A Quaker Ministry of Radio

A Quaker Ministry of Radio


Some of my most powerful experiences doing
the programming of Northern Spirit Radio have been with people who seemed unlikely ministers,
unlikely people to testify. Sometimes they’ve been extremely reluctant
to be recorded; they’re very shy. I remember one woman who had never shared
her music with anyone else, and I invited it forth and she broke into tears when she
realized that I was actually hearing her and seeing her work and recognizing it, because
that doesn’t happen so much. We flit on by and we go with the noisy distractions. I’m Mark Judkins Helpsmeet, and I’m a
member of Eau Claire Friends Meeting, that’s in Wisconsin. Founder of Northern Spirit Radio, which is
really the fulfillment of the work of my life. Northern Spirit Radio was founded back in
2005. What happened is I had been working as a computer
programmer consultant for a number of years, was clearly not called to be it in spite of
the fact that I’d done it for more than 25 years. I was led in some other direction but I didn’t
know what that direction was. And a clearness committee was set up in my
monthly meeting to find what I’m called to do with my life. As part of that process, the request came
in from the outer world in two different directions that said, “We have a startup radio station. Would you like to do a program on it on activism? We’ve considered other people; we’d like
to have something kind of religious on Sunday but we don’t want it to be religious.” So Quakers are kind of good at walking that
line. And so, “would you like to do something
about activism?” So in 2005 when clearness came to me, I offered
to do this program on my local radio station, a low-power station in Eau Claire, Wisconsin,
and I did two programs to start. One is called Spirit in Action, and one is
called Song of the Soul. The focus is different from many other radio
programs in that, for me, what it is is a ministry of listening. I am attempting to invite people through the
radio programs to their experience of the eternal, to synch to that which is eternal. So that’s a question I’m always asking
myself whatever we’re talking about is: “How can I lead this person to that which
is eternal?” The work of Northern Spirit Radio feels me
to completely Quakerly—coming straight from the Quaker way—in that it’s really a ministry
of listening. It’s really trying to find that of light
and that of God in other people, and invite it out, put it in public. So that feels to me essentially Quaker, particularly
in the sense that we don’t put someone else in front as “the person” to do ministry. We see that ministry and light present in
everyone. So when I sit down and do my radio programs,
what I’m trying to do is say, “You share what your ministry is. Let’s hold that in common so that we can
raise each other up.” So I think it is in fact a ministry, but not
a ministry where it’s my words, but a ministry where I invite other people’s words. The ministry isn’t about me talking; it’s
about me listening in the right way to invite the words in the center out of other people. When I started broadcasting Northern Spirit
Radio programs, both Spirit in Action and Song of the Soul, they were just on the small
low-power station in Eau Claire and I think as of yesterday I recognized that we’re
up to 32 stations nationwide. You can listen on them, via the point where
they broadcast it, or you can listen anytime on NorthernSpiritRadio.org.

One thought to “A Quaker Ministry of Radio”

  1. Hi guys! This was another great video, but the Patreon link doesn't seem to be in the video at the end where Jon is pointing. Maybe my computer glitched?

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