In this series of stories, we’ll highlight the workshops being offered on Workshop Saturday, June 25. Sessions Coordinating Committee and staff experimented this year with offering a one-day online event that includes five workshops on different topics of interest to Friends in our yearly meeting. We will gather and listen deeply together on a day of connection, learning, and meaningful conversations.
Read on to learn more about the facilitators and intentions of this Workshop Spotlight, and register for a workshop by Thursday, June 23.
Interview with Amy Duckett Wagner
Q: Can you give us a short introduction? What are three things you like to share about yourself in an introduction?
Amy — I’ve been committed to annual spiritual retreats for a while, but one of my most important life changes in 2020 was to establish a regular daily worship practice in addition to retreat time and workshops.
I have been practicing meditation, positive affirmation, spiritual tools and goal setting to navigate life’s challenges. Because they are a daily practice, they support me when things are going well and when life is difficult.
Improving life through the creation of Music, Workshops and the written word keeps me busy (honestly, so do life’s challenges!). I enjoy hiking, reading and traveling for business, music and for pleasure. My background is below in the next question.
Q: If relevant to the workshop, tell us about your professional qualifications/career/work life.
Amy — I am a performing musician, workshop leader, and writer who creates harmony between professional skills, real-life experience and inner wisdom. After graduating with a B.S. in Marketing, I practiced strategic planning at the world’s largest advertising agency – Ogilvy & Mather New York. Parenthood, challenges and soul-searching led to a revelation: apply these business and planning skills to my personal life. Since then, I’ve completed a Music Degree, published a book, recorded music, and experienced many miles of workshops. I call this attention to creative and spiritual pursuits “My Great Left Turn.” A published author with Arcadia Press, 100’s of songs and 3 music CDs, I create from Harmony Hill, my Bucks County, Pennsylvania home.
Q: Tell us about your Quaker belonging. When were you introduced to Quakerism? What does belonging in a local (monthly) meeting mean to you?
Amy — Growing up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, we learned a little about Quakers in elementary school. I took music and dance lessons at the Quaker Meetinghouse as a child. Without realizing it until later, my spirituality was largely based on Quaker testimonies long before I experienced my first Quaker meeting. My family found our way to Fallsington Friends Meeting, where I’m currently serving as Clerk, in 2005. Since then, I’ve been involved in a wider Quaker network through PYM, FWCC, Pendle Hill, the Experiment with Light, workshops, and less formal gatherings. Being actively involved in my Meeting and regularly attending meeting for worship and MFWFB is grounding for me and helps me feel connected to those with similar values and passions.
Q: Tell us about your workshop. What makes you passionate about what you will be covering? Does it relate to any of the answers above? Why do you think your workshop is critical/very important for Friends and other members of our community?
Amy — In 2015, At PYM Annual Sessions when I heard Robin Mohr speak at PYM about FWCC’s mission and the blending of waiting worship with some programmed worship, my hunger for a wider experience of Friends began. I volunteered to be an FWCC Representative and followed a life-changing leading to get involved with the International Plenary with FWCC in Pisac, Peru. The last few years, my daily worship community at Pendle Hill via Zoom has become like a collective “best friend” that helps my spirituality and my life pursuits.
Q: What is one of the most important things you want people to learn from your workshop?
Answers are available. A better quality of inner peace that serves you and your path is possible.
Q: What do you hope will change for people who learn from you in your workshop? How do you see this change improving the faith, happiness, community impact, etc. of an individual who participates in your workshop and their wider circles of community?
Amy — I have a song that speaks about following our inner guidance. It asks: “How do I know which way to go?”
Attending workshops helps add spiritual skills and decision-making skills to our lives. Answers can be simple/subtle and easily overlooked. Inner reflection and more practice with discernment help us get better answers and helps us forge a path that feels right.
Q: What are some other ways people can learn more about/do more in the area/subject you will be covering in your workshop? Where do people go from here?
Amy — Get involved with a wider group of Quakers. Experience the wider world of the Religious Society of Friends. Read early Quakers as well as contemporary Quaker authors. Attend workshops and take advantage of resources available at PYM, and centers like Pendle Hill. Start or join a worship group outside your monthly Meeting.