Friends General Conference

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Quakerism 101 - Quaker Discernment, Decision Making, and the Meeting for Business

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Session 8 : Quaker Discernment, Decision Making, and the Meeting for Business


Our second session will explore the Quaker understanding of spiritual discernment and the Quaker processes for making decisions, including the meeting for worship with attention to business and the life of the meeting.

Date: October 24, 1:00-3:00 pm

Zoom: The Zoom link is the same as the link for meeting for worship. The worship meeting will simply be extended.

Facilitators: Barry Scott and Jennifer Walker

Suggested Reading


  • Nancy Bieber, Decision Making & Spiritual Discernment: The Sacred Art of Finding Your Way.
  • Patricia Loring, Spiritual Discernment: The Context and Goal of Clearness Committees; Pendle Hill Pamphlet #305.
  • Jan Hoffman, Clearness Committees and their Use in Personal Discernment.
  • Leading and Being Led, Paul Lacey; Pendle Hill Pamphlet #264; $6.50.
  • Listening Spirituality: Volume 1, Personal Spiritual Practices Among Friends; Volume 2, Corporate Spiritual Practice Among Friends; Patricia Loring; $18.
  • Leadings, Jim Corbett; Southeastern YM, $5.
  • Practicing Discernment Together: Finding God’s Way Forward in Decision Making, Lon Fendall, Jan Wood, and Bruce Bishop; $16.
  • Listening to Hear, Patty Levering; Southeastern YM, 2012 Michener Lecture; $5.
  • Sacred Compass Paperback: The Way of Spiritual Discernment, Brent Billl; $13.99.
  • Group Spiritual Nurture: The Wisdom of Spiritual Listening, Daphne Clement; Pendle Hill Pamphlet #373; $6.50.
  • Expectant Listening: Finding God’s Thread of Guidance, Michael Wajda; Pendle Hill Pamphlet #388; $6.50.
  • The Presence in the Midst, Peter Eccles; Swarthmore Lecture 2009; BrYM, $16.
  • Silence and Witness: The Quaker Tradition, Michael Birkel.
  • God and Decision-Making: A Quaker Approach, Jane Mace; BrYM, $17.
  • Nudged by the Spirit: Stories of People Responding to the Still, Small Voice of God, Charlotte Fardelmann; $17.
  • How Do I Know It’s A Leading?, Ruth Hyde-Paine; Southeastern YM, $4.
  • Where Christ Presides: A Quaker Perspective on Moral Discernment, Jack Ciancio; $15.99.
  • The Wisdom to Know the Difference: When to Make A Change – And When to Let Go, Eileen Flanagan; $15.95.
  • Grounded In God—Listening Hearts: Discernment for Group Deliberations, Suzanne Farnham, et al; $14.
  • Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community, Suzanne Farnham, et al; $14.
  • Keeping in Tune with God: Listening Hearts Discernment for Clergy, Suzanne G. Farnham & Timothy H. Grayson; $16.
  • Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life, Henri Nouwen, with Michael J. Christensen and Rebecca J. Laird; $25.99.

Meeting for Business in Worship

  • NYYM Faith & Practice, pages 21-25.
  • Guide to Quaker Practice, Howard Brinton, pages 37-42, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #20; $8.
  • The Authority of Our Meetings is the Power of God, Paul LaceyPendle Hill Pamphlet # 365; $6.50.
  • Beyond Consensus: Salvaging the Sense of the Meeting, Barry Morley, Pendle Hill Pamphlet # 307; $6.50.
  • Beyond Majority Rule: Voteless Decision Making in the Religious Society of Friends, Michael Sheeran; $18.00.
  • Quaker Process for Friends on the Benches, Mathilda Navias; $25.
  • The Authority of Our Meetings is the Power of God, Paul Lacey; Pendle Hill Pamphlet #365.; $6.50.
  • Quaker Meeting: A Risky Business, Eric W. Johnson.
  • “Beyond Consensus: The Quaker Search for God’s Leading for the Group,” Friends Journal, June 1, 1986.
  • “The Meeting for Business,” Merrilie McAfee Towl, Friends Journal, March 1, 1077.
  • Mind of Christ: Bill Taber on Meeting for Business, Michael Birkel, ed, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #406; $6.50.
  • Practicing Discernment Together: Finding God’s Way Forward in Decision Making, PYM Outreach Committee; $18.00.
  • Pray and Pay Attention: Or How to Enjoy Meeting for Business, Charles Brown; $4.
  • The Quaker Meeting for Business, Douglas Steere; 19th Annual J. Barnard Walton Memortial Lecture, Southeastern YM; $4.
  • Spiritual Responsibility in the Meeting for Business, Patricia Loring, $0.75.
For Presiding Clerks
  • Where Should I Stand?: A Field Guide for Monthly Meeting Clerks, Elizabeth Boardman; $12.50, $9 ePub.
  • Handbook for the Presiding Clerk, David Stanfield; $4.
  • Before the Meeting: A Handbook for Clerks, Keith Redfern.
  • Beyond Consensus: Salvaging the Sense of the Meeting, Barry Morley; Pendle Hill Pamphlet #307; $6.50.
  • When Friends Attend to Business, Thomas S. Brown; PhYM.
  • Servant of the Meeting: Quaker Business Meetings and their Clerks, Cecil W. Sharman; Quaker Home Service, BrYM.
  • Guide to Quaker Practice, Howard H. Brinton; Pendle Hill Pamphlet #20; $6.50.
  • Principles of the Quaker Business Meeting, George Selleck; Friends United Press Pamphlet Series.
For Recording clerks
  • Before Business Begins: Notes for Recording Clerks, Will Watson; NEYM; $5.
  • Unforeseen Joy: Serving a Friends Meeting as Recording Clerk, Dajoh D. Hickey; North Carolina YM.