There is life and energy in our Yearly Meeting and individual meetings: no meeting is alone!
The experience of the wider Quaker community’s use of best teaching practices infused with Quaker practice reiterates that Friends faith is experienced based. We set clear practical boundaries with purpose and intent all the while leaving breathing room to embrace everyone. We consider the whole community, as best we can with what we seek to know; we allow ourselves to grow as best we can with knowing and wondering; we hold ourselves accountable as best we can with reflection; we live in the light, every day as best we can. The Worship and Ministry Thread Workshop at Newtown held true to these principles, as best as possible, creating a expressive and receptive community of love. We experienced the essence of peace.
The first PYM Worship & Ministry Thread Gathering offered the gift of seeking and learning in fellowship. This Gathering is one expression of the Yearly Meeting’s new approach which weaves together the ministries that are present in all of our meetings. Thread Gatherings feature opportunities for Friends to:
- Draw monthly meetings into closer fellowship around the work of their ministries.
- Nurture the wisdom and corporate ministry within the Yearly Meeting through sharing and learning.
- Share information and resources so that the work can be joined, supported, strengthened and/or replicated.
There were 61 Friends from 35 meetings at the Worship & Ministry Thread Gathering at Newtown Friends Meeting in Bucks Quarter. Rather than asking a single person to report on their experience of the day, all participants were asked in the follow-up evaluation to share what they took with them from the event and what they think our Friends who were not in attendance need to know:
- The Spirit was palpable amongst us. There was an immediate resonance between Friends, an opening that allowed for deep sharing , which lifted my weary soul.
- I enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new ones. In the first small group people talked about tough issues that are not present in our meeting and I was grateful. In the next one people talked about strengths that I wanted for our meeting.
- It was very helpful to be able to exchange experiences with other friends who are dealing with, or have dealt with, many of the same issues, and are eager to compare notes. I got an important new understanding concerning the tension between the condition of the loving community and our ability to reach a sense of the meeting based on looking within to find what decision is best for the Meeting as a whole
- I gave a three page report to my Meeting, telling them how absolutely helpful this gathering was to me personally and in ideas to my Meeting.
- It is always advantageous for me to encounter other Friends to share different perspectives and to keep from becoming stale or self- absorbed. The exchange of both ideas as experiences is, for me, the root value of such gatherings.
- The small groups were hugely important! This is a chance for Worship & Ministry workers to get down and learn practical stuff about stewarding their Meeting’s life of the Spirit from EACH OTHER.
- I was very impressed with the level of knowledge and interest my fellow participants had. I came away with notes, ideas, & books I want to look into further. I was stimulated to consider further the role I might have with adult Ed Lastly, I met a new Friend that I will make further contact with.
- Each Meeting has advantages and disadvantages because of its size, history, location, etc. Those things can’t be changed. Many things can be changed like culture, communication, future traditions, etc. Accepting the unchangable and finding advantages and good things about one’s Meeting helps to nurture energies to do a good job with the changeable things. People also have to find their level of commitment and be comfortable with what they can and can’t do. Part of ministry is stewarding the available energy of the Meeting. Sharing with people from other Meetings is very helpful but ideas are not always directly transferable. More communication is almost always better. Liberal amounts of worshiping together enriches all these shared experiences.
- Modern Quakers are finding their way and have some spiritual tools that are awesome.
- Come to thread meeting and you will have horizons expanded beyond the confines of your monthly meeting and gain greater appreciation of our Yearly Meeting!