Charlotte Fardelmann

Releasing Ministry Alliance is happy to announce that we were a 2014 recipient of a Lyman Fund grant.  We hope that Charlotte's story of supporting ministry as a mininstry in itself will inspire others.

It does not take a lot to release ministry. First one becomes aware of an inward nudge, a spiritual leading to do so. Second one asks for divine guidance. Third one begins with small steps and moves gradually as way opens. 

In this way for the Lyman Fund, a good thing came from a bad experience.  I had been hounded by someone for money. I needed help in saying “No.” Mary Hillas and Barbie Potter were holding Ministry of Money workshops. All of us were in our late 50s and had more income than we needed. In 1987, I attended a workshop and asked them to help me. They also needed help.

We three decided to pray together.  We sat in worship and asked God to lead us.  From that, we asked two Pendle Hill teachers to send us people who needed financial help to take the next step on their spiritual journeys.  Soon we began to receive letters.  We took the letters into worship and asked God’s guidance. Out of the silence we were told how to respond.  We sent checks and split the cost. We held these people and their projects in the Light during the year. 

The first year, we gave eight grants averaging $2,000 each.  The results were amazing.  For instance one grant went to Patricia Loring who studied to become a spiritual guide and later wrote Listening Spirituality. We decided to meet twice a year and follow the same routine.

For seven years, we met twice a year and asked God to direct us. Then, I realized that if one of us should die, the project might collapse. I began to feel nudged by the Spirit to put a large part of my inheritance into capital from which we could use income for grants. One nudge was through a bad, persistent cough.  My doctor told me to ask it why it would not heal. The answer came in meditation: “Cough it up.”  So I did.

We created the Lyman Fund, after my maiden name, as an independent Private Fund legally able to give grants to individuals. Two New England Friends, Tracy Booth and Linda Jenkins, joined us on the board.  In 1994, to celebrate this next step in our spiritual journey we invited the almost 100 people who had received our grants to a weekend to share their spiritual journeys of following their leadings. About half of them came to the “The Lyman Fund Gathering: Many Gifts One Spirit.”  That Gathering was so successful that we decided to hold annual Gatherings for the people who received grants each year. 

In the 27 years since we started, Lyman Fund has given over a million dollars in grants to over 240 individuals, mostly Friends or non-Friends with Quaker-related spiritual leadings. Some were studying at Pendle Hill, training for chaplaincy, playing harp for the dying, starting a Friend’s school, working for peace in the Middle East, writing a book about the Contra War, and creating a songbook, Rise Again.

The Lyman Fund has been a joy for board members as well as grant recipients. Founders Mary and Barbie both passed on several years ago. Other board members and I have kept up with many of the grant recipients and we’ve become good friends. Lessons we have learned: When a gift is given in the right spirit, it is a gift to the receiver.  When a gift is received in the right spirit, it is a gift to the giver.  It is hard to discern who is the giver and who is the receiver. When grant recipients attend Lyman Fund Gatherings, the stories they tell become precious gifts to the Board Members.

We, the Lyman Fund Board Members, could not have done this by ourselves.  Thanks be to God whom we have asked to guide the Lyman Fund from the beginning. We continue to pray for this guidance in every decision we make. This spiritually-led work has created a force for good in the world.  We pray our grant to and the funds that flow through that project will allow others to release additional leadings. The gifts go on giving.