Information on a "Threshing Session." One option is provided below.
Room set up in a circle for discussion.
A problem prepared for the group to thresh. Here are some examples:
A group of members and attenders have asked the Meeting to hang a sign outside the meetinghouse that says, "We oppose anti-Muslim bigotry."
Local food pantry volunteers have asked the Meeting to host a weekly meal and meeting for the people who make use of the food pantry.
A group of members and attenders have asked that the meeting to consider the Meeting's restricted funds as a possible source of funding for reparations efforts.
This is one of the documents used in the EMES Meeting for Learning 11-13 June 2010 held at Svartbäcken, Rimbo, Sweden
Information compiled by Sue Glover Frykman
A threshing meeting or threshing session is defined as “a meeting at which a variety of different, and sometimes controversial, opinions can be openly, and sometimes forcefully, expressed, often in order to smooth the passage of business at a later meeting for worship for business. Originally the term was used to describe large and noisy meetings for convincement of `the world's people' in order to `thresh' them away from the world” (see Britain Yearly Meeting’s Quaker Faith &Practice, §12.26).
A threshing meeting can be arranged in order to share factual information, air one’s views about a controversial subject, express our preferences, or ask questions. Subjects that have been discussed at threshing meetings or sessions include whether to purchase or lease a Meeting House, the attendance of children at Meeting for Worship, whether or not to form smaller neighbourhood meetings when one meeting has become so large that people no longer know each other, which organisations the Meeting should donate to etc.
No decisions are made at threshing meetings. The aim is simply to move towards clarity and a greater understanding of an issue and to separate the ‘grain of truth from the chaff’. Such meetings can also provide an outlet for people to ‘let off steam’ about a subject before taking the matter to a meeting for worship for business. There is no restriction as to how many people can attend a threshing meeting/session.
A threshing meeting or session is usually moderated or facilitated by an experienced Friend, who is asked in advance to take on this role. The facilitator/moderator is responsible for making sure that everyone present has a chance to speak and air their views. Care should be taken to ensure that Friends of differing opinions can and do attend the threshing meeting or session. Friends with specific knowledge about the subject under discussion should be asked to present factual or complex material and be available to answer questions. Someone should also be asked to take notes at the meeting for future reference.