Agape’s Mission Council is our lifeblood and advisory community which meets since the 1990’s at least four times a year to plan Francis Day and to consult on various aspects of Agape community life.
The commitments of members are usually life-long, and so we were sad to see the retirement and departure from Mission Council by two of our treasured and dearly loved members, Skip Schiel and Sr. Eleanor Maclellan RSCJ, both of who have been companions and more for over thirty years. The best way to honor them is in their own words, as they describe their years at Agape. We celebrated El’s 90th birthday and Skip’s 80th with deep gratitude for their many years of life and so many of them spent with Agape. It is important to note that Skip brought the community to the Quabbin Reservoir watershed, recommending Hardwick and the area as a site for the still unformed community. 33 years later, we are flourishing in the Hardwick woods. Thank you Skip and El:
El: I was first introduced to Agape as a chaplain at Boston College. As a Religious of the Sacred heart. I see the spreading of the love of community expressed tangibly at Agape. I have travelled to Agape for Mission Council Meetings for over 30 years, and I am especially inspired by Agape’s commitment to the environment. With their organic garden, solar heated home, grease car and compost toilet, Agape practices what I preach.
Skip: I met Brayton and Suzanne in 1980 at Friends Meeting in Cambridge as they brought a noisy cluster of young black children to the “silent” meeting. Many years later, I befriended one of those children as he navigated his way through the tortuous channels of Maximum Security at Walpole prison.
Agape has blessed me with hands-on benedictions when I embark on yet another journey of photographic discovery, mostly through yearly trips to Gaza and the West Bank. I love the members of Mission Council as brothers and sisters, as well as the Hermitage, my place of refuge.
Welcome to Jeanelle Wheeler, new member, Agape Mission Council
Jeanelle Wheeler is the daughter of Teresa Wheeler, one of the original and founding members of Agape’s Mission Council. We call Jeanelle an “in-utero” Agape member as she has been coming to Agape since before her birth, and now, after achieving both a bachelor and master’s degree from Brown University, as well as a Fulbright Scholarship which took her to Europe, we are blessed to welcome her gifts of music, writing, wisdom and an abiding devotion to nonviolence, as she joins her Mom on Agape’s Mission Council.