Intro to Quakerism: Adult education

People may come to the Society of Friends for silent worship, social testimony or caring community, then seek opportunities for deeper study of Quakerism. Join this conversation to engage authors and experienced adult educators on how to move beyond academic exercise into vital spiritual inquiry when teaching Quaker basics to adults. 

Registration is required:

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 1:00 pm ET: Register HERE

Thursday, Oct. 24, 8:00 pm ET: Register HERE


Peter Blood Patterson, (Mt. Toby MA MM, NEYM) was raised a Quaker in Ann Arbor Friends Meeting. He completed the two-year training program in spiritual direction at Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. He was an active leader in the traveling teachers‚Äô program of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting teaching dozens of classes on Quakerism 101, the spiritual roots of our testimonies, and gospel order. He is developing adult religious education curricula and leading retreats on deepening meeting life and the revolutionary roots of Quakerism for many meetings in NEYM. He is also active in encouraging interfaith communities in Western Massachusetts to work with each other around areas of shared concern for immigrants, racial justice and care for the earth. 

Conversation Starters:

Marcelle Martin (Tuesday only) (Swarthmore PA MM, PhYM), is the author of Our Life is Love: The Quaker Spiritual Journey. Since 1996 she has led adult religious education workshops at retreat centers and Quaker meetings across the US. She has also led four, eight, and ten-week adult RE courses at several different monthly meetings on subjects related to Quaker spirituality. For four years she was the resident Quaker Studies teacher at Pendle Hill, and she is currently a core teacher for the 9-month program, “Nurturing Faithfulness.” On her blog, A Whole Heart (, she writes about spirituality today, taking inspiration from the past to help us find the courage to be all we have been created to be in our day. Her second book, A Guide to Faithfulness Groups, was recently released. A video introducing Faithfulness Groups can be seen at

Francisco Burgos (Thursday only) (Providence, PA MM, PhYM) serves as Director of Education at Pendle Hill. Francisco was a De La Salle Christian Brother for 10 years in Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, and has been a Friend since 2004. He is a member of Harrisburg Friends Meeting and has attended several monthly meetings including Monteverde Friends Meeting in Costa Rica and Adelphi Friends Meeting in Maryland. Francisco has served as retreat leader and facilitator of a range of educational programs including spiritual retreats, teacher training, etc.  As a spiritual retreat facilitator, he supports individuals and groups in exploring ‚Äúthat of God‚Äù within them and nature by inviting them to exercise active contemplation and social witness.

Mark Barker (Concord MM (NH), NEYM) web clerk, former meeting co-clerk and active with AFSC, who was previously active as a member of Britain YM, Kingston & Wandsworth MM, and Richmond PM. Mark lived and worked in the United Kingdom, Europe, Latin America, and Australia for nearly thirty years training and consulting in systems analysis, design, and project management. Mark teaches Quaker basics classes for his monthly meeting.


1. What aspects of Quaker faith do you feel Friends (new and old!) in the meetings you work with tend to be least familiar with?

2. How can a Quaker basics class be interesting and rich both for those new to Friends and for more experienced Friends?

3. What helps create an atmosphere of safety and trust where participants feel able to share openly and deeply with each other and ask questions freely?

4. How can participants experience a Quaker basics class as an open-hearted spiritual journey of discovery rather than an academic exercise?

5. What creative teaching approaches have you found most effective in helping Friends delve deeply into this content?



Books about the Quaker Spiritual Journey:

Guidebooks to Quaker Spiritual Practices

Pendle Hill Pamphlets:

  • Birkel, Michael, ed. The Mind of Christ: Bill Taber on Meeting for Business, #406 (2010).
  • Brinton, Howard. Guide to Quaker Practice, #20 (1942).
  • Brown, Valerie. Coming to Light: Cultivating Spiritual Discernment through the Quaker Clearness Committee. #446 (2017). 
  • Coelho, Mary. Recovering Sacred Presence in a Disen¬≠chanted World, #433 (2015).
  • Cooper, Wilmer. The Testimony of Integrity in the Relig¬≠ious Society of Friends, #296 (1991).
  • Cronk, Sandra. Gospel Order: A Quaker Understanding of Faithful Church Community, #297 (1991).
  • Dale, Jonathan. Quaker Social Testimony in Our Personal and Corporate Life, #360 (2002).
  • Davison, Steven. The Gathered Meeting, #444 (2017).
  • Drayton, Brian. Getting Rooted, #390 (2007).
  • Gates, Thomas. Members One of Another, #371 (2004).
  • Lacey, Paul. Leading and Being Led, #264 (1985).
  • Loring, Patricia. Spiritual Discernment: The Context and Goal of Clearness Committees, #305 (1992).
  • Martin, Marcelle. Holding One Another in the Light, #382 (2006).
  • Martin, Marcelle. Invitation to a Deeper Communion, #366 (2003).
  • Morley, Barry. Beyond Consensus: Salvaging Sense of the Meeting, #307 (1993).
  • Schenck, Patience A. Answering the Call to Heal the World, #383 (2006).
  • Smith, Steve. Living in Virtue, Declaring Against War: The Spiritual Roots of the Peace Testimony, #378 (2005).
  • Smith, Steve. A Quaker in the Zendo, #370 (2004).
  • Steere, Douglas.  On Speaking Out of the Silence, #182 (1972).
  • Taber, Frances Irene. Come Aside and Rest Awhile, #335 (1997).
  • Taber, Frances Irene. Finding the Taproot of Simplicity, #400 (2009).
  • Taber, William. Four Doors to Meeting for Worship, #306 (1992).
  • Taylor, Richard K. Nonviolent Direct Action as a Spiritual Path, #424 (2013).
  • Wadja, Michael. Expectant Listening: Finding God‚Äôs Thread of Guidance, #388 (2007).

Web-based Articles on Quaker Faith and Practice


An Introduction

The Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC) is an international, cross-branch, grassroots network of Friends sharing a stewardship for lifelong Quaker faith formation through religious education. We formed in April 2014 and now serve more than 300 Friends in our network. We actively engage and support each other across languages and continents. We gather for regional and annual conferences and offer monthly Conversation Circles via an online conferencing platform. 

Steering Circle

We share leadership as part of our collaborative mission, making decisions using the Quaker ‘sense of the meeting’ process, sitting in expectant, worshipful waiting for the emergence of shared truth. Read more…

Working Circles

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Our work  takes place in ‘circles’ or small groups of Friends who labor on a common task, usually meeting by video conference due to the geographic diversity of the membership. Read more…

The Resource Library

Finders Guide, a sampling of the collection

The QREC Resource Library is a place to share lessons and other educational information in support of our work as Quaker religious educators. This library is a forum for curricula, articles, videos and other educational materials on Quaker themes. You will also find principles, policies and procedures to strengthen operation of your child, youth and adult religious education programs.

Children's Education

Adult Education


African Quaker Library

Youth Education

Small Meetings

Young Adult Friends

Biblioteca QREC


Find renewal, companionship, and help for nitty gritty issues in Quaker religious education, all the while opening spaces for Spirit to work and listening together for God’s way forward.

QREC holds an annual conference and retreat. In addition we hold online Conversation Circles and post other religious education events as we learn about them.

Conversation Circles

Online conferences for Quaker religious educators to share about their work. Conversations are scheduled for two sessions per topic to encourage international participation.  Join the conversation…

Other Events

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Religious education events of interest to Quakers from all parts of the world. Please let us know about upcoming online or in-person events happening in your area. See the list of upcoming events…

Love at the Heart

Spiritual Practices


Active Caring

Quaker Family Culture

Finding the Light

Faith at Home

Home is the heart of faith formation for all families. This is especially true for Friends. As an experiential religion, Quakerism is best learned through living in loving community. Indeed, the vast majority of faith formation for our young Friends happens at home in the busy swirl of daily life.

Become a Member

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Get Involved

QREC depends on all of us sharing our gifts and skills as religious educators. Here are some of the ways you can get involved…