Welcome and Introductions

Centering Silence

Topic: 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. 

Facilitator, 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’ 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.

  • As young adult Friend, Peter was active in Young Adult Friends of North America and in the New Swarthmore Movement. As he traveled, he felt older Friends were not communicating the importance of Friends faith and practice. We were getting ‘half a loaf’
  • He began working on how to offer the full loaf. As part of Philadelphia YM, he was listed in the Traveling Teachers Guide. Meetings arranged with the Yearly Meeting, then staffed for Adult RE, for a teacher – many teachers were listed.
  • Now Peter is in NEYM. He has used old materials from the PhYM days. He also recommends the Resource Library on the QREC website: http://quakers4re.org/resource-library, an annotaded collection of books, curricula and lists with links and available downloads.
  • Worked from an NEYM grant on updating adult RE curricula. Two recent curricula include Deepening Meeting Life, and The Revolutionary Roots of Quakerism.
  • He has taught the curricula once a week, but in his YM where people are spread across a wide geographic area he has found success teaching the material in one-day retreats.
  • For going deep, trust and heart are required. We need to get away from lecture and just using our heads to going in the heart and letting the Spirit move.

Conversation Starters

Francisco Burgos Points

(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.

  • When attending Harrisburg, discovering Quakerism, Pendle Hill pamphlets were useful (will send a list) mentioned 4 Doors to Meeting for Worship – B Taber
  • He remembers a Pendle Hill workshop with Tom Gates – Friends and the Bible, to connect with others and explore familiar themes in new ways
  • Scriptures were a known entity to him, yet he held a deep curiosity around Friends understanding of scripture
  • Learned from the Meeting’s library materials and workshops, conversations at Meeting – sponsored for those new to Quakerism
  • Important to nurture faith ‘as I go’; a self-didactic approach, reason to participate
  • He has led a long journey to be open, express curiosity, mutual support, be given good direction for resources
  • Today he blends Quakerism with the Catholic tradition he was part of as brother; seeing similarities in early writings in the Catholic tradition with early Quaker writing
  • Sees importance of his work today at Pendle Hill to provide the space for Friends needing support to face today’s reality in faithfulness – for deepening exploration, to welcome mysticism in history and in daily lives.

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.  Mark Barker: MarkWBarker@gmail.com

  • Mark prepares classes for meetings to cover a number of needs and topics
  • He works often with Faith and Practice sections (mentioned PhYM, NEYM and Britain Yearly Meeting), preparing personal handouts for use by individuals in whatever way they feel is useful.
  • He mentors to encourage personal participation rather than relying on ‘expert’: Quaker Basics was drawn from Peter’s curriculum outline
  • Friends gather after worship, 2nd hour reflection on materials: What spoke to you?  Use of passages, of queries
  • He also uses Bible Half Hour materials (QuakerBooks/FGC has several from Gathering)

Queries:

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?

Addressing queries, about what is on hearts, what is new: gaps sometimes hard to figure out; how to frame the inquiry with Meeting … learning to learn community needs – not just 1 or 2, or singling out

  • Helping people understand Quaker waiting worship: ‘what do you DO in worship?’ 
  1. Wondering where God is right now, what that means
  2. Having event before worship and inviting community to explore experiences of waiting worship. All. 
  3. Greeter prepared to ask newcomers and prepare, perhaps written
  4. Announcing at end, identifying who can answer questions
  • How to deepen worship, differentiate worship and worship sharing: being available (see 4 above), offering resources: Quaker Speak, mini-workshops, sharing spiritual journeys, reflections on writings, prepared in advance
  • What do we do daily to prepare ourselves daily to be in a space to worship deeply on Sunday? In addition, looking beyond Quaker sources for inspiration, depth

Noticed:

  • Using Faith and Practice helps familiarity with that important resource
  • Quaker Speaks videos can be helpful (but do listen to them yourself)
  • How to decide WHEN to hold such classes
    1. Before meeting – many have not come
    2. Serve bagels and pick a time when others will be at meeting even though not at the session (business meeting) when childcare available
    3. Finding alternatives days and places to meet, not having a specific number – maybe just one to one; arranged by talking to people
    4. Expanded role for greeter to answer questions (see notes above as well)
    5. Bulletin can have information about silence / stillness and flow in worship
    6. Identify ministry and counsel folks following worship (or those who are prepared to answer questions)
  • Helpful for more than newcomers to talk about these things – perhaps never had such an opportunity
  • Bringing something to meeting to discuss, to share; select topic, facilitator in advance; have a jar of questions people have asked and pull from the jar; use exercises to prompt sharing (like a spectrum of belief and have people talk with folks next to them)
  • Talking about membership may be scary, but Tom Gates’ Pendle hill pamphlet is very helpful (focus on meaning of community and what helps belonging)
  • Scattered geography means no back and forth during week: Sunday only…   or perhaps a videoconference opportunity

Announcements:

 

REC Annual Conference in Hickory, North Carolina, August 14 ‚Äì 16: http://quakers4re.org/2019QRECConference.  We are seeking Friends to serve on the Planning Circle, especially from North Carolina and around the Southeastern US.

QREC Adult Religious Education Working Circle will form in the New Year. If you are interested, email Peter Blood: inwardlight1@gmail.com

Gratitude

Closing Worship

Resources:

Curricula:

Books about the Quaker Spiritual Journey:

Guidebooks to Quaker Spiritual Practices

https://quakerbooks.org/products/listening-spirituality-volune-1-3601?_pos=1&_sid=6537787c3&_ss=r

Pendle Hill Pamphlets: https://pendlehill.org/product-category/view-all/

  • 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

Note: Many of the resources listed on QREC are in the library at Philadelphia YM – no longer staffed, but still open. The catalog is listed at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, under Resources, Library.

 

Participants

Name

Meeting-Organization

Peter Blood Patterson

Mt Toby, MA, NEYM

Mark Barker

Concord MM (NH), NEYM

Francisco Burgos

Harrisburg PA, Pendle Hill, PhYM

Sita Diehl

Madison, NYM, QREC

Joan Broadfield

West Chester PA, PhYM

Krista Barnard

San Francisco, Pacific YM

Dede Donovan

La Jolla MM, Pacific YM

Martha Roberts

Lancaster MM, PhYM

Tom Gates

Lancaster MM, PhYM

Virginia Kristl

Dover MM (NH), NEYM

Gail Fletcher

Norman MM (OK), South Central YM

Abby Matchette

Burlington MM (VT), NEYM

Sarah Spencer

Northampton FM, NEYM

David Hartsough

San Francisco, Pacific YM

Rob Roy Woodman

Davis, CA Pacific YM

Gail Thomas

Santa Monica CA, Pacific YM

Christine Dueh

Gwynedd MM, PhYM

Barbara Seidel

Gwynedd MM, PhYM

Bryann Drayton

Weare MM, NH, NEYM

Faith Kelley

Berkeley Friends Church

 

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. 

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