At our recent Quarterly Meeting, Annapolis Friends made an appeal for funds to support Ann Riggs’ ministry. To provide additional background on that appeal, below is a piece written by Georgia Fuller of Langley Hill Friends Meeting, who has visited Friends Theological College and taught courses there. Georgia’s piece highlights many aspects of Ann’s work that you might not think about in connection with training pastors at a theological college, like the Alternatives to Violence Project, peacemaking especially relating to election violence, promoting and providing clean water, sustainable agriculture, supporting micro-enterprises, and more.
Also, to see Ann’s regular reports on her work, see http://fum.org/category/resources/directories/field-staff/ann-riggs/
Support Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Work in Kenya
Ann Riggs, is the first woman Principal (Dean and President) of Friends Theological College (FTC) in Kaimosi, Kenya. She needs our financial and spiritual support now in order to gain accreditation and financial stability for this 71-year old Quaker institution. Ann is an embraced Friend of Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM), supported by Annapolis Meeting. This means she works in our name. Ann’s ground-breaking work is BYM’s work. Right now our work needs a financial transfusion.
Ann’s ministry account is administered through Friends United Meeting, of which BYM is a founding member. It supports her health benefits, retirement, travel between Kenya and the U.S. and living expenses. One hundred percent (100%) of everything we donate to her account goes directly to Ann Riggs and is tax deductible.
Donate by check:
- payable to Friends United Meeting
with a memo line reading “for the ministry account of Ann Riggs.”
- 101 Quaker Hill Drive, Richmond, Indiana 47374.
Donate by credit card:
- Call 765-962-7573
- Ask Barbara Smith or Kim Schull to process contributions for Ann Riggs.
Donate by internet:
- select “Field Staff: Ann Riggs”
Technically FTC is “just” a Bible college, but thanks to Ann it also teaches Alternatives to Violence Programs (AVP), mediation, grassroots organizing, Quaker history, and micro-enterprises. To address the violence that followed the December 2007 elections, students and faculty joined with other Friends to form Friends Church Peace Teams. These Quaker teams delivered food, supplies, medical aid, trauma healing and spiritual counseling to 4,000 Kenyans displaced by that violence. The recent March 4, 2013 elections were relatively peaceful, thanks in part to the continued work of Friends Church Peace Teams. For example, students and faculty from Friends Theological College worked in the field as accredited election observers. Ann’s vision is to mold pastors who are as skilled in peace-making as they are in theology and scripture—women and men who are as skilled in building a thriving community as they are in individual pastoral care. Help Quaker values continue to grow and blossom in Kenya!
Clean Water is Life-Giving Work
Clean water is a prerequisite for thriving, and even just surviving, in a country that straddles the equator. Quaker pastors who graduate from FTC have experienced the importance and relative ease of harvesting rainwater. They can bring this technology to their communities. The photo at the left is the water collection tank at Ann’s house during a monsoon.
One skill taught at FTC is making and selling bio-sand water filters. The supplies are cheap, and the manufacture is labor intensive. This is a good thing for a country where unemployment and underemployment are high. Studies show that children do better in school with clean drinking water. Even if they do not appear sick from polluted water, their bodies are fighting so hard to suppress parasites and germs that their energy for studying and learning is minimized.
The experience of Friends working with HIV+ widows is that clean drinking water extends women’s lives by up to 7 years. This gives widows more time to raise their children.
Theology + Agri-Business As Way Opens
Above, center is Georgia Fuller, Langley Hill Friends Meeting with her class at FTC. She taught intensive courses in April of 2011 and 2012. Georgia says living with Ann Riggs, at Friends Theological College, is like rooming with a college president and the chief of a mid-sized village. Rural colleges in Kenya need to be as self-sufficient as possible. During Ann’s tenure, the college has expanded its vegetable gardens and has added a greenhouse. Roaster chickens, milk goats, and sugar cane and tea fields were recently added to FTC’s businesses.
Ann has also expanded FTC’s herd of dairy cows.
Below, left, is the dairy calf born when Georgia was first at FTC. It was named “Georgia.” When she returned in 2012, she sought out her namesake, photo below, right]
Help Carry our Witness through the Economic Crisis
In 2011, the world-wide economic downturn hit Friends in Kenya especially hard. Inflation is about 14% per annum and is still rising. The unemployment rate is 40%. To help students attend the college, Ann solicits contributions. She also provides work-study opportunities. Below left is Ruth, who finds studying easier with the reading glasses donated by the Young Friends at Langley Hill. To the right is Ruth working as the housekeeper for guests at FTC.
Unfortunately, FTC’s expanded and new micro-business, which have the capacity to give the college a firm financial foundation, are still young and in need of Ann’s oversight and nurture. Like the rest of us, Ann Riggs only has a 24-hour day. She can’t raise money to support these growing businesses and support herself at the same time. She needs help from Friends in Baltimore Yearly Meeting and elsewhere to fund her ministry account.
Our support of Ann Riggs at FTC opens our experience the Quaker diversity that Friends in Kenya have to offer. It also gives Kenyans a chance to experience us. Every First Day at 3:00 pm, Friends, including programmed Friends from the U.S., gather at Ann’s house for expectant, waiting worship, pictured below.
When Georgia first arrived at FTC, students and faculty were puzzled that she was not a pastor. Then they remembered their Quaker history and exclaimed, “Oh! You are the silent kind!”
“I would like Kenyan Quakers to associate Baltimore Yearly Meeting with more than our unique style of worship. I want them to experience BYM as faithful and committed to the diversity that our Friends in Kenya offer us. I want them to know that Baltimore Yearly Meeting gave Kenyan Quakers Ann Riggs, the woman who brought academic and financial stability to their college.”
Georgia E. Fuller, Ph.D., Langley Hill Friends Meeting
Lecturer at Friends Theological College, 2011-2012
As of June 13, Ann’s deficit for this year alone was $24,448. For FY 2013-14, the total amount needed to fund Ann’s ministry account is $75,000. Please donate generously by check a check mailed to Friends United Meeting or by credit card by phone or by internet.