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting 1996. She continues this work in the present, also providing pastoral care for individuals of color. She clerked the Fellowship of Friends of African Descent from 1996 to 2002. In June 2000, she received a minute for religious service from her meeting, Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (CPMM). This minute has since been endorsed by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting's Interim Meeting.

Vanessa has given numerous workshops and written several articles about her experience as a Friend of Color in the Religious Society of Friends. These have been published in The Canadian Friend, CPMM's newsletter, FGC Connections, Friends Journal, Quaker Life and Westtown in Word and Deed. Vanessa and her ministry were the focus of an article in the December 2000 issue of Essence Magazine (a popular magazine for African American women).

She travels in the ministry to monthly meetings as a participant in Friends General Conference's Traveling Ministry Program. Vanessa travels specifically sharing her concern about racism within the Religious Society of Friends and to nurture isolated Friends of Color. Nurturing Friends of Color includes visits to meetings that have one or a few people of Color as members or attenders.

As a part of her ministry Vanessa is researching and co-writing a publication about the historical and present day relationship of Friends and people of African descent. This book will include biographies of specific Friends of Color. Unacknowledged racism in the Religious Society of Friends is one of the historical factors that make it difficult for African Americans to join and remain in our society.