Monday, January 3, 2011

Spiritual Nurture Workshops

this is the rough outline for a series of stand alone spiritual nurture workshops I have been putting together with Perry City's Ministry and Council. These are what I am planning on doing with Friends from Perry City and Ithaca Meeting, and any other Friends who want to come to Perry City Meeting House next. We haven't done them yet so I can't say how it will go.

If Friends have suggestions for blog posts that would be good for use to read that would be great. Also if any of the author's of the blog posts I've already chosen don't want us to read their posts for whatever reason please let me know.

Conversations Spirit: Workshops on Spiritual Nurture of the Monthly Meeting

These classes are designed to be a conversation about Quakerism by Quakers. This is about how we make plans for changing ourselves and then do it. It isn’t about learning theology or about different kinds of Quakerism, although we might talk about both of these things along the way. This is about discerning what we are doing well and where we could be doing better as a Monthly meeting, a community, and a fellowship. This is not about bemoaning the state we’re in or the things we’d like to see happen but aren’t, (although we might do a very little bit of that every now and then being human and all). This is where we figure out how to make them happen together.

All of the readings for these classes are part of a conversation. These readings are not answers, or how-to guides; in some cases they aren’t even polished works. Instead they are snapshots of conversations Friends are having all over the world. They are other voices adding to the conversations we will be having in the Firstday-school room at Perry City Meeting House. They are stand-ins for the hundreds of Friends who would be sitting with us around the table if they could. The questions we are asking are question being asked by every branch of modern Quakerism and there is no universally ‘right’ way to solve any of these problems.

The only thing to do is to come together and ask “how is God working among us right now?”

That is what this class strives to be.

Meeting For Worship: Deepening the Space

A problem faced by many Monthly Meetings it the quality of worship. Many liberal unprogramed Monthly Meetings report that their Meetings for Worship are quiet, uncomfortable or stagnant.

What makes a vital Meeting for Worship?

How do we center a Meeting?

How do we nurture a space where Spirit led vocal ministry can occur?


Fellowship Among Friends: How do We Pray Alone, How Do We Pray Together?

A Meeting should be a Spiritual fellowship of Fiends. Yet a common problem faced by most Meetings is that a member could attend for years without knowing the spiritual stories and experiences of the Friend sitting next to them.

How do we facilitate nurturing conversations about our spiritual lives?

How do we deepen our spiritual lives together?

How do we talk about our differences in a loving way?


Fellowship Among Friends: A Community More then One Hour A Week

Another common obstacle faced by unprogramed Meetings when it comes to fellowship is that many Friends only gather and interact with each other once at week at Meeting and then often in silence.

How do we get to know all the Friends in our Meeting?

How do we nurture a community of Friends that interacts more then once a week?

How do we communicate to other not so active Friends the necessity of them participating fully in the life of the Meeting?


Meeting For Worship With A Concern For Business: Deepening the Space

The Quaker process of doing business can be both a joy and a gift, yet too often in Monthly Meetings is characterized as being slow, boring and a space that fosters conflict.

How can we nurture a space where decisions are made in a spirit led way?

How can we nurture a space that feels nurturing to Friends?

How can we foster a space where business in done on a way that makes it clear that Friends trust, hear, and respect other Fiends?


Greeting The Stranger: Newcomers and Hospitality

As unprogramed Meetings age and shrink a question they face with more and more urgency is how to get, welcome, and keep new members.

How do we make our Meeting welcoming to all kinds of Friends?

How do we reach out to the wider world?

How do we reach out to spiritual seekers in a way that is both nurturing and truthful?


The Many Parts of the Church: Naming of Gifts and the Work of Friends

Naming of gifts has been used practically by Friends to better understand who has the skills to do what within a community. Yet many Monthly Meetings fear that people will be hurt if everyone is not treated exactly the same.

How do we acknowledge that every Friend is given unique gifts without privileging one gift over another?

How can we raise up and name the gifts within our Meeting?

Howe can we discern and name what our community is called to do?


How High Is Our Hedge? : Our Quaker Community and Our Secular Communities

Quakerism is a faith that calls us to live in a different way then our other secular communities. Yet we are still called to live and work within the world.

How do we live in the secular world as Friends and support each other in doing so?

How do we teach the secular world about what we as Friends hold dear and the changes we need to make?

How do we live in fellowship as Friends in our day-to-day lives not just in the Meetinghouse?


That Still Quiet Voice: Nurturing Vocal Ministry

Spirit led vocal ministry and the heart and soul of our religious community. It is the way we understand the continually unfolding will of the Divine. It is one of the most important reasons we come together and worship on Firstdays. Yet many unprogramed Monthly Meetings are reporting becoming more and more quiet, or struggling with inappropriate messages.

How do we remove blocks to vocal ministry in our Meeting?

How do we teach Friends about how to discern an appropriate message?

How do we nurture those with gifts of vocal ministry?


Some Quakers Have Pastors: Understanding and Nurturing Community Between Monthly Meetings and Wider Quaker Community

The Quaker community on a global scale is wide and varied. There are many, many ways for Friends to worship in the Spirit. Friends believe many, many different things. Yet we are all called to do the same work, and exist in the same world, sometimes in the same Yearly Meeting. Many liberal unprogramed Meetings report that their Friends have very little contact with Friends from other kinds of meeting or Friends on a Yearly Meeting level. This often fosters, disunity, distrust, and misunderstanding.

How can we nurture fellowship with the other Meeting around us?

How can we nurture fellowship with our Yearly Meeting?

How can we nurture fellowship with other branches of Quakerism?