Thread Gatherings began in January of 2013 to draw meetings into closer fellowship, to nurture our collective wisdom and corporate ministry, and to share resources so work can be joined and strengthened. The image of the “thread” was and remains a useful metaphor, representing aspects of Quaker Faith and Practice that weave us together, as it were. From 2013 to 2015, six Thread Gatherings were held annually. Then in 2016, we engaged in some experimentation and reduced the number of Thread Gatherings to three.
2017 is upon us, and our testing has yielded an important revision to the purpose of Thread Gatherings. Thread Gatherings exist not only to draw together, nurture ministry and share resources. They also exist to provide the conditions for sustainable community and for shared work to be coordinated and continued after the gathering. The addition of these goals means that each Thread Gathering needs custom designing and expectations that are more specific to the topic at hand. For example, it now makes sense that Worship & Ministry might require a different program design than Religious Education because each focus and each associated audience has its own set of needs and relationships.
We are maintaining the practice of hosting three Thread Gatherings per year, but their expression will vary much more extensively than in the past. So far, two Thread Gatherings are scheduled:
This Worship & Ministry Thread Gathering is being organized by our Supporting Individual Calls to Ministry (SICM) Collaborative. The gathering will serve as the introductory session in a new program the collaborative has developed to offer Friends a process to foster their faithfulness to leadings. It is called the Peer Group Series. The series consists of 3 Saturday sessions held over a course of six months. The sessions include worship, instruction and practice, skill building, and guidance to plant the model in one’s home faith communities. Participants can attend this first session in which the peer group model will be taught or all three sessions to better master the process and allow on-going support during the six-month course. Additional sessions are June 24 and September 30. Visit the SICM Collaborative website for more details about the full series.
Hosted at West Chester Meeting, this Thread Gathering is a weekend retreat run by Melinda Wenner-Bradley and Beth Collea. See their bios on the event page. Made of Friends who are new to the work as well as seasoned Teachers, we will build a First Day School community of practice. We will share resources from the growing edges of religious education and spiritual formation. We will gather around perennial issues and come away from the weekend affirmed and refreshed. The aim is also to maintain our community of practice beyond the retreat itself through electronic networking and gatherings at annual and continuing sessions. This spring weekend of renewal is a partnership between Concord Quarterly Meeting, Western Quarterly Meeting and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Registration is coming soon; there will be a $75.00 fee, but please don’t let cost keep you away and pay what you can.
Financial Stewardship and Development Thread Gathering, October, 2017
This gathering is in the planning phase. More information is coming soon.