Wess Daniels is from Canton Ohio, a graduate of both Malone University (BA) and Fuller Theological Seminary (MAT and PhD) and is the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. Previously he was the ‘released Quaker minister’ (i.e. pastor) at Camas Friends Church in Camas WA. He has a PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary in the School of Intercultural Studies on the subject of the renewal of faith traditions within participatory culture (see link).
He has taught classes at George Fox Seminary, Earlham School of Religion and Way of the Spirit. He serves on the boards of Quaker Voluntary Service and Barclay Press and Friends Association for Higher Education.
Wess also enjoys sketchnoting, which is a visual way of taking notes. He has been included in Mike Rohde’s “The Sketchnote Workbook,” as well as “143 Visuals to Inspire You To Take Action” by Scott Torrance. His post on “Learning the Art of Sketchnote Preaching” was featured on Antioch Session and SermonSmith.org. You can listen to an interview about it here.
He met Emily Miller in college and they were married in 2001. Wess enjoys being a father of three wonderful little ones. Besides playing imaginary games with his kids, he likes to roast coffee, read books, write, ride his scooter and watch for zombies.
Wess has two main concerns that drive his intellectual curiosity:
The first concern is around the elimination of poverty. You will find plenty of articles and sermons posted on this blog that look at the church’s responsibility to work to end poverty in the world. Some of his interest stems from growing up poor, while the rest is spurred on by the dire economic realities that many of those within his own congregation and community are constantly dogged by. With this end, Wess has had the pleasure of working with the Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary and taught a class titled “Poverty, Empire and the Bible” at Earlham School of Religion in August 2014. His class at George Fox Seminary called “Culture and Systems Change” addressed some of the systemic issues that the church faces today and looked at ways in which those systems might be engaged and changed.
Second, he holds a concern for Quaker renewal and has been involved in promoting cross-dialogue and sharing of new ideas with “convergent Friends” around the country and in Great Britain. He co-organized and co-facilitated the Nursery of Truth, a Portland-area event meant to stir inspiration in young Quakers. He also served as a co-editor for the publication Spirit Rising: Young Quaker Voices a book that brought together Young Adult Friends from 17 countries and the many branches of Friends. Wess has also led many workshops and retreats on Quaker renewal in places like: Pendle Hill, Woodbrooke Quaker Study Center, Quaker Heritage Day and Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative).
Some of his publications include:
Convergent Friends: The Emergence of Postmodern Quakerism (2010) in Quaker Studies, I (Hope) I see Dead People (2012) in Friends Journal and A Faithful Betrayal: The New Quakers (2010) in Quaker Life. He has also written on the subject of suicide in Father Factor titled “The Dark Side of the Moon and the Suicide of a Father.” He was a co-editor for the volume “Spirit Rising: Young Quaker Voices” and a contributor to “An Inner Strength: Quakers and Leadership.”
Here is a short video with Wess sharing a bit of his story about becoming a Quaker.