We mentioned briefly in our first post about this that Friends United Meeting was likely on the list for a change of leadership.
The details of that are at the FUM website (scroll down to the link to the Memo from the Executive Committee), and applications are due by September 1.
FUM has been a troubled organization, about which much has been written online. My own analysis, called “Wrestling With A Roomful of Elephants,” was posted in 2007, and still seems largely on target. Perhaps the most extensive comments in recent years have come from Johan Maurer, a former FUM General Secretary, via his blog; here’s an archive.
I have often differed with Johan, but in his latest comment is a response that I can only second. He writes:
When I first saw the [FUM General Secretary job] announcement, I immediately thought of several people who should consider applying. I didn’t think about the details of the announcement; instead, the people who came to my mind were creative, energetic, visionary, expressive. I was still under the impression that being the general secretary of Friends United Meeting is the best job there is among Friends. I still want to believe that FUM is the strategic center of the Quaker world, the best place to catalyze the revival of the Quaker movement, if we can just shed the perennial jockeying over who will be the first to leave if the others don’t straighten out.
The very first person I encouraged to consider applying gave me a healthy reality check. Bottom line from this observer I respect highly: this is not an attractive organization to work for.
Somebody will fill the post, no doubt; and I hope he/she will do a good job. But if I were to make a list of Friends who seem to me, as Johan says, “creative, energetic, visionary, expressive” (and committed to peace and justice and serious Quakerism), I don’t think I would urge any of them to apply for it.
FUM is a mess. Maybe a terminal mess. I’m not at all sure it is the “strategic center of the Quaker world,” or if it ever was; indeed, I’m not sure there is such a “center” just now. Nor am I sure that’s a bad thing.
Can FUM be fixed? We’ll wait and see; but optimism is not in much supply on that front.