By Mary Linda McKinney
Faithful Meetings program is grounded in the belief that spiritual deepening should, and can, begin at home. Through Faithful Meetings, Friends meetings and churches will be provided opportunities to build spiritual and emotional bonds between members, learn about and engage in corporate and individual Quaker spiritual practices, and explore how to listen attentively and surely for the “still, small Voice” which guides each and all toward wholeness.
Faithful Meetings will gather at the meetinghouses of participating communities. A School of the Spirit facilitator will travel to the meeting for the opening retreat and will work from-a-distance with individuals in the community to co-facilitate subsequent gatherings using distance learning tools.
The purpose of Faithful Meetings will not be to teach a specific orientation but to provide understanding of the spiritual depth and range of Quaker practices and theological expressions so that each community can use these practices in ways that are authentic to them.
The program will be structured to be as accessible as possible. A commitment to at least one aspect of the program will be encouraged from all members of a community. That commitment will include easy-to-complete options and will be organized according to the amount of time each takes to do: “If you have 5 minutes…20 minutes…60 minutes…”, etc. Additionally, materials will be created with awareness of different abilities and strengths.
Faithful Meetings is conceived as a two-part program, the first half, “Roots”, being foundational and the second, “Fruits”, supplemental, each lasting a year. Faithful Meetings: Roots will teach the groundwork of spiritual intimacy. A community will learn to identify a shared understanding of Spirit and then to rely on the guidance of Spirit as experienced through corporate spiritual practices rather than “this is the way we’ve always done it” form.
Many, although not all, meetings will then continue into Faithful Meetings: Fruits. Through Fruits, a meeting will choose to engage in more targeted inward-focused work while also committing to involvement with the community beyond the doors of the meetinghouse through service or action.
If you would like to be in conversation about bringing Faithful Meetings to your Friends community, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.