Welcoming Gene & Jess, New Leader Couple

August, 2022

In August, 2022, Friends Couple Enrichment welcomed Gene Sonn and Jess Walcott as new FCE leaders. They are the second couple to complete the new, self-paced, online training.

The minute from the Meeting for Worship supporting Jess & Gene says, in part:

Jess and Gene model a heartfelt commitment to the spiritual practice of Couple Dialogue with weekly dialogue time, achieving this in the context of busy family and work lives. They repeatedly rediscovered the joy and tenderness of dialoguing, whether or not they were "in the mood". Their trust in the process of dialogue allows them to bring their authentic selves to dialogue, even in publicly witnessed dialogues. Their teamwork in teaching can be seen in their different strengths which each upholds for the other, while blending into a seamless yet genuine whole. Their eagerness to share Couple Dialogue, their genuineness, their grounding, and their calm and honest holding of one another and the group create an atmosphere of safety while modeling a willingness to work at their growing edges. Each has humility, curiosity, and empathy, grounded in enthusiasm and joyful humor.

The words of one FCE Couple Leader expresses with quintessential Quaker simplicity the great faith we place in Jess and Gene’s ministry; “Anyone participating in a workshop led by Jess and Gene will be in good hands.”

Gene and Jess live in Pennsylvania and have been a couple for more than 25 years. Together they are raising two creative independent boys and an energetic rescue dog. They were drawn to Quaker worship when their children were younger and they felt a deep need for more blessed silence in their lives. Now, they have a strong connection to their Quaker meeting in suburban Philadelphia, while maintaining a connection to with their mission-based Catholic church in Camden, New Jersey.

Gene leads a collaborative, solutions-focused reporting project in Philadelphia and sneaks out on his bike every chance he gets. When Jess isn’t creating new spaces for wildlife in their yard, she teaches neuroscience and biology at a community college.

"We are thankful that Friends Couple Enrichment taught us a whole new way to communicate with each other, which has also made us better parents," they say.

Jess and Gene participate in retreats to continue learning and to be able to share this spiritual practice with other couples. They will be joining with two other Leader Couples to facilitate an online workshop over three days in October called "Listening With Love to Strengthen and Deepen Our Relationships."

Welcome, Jess and Gene!