Who is a Spiritual Deepening eRetreat for? Do I have to be a Quaker to partcipate? What is the time commitment? What is the technology requirement? How much does it cost?
Who is a Spiritual Deepening eRetreat for?
A Spiritual Deepening eRetreat may be for you if:
- You are curious about Quaker thought and practices and want to go deeper in your own spiritual journey
- You are seeking to build a relationship with others and explore Quaker practices and faith together
- Your meeting isn’t participating in the Spiritual Deepening program and you’re interested in the experience
- You live far away from a Quaker meeting or church or are not connected to a Quaker community and you’re looking for spiritual companionship
We encourage participants to consider the eRetreat as a personal retreat and to make the program work for their individual lives. Within the Spiritual Deepening eRetreat content, you'll find opportunities to build relationships, deepen your personal spiritual practice, learn from others, and explore Quaker thought. Remember that spiritual growth often involves stretching, so invite yourself to try new things and consider new perspectives.
Do I have to be a Quaker to participate?
Not at all! Newcomers and curious seekers are very welcome to join a Spiritual Deepening eRetreat. You don’t have to have any experience or expertise to jump into the Spiritual Deepening program. There is no expectation that participants will be members of a Quaker meeting.
What is the time commitment?
Each runs for four, six, or eight weeks. You can expect to spend 3-5 hours each week engaged in discussion and activities both online and offline. The group does not have scheduled meeting times, so you can log-in and participate at a time that works for you each week. Participants are invited to commit to a personal spiritual practice during the course and to offer support and encouragement to each other throughout. As newcomers and Quakers come together to build a spiritual community online, the experience is made richer through the commitment, intention, and active participation of all members of the community.
Each week begins with new content published on Sunday and participants receive weekly emails from the facilitator with reminders and announcements.
Some facilitators offer additional opportunities to come together through worship sharing video calls and check-ins during the course of the eRetreat.
What can I expect from the eRetreat Experience?
Each Spiritual Deepening eRetreat is an experiment in building spiritual community online. Learn more here.
This video tour (9 minutes) of the eRetreat website can give you a sense of how the content is organized and how the participants connect with each other.
How do I sign up?
Registration for each eRetreat session will open about three weeks before the start date.
Sign up for the Spiritual Deepening email list to receive announcements about registering for an upcoming eRetreat.
What is the cost to participate?
The suggested fee for participating in an eRetreat varies by the session length and the number of facilitators. The participation fee registers you as a member of the online community that explores weekly exercises and activities together and is suggested on a pay-as-led basis.
- 4 week session = $25
- 4 week session with two facilitators* = $35
- 6 week session = $35
- 8 week session = $45
The fee is suggested on a pay-as-led basis in order to avoid economic barriers to participation. We also know that some people may feel led to pay more than the suggested amount.
The pay-as-led participation fees contribute to the depth and quality of the eRetreat experience by supporting the time and the ministry of the eRetreat facilitators. The fees also contribute to the development of the Spiritual Deepening program materials, allowing Friends General Conference to continue to support, develop, and grow the Spiritual Deepening Program and to make it broadly available over time, with the ultimate goal of increasing the depth of Spirit and the strength of our Quaker communities.
*The Beloved Community and Understanding and Healing White Supremacy eRetreats are co-facilitated by multiracial teams of two facilitators.
How is an eRetreat different than the Spiritual Deepening Program in-person small group experience?
Building community, transforming lives, and going deeper into the life of the Spirit together -- these are the things that Quaker meetings and other spiritual communities do well together. The Spiritual Deepening eRetreat program seeks to create virtual opportunities for connection and growth by adapting the Spiritual Deepening program content for an online format. While exploring text, activities, and spiritual practices, your interactions with other participants will be through written discussions and sharing. Like the in-person program, the online group is lead by an experienced facilitator.
What is the content of the online program?
The program content for each eRetreat focuses around foundational readings, activities for sharing spiritual stories, and exploring spiritual practices in order to strengthen and deepen both individual and communal experiences of spiritual connection.
Grounding exercises help you explore the roots of Quaker faith and give context to Quaker practices and beliefs. Sharing exercises invite you to share your spiritual stories and listen deeply to each other’s truth. Practicing exercises offer new ways of connecting to Spirit. Exercises include texts and videos, activities for discussions, art, and spiritual practices.
The content has been compiled from Friends from across the U.S. and Canada and includes materials drawn from high quality existing curricula and resources, as well as newly developed activities.
Learn more about the specific sessions:
What are the technology requirements?
The eRetreat website can be accessed via computer and mobile devices with an internet connection.
I'm not very comfortable with computers. What support is offered?
The eRetreat facilitators and FGC staff offer a variety of opportunities for you to learn about navigating the website, engaging with the content, and participating in group discussions. These include orientation calls the week before an eRetreat starts and Tech Support Office Hours during the first few weeks.
I’m part of a group that would like to go through a Spiritual Deepening eRetreat together. Can we form our own online group?
Yes, individuals with a shared interest can choose to request and register for a Spiritual Deepening eRetreat together. These online groups could be made up of people who know each other but live too far apart to meet regularly, affinity group such as young adults or people of color, or any other group of people who would like to share a deepening experience together.
Your group could connect with each other as a small group within the larger eRetreat session.
Contact the Spiritual Deepening Program Coordinator to discuss the possibilities.
Please contact the Spiritual Deepening Program Coordinator.