Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Finding Our Quaker Path: A Religious Education Resource

Religious Education

 

Sharing in the spiritual journey of others can help us understand what’s possible and open us to new growth. Religious Education, through self-paced learning tools, books and opportunities for fellowship, empowers us as Friends to experience our faith more deeply and purposefully.

FGC, a partnership of many Friends across sixteen yearly meetings and associations, works collaboratively to empower Friends as we seek to more deeply understand and live Quaker faith and practice. We invite you to explore the Religious Education opportunities FGC offers year-round. I hope the spiritual enrichment opportunities listed on these pages will be meaningful to you and to many Friends.

In service,

Barry Crossno, General Secretary

Queries:

  • In what ways does Quaker faith and practice distinguish itself from other faith and spiritual traditions?
  • How do individual Friends and Quaker meetings communicate the depth and diversity of the Quaker experience for newcomers who may have limited experience with religion of any kind? 
  • Does my Quaker community offer opportunities for education that are accessible to Friends of Color? Friends of different physical, emotional, or intellectual abilities? Friends of various age groups?

 

The Spiritual Deepening Program

Have you just begun your spiritual journey with Friends, or are you seeking ways to deepen your connection to Spirit through an online faith community? The Spiritual Deepening Program seeks to deepen the life, worship, and witness of Quaker meetings, individual Friends, and newcomers.

Spiritual Deepening serves those who are new to the Quaker way by presenting resources important to the personal and communal spiritual journey. It serves Friends who have been on their spiritual walk long-term by providing additional depth and encouragement to continue their travel on the Quaker journey.

Participate in a small group with others in your meeting or experience spiritual growth as part of a community online with a Spiritual Deepening eRetreat!

To learn more about the Spiritual Deepening program and view a schedule of upcoming eRetreats, visit the Spiritual Deepening website.

Queries:

  • What obstacles might prevent new and seasoned Friends from achieving a deeper spiritual journey?
  • How am I keeping myself open to new, enriching experiences of faith in my daily life?
  • What ways can we invite others, Friend or seeker, to participate in the life of our meeting?

 

The FGC Gathering

The annual summer FGC Gathering brings Friends from around the world together for a week of worship, workshops, and community. Friends of all ages can take advantage of workshops and programming on their own or through events organized by Adult Young Friends, the People of Color enter (offered every year through the Ministry on Racism Program), Nontheist Friends, Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW), and more.

These workshops coming up for the 2018 Gathering in Toledo, OH are a small sample of education opportunities Friends can expect to experience this summer:

For Friends Seeking More Inclusive Meetings:

Building a Culture of Multiage Inclusion by Emily Provance

Quaker outreach expert Emily Provance invites Friends to examine 10 cultural barriers to multiage, inclusive meetings…and how to flip them successfully

For Friends Who Want to Embrace Their Imperfections:

“Make Big Shadows I Can Move In” by LVM Shelton

Embrace your shadows as a spiritual practice. Friends will name and affirm their spiritual gifts and learn techniques from Compassionate Communication to transform conflict within themselves.

For Current and Aspiring Clerks:

Clerking with Joy and Confidence by Arthur Larrabee

Seasoned clerk Arthur Larrabee guides Friends on all aspects of clerkship, both theoretical and practical.

Explore the Gathering website at to see our complete schedule, full list of workshops to choose from, and more!

Queries:

  • How can I help recreate the energy and community of the summer Gathering year-round in my meeting?
  • In what ways does the Quaker community contribute to the creation of educational spaces that are safe, accessible, and encourage spiritually-grounded experiences for all Friends, regardless of age, ability, race, nationality, and spiritual background?
  • Do I make my physical, emotional, and spiritual self-care a priority at the Gathering? How can I make the commitment to minding self-care extend to the rest of the year? 

 

The Ministry on Racism Program

How can Quakers and their meeting challenge racism and create meetings that are welcoming to newcomers from all walks of life? The Ministry on Racism program at FGC is dedicated to helping Friends understand and dismantle the roots of white supremacy while creating Quaker communities that emphasize equality and inclusivity. The program creates opportunities for education and fellowship through the Fall Retreat for Friends of Color and Their Families, the PreGathering Retreat for Friends of Color and their Families, and through participation in the White Privilege Conference.

The Fall Retreat and Pre-Gathering Retreat bring families together to build intergenerational community through worshiping together, sharing and attempting to address issues arising from the impact of racism within the Religious Society of Friends, as well as identifying ways to support one another in our meetings. The White Privilege Conference (WPC) is an annual conference that strives to empower and equip individuals to work for equity and justice through self and social transformation. Since 2011, FGC has sponsored a group discount for Quakers attending the WPC and has partnered with local Friends to organize the Quaker hospitality room at the conference, a potluck dinner and worship when possible, home hospitality, and carpools for participating Friends. FGC will provide these services twice in 2018, for WPC19 and WPC Global in Toronto, Canada. Please consider attending.

Friends are also encouraged to explore our online Grow Our Meetings Toolkit on Diversity and Inclusion, which features resources created by and with the input of the Ministry on Racism Program. To view the toolkit, and learn more and register for retreats and the White Privilege Conference through FGC, visit the Ministry on Racism’s website.

Queries:

  • How do I welcome diverse newcomers at my Quaker meeting?
  • What are strategies my meeting can adopt to acknowledge the pain caused by white supremacy and to create space that invites Friends of Color to participate fully in the life of our meeting?
  • How do I take the lessons I’ve learned from the Ministry on Racism program offerings back to my meeting?

 

Faith & Play™ and Sparkling Still

Faith & Play™ is a Montessori-inspired storytelling resource that helps children find words and images for expressing their experiences of holy mystery and wonder in their lives. Play is children’s practice that helps them to learn and go deeper in their faith, hence the name Faith & Play, deriving from Faith and Practice. The Faith & Play curriculum is a resource for Quaker religious educators and Friends school teachers trained to work with Godly Play® and the Faith & Play method. The curriculum contains 12 stories about “Faith and Practice,” “Witness,” and “Testimonies,” as well as special notes and practical information about making and purchasing materials as visual aids to tell the stories. To purchase the curriculum and find out about future training opportunities for Faith & Play, visit the Faith & Play website.

Written for new and experienced First Day School teachers, Sparkling Still provides everything you need to create lessons for children ages 3 to 8 and build an engaged classroom community. Teachers will find lesson plans based on topics such as developing a sense of self, the role of family and community, the natural world, worship, and Quaker testimonies, as well as guidance on exploring issues like grief, divorce, extreme weather, and violence. Sparkling Still and supporting reading lists and materials are available on the FGC website.

Queries:

  • How does my meeting nurture the spiritual life of children?
  • What can I do to preserve the spiritual vitality of my Quaker community so it can be passed down to future generations of Friends?
  • When the youngest Friends in my meeting speak, do I truly listen and hear their ministry? How can I empower young Friends when they speak truth to power?

 

QuakerBooks and QuakerPress

QuakerBooks and QuakerPress are part of FGC’s Ministry of the Word.

QuakerBooks of FGC serves Friends, Quaker meetings, and interested individuals who are spiritually inquisitive. We offer books, pamphlets, ebooks, curriculum, and the like that help Friends and others live our lives as expressions of our faith and learn about the Quaker way, past and present. We serve Friends through our website, QuakerBooks.org, through book tables at yearly meeting sessions and Quaker conferences, and annually each July at the annual FGC Gathering.

QuakerPress has published books, pamphlets, curricula, and other media for more than 50 years to support the spiritual lives and witness of individual Friends and Quaker meetings, and to serve those seeking to learn more about Friends. Explore these QuakerPress titles and more at QuakerBooks.org

Queries:

  • In an age where technology makes it easier and cheaper than ever to acquire books and educational resources, what am I doing to support the livelihood of Quaker authors and businesses that are competing with companies that embrace values which go against Quaker testimonies?
  • Have Friends reckoned with periods in Quaker history that promoted white supremacy and contributed to the oppression of African, Immigrant, and Native/First Nations communities?
  • How can I support female writers (and writers who identify as female), writers of color, writers with disabilities, and other diverse writers today?

 

Download a PDF of this resource.

Religious Education Catalogue Design by David Botwinik