Faith at Home, Conversation Circles, February 15 & 17
H ome is the heart of faith formation, especially for Friends. When we recognize that children are fully spiritual beings, parents and children can walk the spiritual journey together, learning from and inspiring each other. A Quaker family’s faith adventure is not another separate task to heap onto our over-busy lives. Rather, it’s an approach, rooted in the Spirit, that we bring to what we are already doing.
In these conversations, we will walk through the Faith at Home section of the QREC website, an invitation to be intentional in our home life and present to moments when the Spirit opens. Learn about practical resources to open ourselves and our children to God and faithful living through worship and service, the Bible, stories from Quaker lives, queries and creative expression. We will also look at the new QREC Studio with religious education templates to adapt for your home or meeting.
We also invite you to bring one piece of wisdom to share in a ‘spiritual potluck’ on nurturing faith with children at home, whether from your parenting experience, your observations or something from your childhood that opened you to the Spirit.
- What can help families weave Quaker faith and practice into daily family life?
- What do you remember from your childhood that opened the Spirit for you?
Beth Collea, NEYM, QREC Steering Circle (TUE & THU)
Andrew Wright, Durham Friends Meeting (TUE)
Cameron Hughes, Goose Creek Friends Meeting, BYM (THU)
FAITH AT HOME website Beth Collea walked Friends through the QREC Faith at Home page:
- Parents are primary nurturers of their children.
- Children are fully spiritual beings.
- Quakerism is best learned through living in loving family and community
Love at the heart of it all: a vision for the beloved community
Three Steps to Begin the Quaker Family Faith Journey
- Let the love flow in your family
- Stop, Notice, and Reflect.
- Stay alert for feelings every step of the way.
Sample resource: Imagining a World of Love
Active caring: Acts of caring, witness and service are vital parts of the faith formation process
Sample resource: A Ministry of Presence
Spiritual practices are one way we make space for Spirit in our daily lives
Sample resource: A body prayer to try at home
Discernment helps us get clear on how to embody and enact Divine Love in daily life.
Sample resource: Prayer Changes Us
Quaker family culture: The more we weave Quaker faith and practice into daily life, the more a distinctly Quaker family culture takes place.
Sample resource: Articles of Faith
Finding the Light: A key part of our work as spiritual nurturers is recognizing and celebrating that of God within our children and grandchildren.
Sample resource: Quaker Affirmations
A new shared drive with customizable resources for families and religious educators. Use them and adapt them to your needs and share with us for posting: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Can others share resources in the QREC studio? Yes, submit them to QREC, and we’ll find the best place to post them in the studio
- QREC is encouraging Quaker RE regional conferences as gathering in person begins to open up again.
Spiritual Potluck: One piece of wisdom to share nurturing faith with children at home, whether from your parenting experience, your observations of others, or something from your childhood that opened you to the Spirit.
- When our children were young, we would sit in silence at the beginning of each meal until a child felt led to start singing grace. Usually they sang, ‘Thank you for the food before us.’
- This is a shared journey, parents/caregivers and children, together.
- Children’s spirituality is so present, but also a little like peekaboo, and being present to everyday moments where it’s part of their experience and our family experience and conversation. Noticing and wondering together in times that aren’t about specific learning but being present to Spirit together.
- The most likely time that your child will think deep theological thoughts is when driving in the car with you. 🙂 Be ready to answer lots of questions and welcome the time even if that traffic is horrible.
- For us spirituality is an everyday lesson, and we always try to relate things to the SPICES and how we are going to move forward with the spices in mind.
- When my kids are old enough (currently 2 and in utero) I’d like to try the examen practice at the dinner table: what gave me life today? What drained life?
- I learned that if I took time for prayer while I was swinging my children, I really enjoyed pushing.
- Sharing a “wonder of the day” before bedtime prayer
- My children were grown before I discovered Quakers. However, working with and alongside Quaker children as part of my service in children’s program I found keys to my own spirituality
- Each school day we sat together as a family for 5 minutes, child on my husband’s lap and the other on mine. It helped us all center for the day.
- My daughter began ringing a Tibetan prayer bowl to call the whole family to silence. We would all stop what we were doing and be present in Spirit.
- We read books about other cultures…
- My son often brings up the Light/God in the other, when he’s struggling with big feelings
- Small simple things add up: Quaker grace before meals, honoring people and pets, collecting items to help others, reading books about other cultures…
- When I was a child, my mother explained that I could create my own prayer to God, like having a conversation. It’s a practice that I continue today.
- I am grateful for the online Quaker parent support groups that started during the pandemic. It has been amazingly helpful to connect with other parents as we try to balance our lives.
- There are some parent support group leaders here! THANK YOU!
- Quaker family devotionals from Emily Provance and Melinda Wenner Bradley were very helpful, no longer happening, but they were a touchstone during the worst of the pandemic. They included queries, a story, a song and centering.
- Our meeting is hosting hybrid FDS to allow families to join from home. We send links to stories and other resources to allow families to plug in at other times of the week.
What can help families weave Quaker faith and practice into daily life at home?
- Keep SPICES top of mind. With middle school son, conversations in the car can be brilliant due to lack of distractions. Son was going to start giving the teachers cookies on Mondays.
- Daughter babysits, which has made her very popular because of parents’ needs. Interweaving of faith and service. Daughter sent a link from her travels to a child she babysits. Intergenerational communication opens spirituality.
- Rachel: Discipline of practicing creativity to arrive at peace and unity. Get the feel of what you want without following explicit rules.
- Jill: Memorial services for pets. The children lead that practice. When a human dies they are already engaged. The fact of getting used to death gently as you go along, realizing that death is part of life. Animal graveyard, going out regularly to visit the graves and consider the animals.
- Faith Kelly: As a parent and minister: The past 2 years have made clear that the bar needs to be low. We have a ‘beautiful’ idea of an activity or craft. It’s better to have a nice 5 minutes of lighting a candle and talking about where we saw the light today.
- Everyone gets a candy cane and talk about Jesus as a shepherd. Her kids gobbled the candy canes and then were done.
- Look to create small moments are rituals that children will remember. Recognize that we have low energy levels, but we can still practice Quaker faith and practice as families
- When we are raising children, we can only see the next step. Like the idea of little steps. Reflect on what worked, what didn’t, how to move forward.
- In the QREC Studio collect a list of “Things that have worked for you as a parent.”
- As a parent I got up early to sit in silence before the busyness of the day. When my children got up early to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water, they noticed that I was sitting in silence. Then they wanted to join me, and it evolved into a lovely family worship time.
- Our meeting did a quilt for a new baby. We gave out fabric markers and quilt squares. Children decorated the squares, and a quilter finished the quilt. It gave the children a strong sense of participating in a community.
- Pair activities down to their simplest form. Family life is so busy. Often it’s the simplest things that actually get done and open the way for Divine Light.
- Helpful for teens: We’re all ministers, we tend the inward life. We’re all stewards, we tend the outward life, and we’re all witnesses.
- The kindness manger. During the Christmas season, every time someone does a kind act they put a straw in the manager till Christmas.
- We ended each day with story time, then silence as our children drifted off into sleep
- Thank you so much. And thank you for letting me join on the hour. I hadn’t realized I needed to register ahead of time.
March: only one conversation circle, Tuesday, March 15 at 12pm eastern time: Protecting our Children: child safety in meetings.
We welcome Juliet Prager and Mark Mitchell from the Britain Yearly Meeting child safety program. The conversation will build on the March issue of Friends Journal which will focus on safety in Meetings. To register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAofuqtpj4vHNZlW0OZWRMf4OQQfN4qtG53
To receive QREC announcements, visit the QREC website, scroll to the bottom of the home page and subscribe. Even better, become a QREC member. No dues are required, though donations are gratefully received and well-used.
- QREC, Faith at Home
- QREC Studio: https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21AK%5FrPmOwuk9QF7I&id=431033BADB031044%21125&cid=431033BADB031044
First Day School Lessons for the Home
Books and Other Resources:
- Booklists from Quaker family devotionals, 2020 & 2021
- Coloring pages with Quaker themes, FGC, free & printable
- Friends Peace Teams Peace Libraries, promoting global children’s literacy and peace
- Kids’ Seasonal Mandalas. New York: Sterling Publishing Co. 2005.
- One Small Plot of Heaven: Reflections on Family Life by a Quaker Sociologist. Elise Boulding, Pendle Hill. 1989
- Parenting 4 Social Justice: Tips, Tools, and Inspiration for Conversations and Action with Kids, Angela Berkfield et al, Green Writers Press, 2021
- Paths to Quaker Parenting, Harriet Heath, Editor
- Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love. Mark Scandrette. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. 2011.
- Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God. by Sybil MacBeth
- Sparkling Still Library Thing Collection, FGC Sparklers Work Group
- Walking in the World as a Friend, by Nadine Hoover
- We Need Each Other: Responding to God’s Call to Live Together. Sister Jean Vanier. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press. 2018.
- Weaving Faith & Family: When You’re Hanging on by a Thread!Eileen Marx. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press. 1999.