The “Worship & Care Package” for PYM, a recently announced endeavor to support worship and pastoral care in our yearly meeting, includes two worship paths for Friends to walk together as we seek to deepen our experiences in faith community. One path is support for intergenerational worship, and the other is Bible study in the manner of Friends. Both practices are present in the roots of Quakerism and would have been familiar to early Friends. Today, we have an opportunity to explore intersections between Bible study and continuing revelation, generational experiences of the stories, and listening for how ancient texts can speak to our condition and witness in the world. Always, we can wonder together.
In the introduction to his book, Engaging Scripture: Reading the Bible with Early Friends, Michael Birkel writes,
“One gift of the Quaker tradition is its particular integration of the inward and outward life. Quaker spirituality at its best has always embraced a contemplative orientation with a social activism. Early Friends read scripture in a meditative way that nourished them inwardly yet also propelled them into human society with a zeal to reform it in a way conformable with Jesus’ proclamation of the reign of God.”
Bible study in PYM can nurture and prepare us for our witness and care for community, our neighbors, and the earth.
Resources like the “Illuminate” series from Barclay Press, the only Bible study curriculum written by Friends and for Friends, will be shared as part of the Worship & Care package. Illuminate includes Quaker quotations relevant to Scripture passages, “offering increased understanding of how Quakers over time have interacted with, understood, and lived out these teachings,” and include short, narrative reflections or “Friendly Perspective” from Quaker neighbors.
This past summer at Annual Sessions, the morning Bible study was presented using stories from the Godly Play curriculum. This approach is reminiscent of both lectio divina and daily examen, and meaningful for Friends of every age. At Sessions, adults commented that the morning stories helped to ground them for the business and discernment in the rest of the day. For some local meetings, Godly Play stories are part of their intergenerational worship – creating an intersection between two parts of the care package!
The Bible Study Element of the Package Includes:
- An invitation into yearly meeting-wide Bible study programs, grounded in an experiential approach in the manner of Friends.
- A mini care package for every meeting that provides materials, guidance, and support for local meetings to create and share their own Bible Study experiences as they are led. This will include something for both children and adults.
- A gathering together of Friends in PYM with gifts and experience in Bible study that is grounded in Quaker faith and practice. They will anchor and support our opportunities to develop and explore the Bible as Friends in PYM. The care package includes stipends to support releasing the ministry of these Friends who have gifts and experience with Bible study as a doorway into deepening our relationship with scripture and community.
We hope you will engage with this joyful possibility and care for our meetings and yearly meeting community! You can connect by giving to the Worship & Care package matching gift effort, by learning more about how Friends are using Bible study in religious education and worship together, or by considering participation as a support person for creating Bible study resources for meetings.
There are local meetings in PYM where Bible study is an ongoing, sustaining practice for Friends! Whether you have followed the “Friendly Bible Study” series created by Joanne and Larry Spears or a program developed by members of your meeting community, we hope there will be Friends who bring their gifts of facilitation and engage with this part of the care package. There is always more wisdom in the wider circles we gather.
Support for the Worship & Care Package
A generous gift from a PYM family will help other PYM donors fund this initiative by matching every new and increased gift to PYM, up to $30,000. To ensure that we can offer the full suite of opportunities, we need to raise $15,000 in new and increased gifts by December 31st and another $15,000 by January 31st.
Friends can give to the yearly meeting online. Alternatively, you can give by mail by sending a check payable to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and sending it directly to our processing center at the address below.
- Contact Richard Quinn, Interim Director of Development, with questions about making a gift: 610-334-1893 or email@example.com
- Contact Melinda Wenner Bradley, Director of Programs, about intergenerational worship and Bible study at (215) 241-7171, or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact Christie Duncan-Tessmer, General Secretary, about the Care Package at 215-241-7210 or email@example.com
Mail checks to:
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
PO Box 536767
Pittsburgh, PA 15253-5909