Since becoming a Quaker in college (at a non-Quaker school!), I have attended plenty of PYM workshops and events and been either the only young adult or one of a very small handful of young adults. My experiences generally fell on a spectrum with “alienated” on one end and “overwhelmed” at the other. My experience of participating in the Spiritual Formation program fell right in that happy middle section – engaged, included and valued.
Perhaps it is because of the content: deep spiritual listening, finding common threads among our diverse theological perspectives, focusing on central texts, connecting authentically with one another and encouraging one another to live faithfully. Perhaps it was the unique combination of individuals that lead and participated alongside me. Perhaps it was the blend of large group gatherings and small group accountability meetings.
As the youngest person (by a margin of more than a decade) in my small group, I was given the opportunity to return the care and curiosity to older people that so often comes at me from every angle as a younger participant. It was a joy to get to know these older Friends on a spiritual level; Friends not from my own meeting, who didn’t already know me closely. I felt valued, but not pressed upon; included, but not tokenized. When the purpose of a program is to know one another genuinely and grow together spiritually, age matters very little. The Spiritual Formation program also gave me a deep spiritual well to draw from and helped me to grow in my own journey. I continue to be grateful for the learning and nourishment it brought me during a formative time in my own life. It was time well spent.
Pamela Draper (right) is a member of London Grove Friends Meeting and worships with West Philly Friends Meeting
Learn more about the intergenerational Spiritual Formation Program cohort that begins this fall! The opening retreat is on September 27th. Register by September 10th.