We share these testimonials with you so that you may gain a flavor of how the lives of individuals and their faith communities have been affected by our programs. Perhaps by reading them you too will hear and respond to a nudge toward deepening your personal spiritual life, and so enriching the spiritual life of your faith community.
“Throughout the two years of the program, I have felt that my very core has been broken open. The pains and hurts of childhood have been washed clean, the insecurities and low self-esteem have been shown for the distractions they are. I have been able to laugh at myself and others in a loving way. And I have learned to listen to the lives of others in a loving way and have felt the favor lovingly returned.”
From a Care Committee report: “While she has ministered for years to the Meeting . . . her ministry is extending in new directions as she works with our young children, speaks in Meeting for Worship, and participates in our Spiritual Formation Group. We sense an increased openness and spontaneity. We are richer by far as a Meeting as a result of such ministry.”
“Because the practice of a daily spiritual discipline is a required component of the program, and the teachers have offered instruction and guidance in various methods, I’ve experienced a deepening of my awareness of God’s continual presence in all areas of my life. In prayer it was given to me to share this awareness with Friends and I organized a Lectio Divina group which meets each First Day morning before meeting for worship . . . all who attend meeting for worship benefit from a renewed depth of both the silence and the vocal ministry that results as the lectio group members go from our preparative prayer to the larger worship.”
“The teachers’ trust has been crucial, even in the area of assignments, since it allows room for the Spirit to guide our reading and to help us understand on a deeper level. Strangely enough, ever since the first residency, I’ve experienced the assignments as a friendly invitation, almost as play. Because I am now relaxed when I read, I’m more open to the inspiration available. And I’ve fond that I can still accomplish a good deal of work in that frame of mind.”
“On the level of ‘education,’ I feel much more aware of issues and ideas in all kinds of areas—from spiritual practices to community issues to Quaker history and thought. Most especially, I am aware of resources to which I can turn if I have need. I believe that I already see the fruits of this grounding in my service to my own meeting. I had led some discussions and forums there before my participant in the Spiritual Nurturer class, but this year, I was much more confident in volunteering for a number of these activities and I felt that my teaching was enriched by what I have been learning. The intensive spiritual reading and reflection that I’ve been doing all year has also fed my vocal ministry.”
From a Care Committee report: “She is a beacon of Christ’s love. In witnessing her relationship with God, we see and celebrate commitment, energy, enthusiasm, intimacy, gratitude and surprise. We experience her faithfulness as ardent and down-to-earth, as well as having lightness and matter-of-factness. We see acceptance and willingness to be transformed: she is letting in a new facet of God’s love for her, that of Comforter. She seeks to learn from and emulate Jesus in her daily life. We have seen her grow in blessed assuredness, becoming less tentative and claiming her voice . . . She has become more aware of nudges and leadings of God in her life, and faithfulness to these callings has been a great gift to our meeting and wider community. . . . Her gifts of teaching, spiritual friendship, living an integrated life, integrity, wholeness, and spiritual nurture are outcomes of her obedience to the Divine in her life. This is her lifelong work. Joy is its fruit of the Spirit.”
“The outward manifestation of the inward deepening during these years of prayer and learning led to a call to serve and to minister, both in the context of the Religious Society of Friends as well as the wider world. I have served as clerk of my monthly meeting; as clerk of my yearly meeting’s Ministry and Counsel; as presiding clerk of my yearly meeting; and as my yearly meeting’s representative to my state’s Council of Churches . . . I have given public witness in Albany, New York City, and Washington regarding the death penalty, the establishment of the Peace Tax Fund, and the need for peacemaking in all our activities . . . Discernment is central to a life lived in the Spirit and as I have served and ministered over the years, I have drawn deeply from what I learned and practiced about discernment while in the SotS programs. . . SotS continues to play a major role in my ongoing transformation.”