Judith Pembleton, Queensland Regional Meeting
Jacqueline (Jacque) Schultze has accepted a contract to serve Friends as our AYM Secretary for the next four years, and will start that journey as a keenly-interested observer of her new role at this year’s Standing Committee and Yearly Meeting.
Jacque’s leading to apply for the Secretary’s position came after spending 15 years following her migration from the United States in 2001, during which she took time to come to understand her new life in a considered way and to understand more fully the Australian Quaker voice and where she might be led to be involved.
It is during this past year that Jacque has felt “at home” and more rightly ready to take on responsibility in a deeper sense within the wider circle of Australian Friends.
Jacque grew up in the US where she became a member in Danville Friends Meeting in Danville, Indiana, a part of Western Yearly Meeting of Friends when her family came to Friends. She married a “recorded minister in the manner of Friends” and as the wife of a Friends’ pastor, Jacque served two meetings for seven years in Western and Indiana Yearly Meetings.
She served at local and Yearly Meeting levels on Clearness Meetings, co-clerking local meetings, serving on the Yearly Meeting Planning Committee and Junior Yearly Meeting Planning Committee, Peace and Social Concerns Committtee, and working with the United Society of Friends Women.
Jacque says: “I was always deeply involved in the life of the Meetings I attended and these activities were a natural extension of my leadings, whether it was helping with the annual Chicken BBQ (quite an operation!) at Valley Mills Friends Meeting or in developing adult teaching curriculum for Quaker Studies.
“Western and Indiana Yearly Meetings have programmed, unprogrammed and semi-programmed Meetings and through my desire to worship with Friends wherever I might be, I have attended all these types of meetings for worship.”
In worshipping with Australian Friends, Jacque has observed how our practice differs or resonates with her US experience.
“Although there are unique differences between Australian and American Friends, such as Australian Friends’ deep concern for and relationship to the environment, there are similarities especially regarding Australian Friends’ deep concern for and recognition of First Nations People,” Jacque observes.
Jacque’s reflections resonate with those of Queensland Friend and Kooma elder David Carline after his sojourn at Pendle Hill Quaker Centre. Friends may recall his observations of US Friends and their relations with First Nations People.
From 2003–2014, as a member of Canberra Regional Meeting, Jacque became aware of Friends’ lobby for peace via the Peace and Legislation Committee Action Alerts and saw the establishment of Silver Wattle Quaker Centre.
Over the years, Jacque has been active in outreach activities, first day school teaching, youth activities and adult education.
In 2015, Jacque helped run a Meeting for Learning for Wahroonga Friends focusing on Ben Pink Dandelion’s 2014 Swarthmore Lecture “Open for Transformation”. This awakened thoughts about outreach possibilities and led Wahroonga Meeting to hold its first Open Day, part of a sense of growth for the Meeting.
Those who know Jacque will know her passion for literature and arts-related pursuits. This is evident in her career choices as well as her work with Friends.
In 2008, Jacque received a scholarship from Pendle Hill Quaker Study Centre to be an artist-in-residence. She describes that time as an “amazing experience which continues to enrich my life and deepen my personal Quaker faith and understanding”. Jacque said the Friends from around the world she met there remain significant influences in her spiritual growth.
The following year, Jacque helped organise an exhibition of Australian Quakers in the Arts for Yearly Meeting in Canberra, which brought together writers, visual artists and others to share their creative gifts with other Friends.
In January this year, Jacque was co-facilitator for a weekend spiritual retreat for Wahroonga Friends using creative activities along with quiet and worship and is in the process of planning another.
Jacque will bring to her work as Secretary the creativity and skills developed as a professional librarian as well as an arts administrator. She will also bring a wealth of knowledge of Friends worldwide.
Her work in US Meetings brought her into contact with Friends’ involvement in mission outreach work in Kenya, Belize, Jamaica and Palestine; Kaimosi and Lugulu Girls High Schools; Kaimosi Friends Hospital; Christian Peacemaking Teams; the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC); Friends Committee on National Legislation(FCNL); and the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC). She has made Friends within Africa Yearly Meeting and learned of Cuba Yearly Meeting through visiting Friends.
The end of her marriage and her move to Australia to join her daughter and son-in-law has presented Jacque with some testing times and these have expanded her compassion for others in similar plights and deepened her spiritual connection to Friends.
As a migrant seeking residency and then citizenship, Jacque has experienced the uncertainty of those processes and that has deepened her compassion for and sensitivity to other migrants’ journeys. Reflecting on those difficult gives times, Jacque gives thanks for Quaker community.
She says: “I like to think of myself as resilient but have found that I am not that way on my own. It is through the support, love and sensitivity of Friends and my Quaker faith that I have been able to ‘come round‘ after experiencing life’s difficulties over the years.
“I have been able to find strength and support amongst Friends, even as I questioned and wrestled with my understanding of my faith and Quakerism.”