Young Adult Field Secretary

Young Adult Field Secretary

Note that as of May 2017, a search is under way for a Young Adult Field Secretary. In the interim, Emily Provance is serving as interim YAFS.



Phone: 212-673-5750

Ministry—What the Young Adult Field Secretary Can Do for You and Your Meeting

The Young Adult Field Secretary (YAFS) works with the Children and Youth Field Secretary, the General Secretary, and ARCH staff to help bring Friends at all stages of life into one vibrant meeting community. The YAFS works especially with young adults and young adult Friends (YAFs) and with young families to deepen their spiritual lives and to help integrate them into the life of their local meetings and of the yearly meeting. She also works with meetings to help them recognize and nurture the spiritual gifts, lives, and ministries of their young adults.

The YAFS travels throughout the yearly meeting, visiting meetings and meeting with young adult groups, and she publishes an email newsletter, in addition to a lot of one-on-one contact with members of the YAF community.

Download the full job description for the Children and Youth Field Secretary.

Gabi's focus—Young Adult Friends, Families, and their Meetings

As Young Adult Field Secretary, Gabi fosters vibrant multigenerational meetings. She works especially with young adult Friends, young families, and their meetings to increase the engagement,

helps young adults and young families to be fully integrated into the life of their meetings. She will support and collaborate with meetings, helping to deepen the spiritual and community life of the meeting, to create a welcoming environment for younger Friends, and with outreach to local communities.

Like Gabi Savory Bailey, her counterpart serving young adult Friends, Melinda will make herself available to all meetings in the yearly meeting to offer support in our efforts to better nurture our youngest members.


Contact the Young Adult Field Secretary

If you would like the YAFS to visit your meeting or region, contact you, or otherwise support young adults or young families in your meeting, you can contact her at yafs[at]

Melinda's background

For most of her adult life Melinda has been an educator of Quaker children, and has spent much of the last decade exploring with other adults how to bring meaningful spiritual engagement to our youngest Friends. Her work is informed by a quote by Maria Montessori:

Education is not so much teaching with love but participating, as one teaches,
in the energy of God, who is love.

In her career as an educator and in service to religious education programs, she has worked with children and youth of all ages. Her work has been shaped by listening to children and by collaborating with both her teaching colleagues and the families of her students. For her, teaching and working in service to Quaker religious education programs has always felt like a leading and a place where she is called to grow.

Her work has included growing sustainable models for children and youth programs, developing, identifying and sharing resources, and building networks to lift up the many gifts among Friends. She views spiritual formation of all ages as a ministry that our Religious Society can be more intentional in supporting. A co-author of the Faith & Play stories, she has introduced and taught Friends to use the Godly Play/Faith & Play method and stories at Powell House, Woolman Hill, Pendle Hill, dozens of monthly meetings in twelve yearly meetings around the country, and at the FWCC World Gathering in Pisac, Peru.

Melinda is the co-founder of QREC, the Quaker Religious Education Collaborative, which has grown to involve more than 200 Friends from 19 yearly meetings passionately living out the question of how to better nurture the spiritual lives of our youngest Friends. She is a Quaker teacher of all ages, a collaborator, author, speaker, mentor, presenter, and leader. One Friend who knows her work well has described her as “a Force.” And she is.



The Young Adult Field Secretary's work is supported through New York Yearly Meeting's operating fund.

YAF Newsletter Archive