Will Parker believes that evangelism is relational. He has used grant funding to convene a musical improv group, with the specific purpose of connecting what they are doing as artists to what they are called to do as Christians. His dream for the project is two-fold: that the members of the troupe will experience personal transformation through the community that is built, and that their audiences will be open to contemplating their faith, their creative capacities, and how they intersect.
The troupe named themselves the Public Universal Friends, or PUF Players, after the Public Universal Friend, a Quaker preacher of the late 18th-early 19th century who opposed slavery, promoted women’s rights and is seen as a transgender or non-binary figure in history. They held four successful performances in the New Haven area in Spring ’22.
The PUF Players took a break for the summer, during which Parker and his spouse toured as folk and children’s musical performers. As they resumed rehearsals and performances, in the fall, they reflected on the quality of the relationships that were formed and the spiritual seeking that the group fostered. Parker and his spouse dream of starting a missional community.