Everyone participating in a Meeting for Faithfulness should read the excerpt below or the full article.
A space for Meeting for Faithfulness with enough seating for all participating to sit comfortably in a circle.
A note-taker or recording clerk and materials they need to record.
Meeting participants may want craft materials, knitting, or their journal.
Excerpt: Living Our Convictions
by Nadine Hoover on October 1, 2006
The first call is to God, to faithfulness. Out of faithfulness rises the call to live in peace. In these times, we hear God calling us to live peaceably ourselves in all our relationships.
—New York Yearly Meeting, July 30, 2004
Over the past three or four years, Friends in New York have begun to experiment with Meetings for Faithfulness, in which a few Friends gather to seek and name what’s true for us individually and as a group. Small groups of three to eight people gather in worship. Since many of us travel quite some distance, these meetings take place every month to six weeks, although those who live closer to each other are able to meet every one to three weeks. The regularity seems to matter more than the frequency. We meet to actively:
- ground ourselves in the presence and nature of the Living Spirit
- seek faithfulness within the companionship and discernment of others
- base our lives on our best sense of truth, love, and faithfulness
- name truths that are working and growing within each of us
- name those truths that are true for all of us as corporate testimonies.
We sit in silence, wait expectantly upon the Divine, and attend and yield to the Living Spirit. Each of us may bring and use any materials—reading, writing, or drawing. Our focus is on discerning what it means to be faithful in our daily lives. As we feel led we may:
- speak out of the silence from the Spirit Within
- share personal experiences of discoveries or experiments in our lives
- allow silence between speakers
- listen deeply to others without responding
- give everyone a chance to speak.
We discipline ourselves to:
- speak simply and plainly of truths that are working within
- give words offered time to work and see where they lead
- resist using too many words
- be open to hard truths and questions
- be lovingly gentle with newly sprouting truths.
We may record minutes for ourselves and for the group as unity arises. Minutes for individuals record Truth in one’s own name if the group senses that it is coming from the Spirit. We may not understand, agree, or even like it. That is not the question. The only question is, “Does it seem that it is coming from the Spirit?” Minutes for the group record Truths that we concur are true for all of us. We often share a meal following two to four hours of worship. This kind of meeting is always a venture of faith. We depart as we entered, quietly, praying that we will each feel the Living Spirit with us in the days ahead.
We seek what rings true at the core. Truth is often not packaged in our size. It may seem inadequately small or enormously overwhelming. We seek to name the Truth as it is, not to construct or hunt for one “just my size.”
Discernment of the Truth working within us is a full‐time occupation, not just for meetings. It is in every moment, every consideration, and every impulse throughout every day. It is who we are.
After five years of Faithfulness Meetings, Vicki Cooley, of Central Finger Lakes Meeting, said, “I’m just beginning to get a flavor of what this experiment in faithfulness is like; I’m not sure others really realize how your witness has grown out of 15 years of this practice!” I can say it has changed me. But it is only through the doing of it that one grows more and more fully into a life of faithfulness to the Living Spirit.