The Spiritual Deepening Library materials offer your meeting an opportunity for members, attenders, and newcomers to build spiritual community as you explore Quaker thought and practices and deepen your spiritual journeys together. The Library holds content but leaves it up to you to decide how and when to use it.
Using the Spiritual Deepening Library Materials in Your Meeting
Each Spiritual Deepening Library topic contains a number of activities for adults or children to go deeper together, as well as intergenerational and all-ages exercises.
There are several different ways to use materials from the Spiritual Deepening Library in your meeting:
- A small group of people from your meeting or regional area might gather and explore a topic together.
- Your meeting may choose to do activities together as a whole-meeting group, perhaps before or after Meeting for Worship.
- First Day School teachers may create lessons for children using Library activities.
- A whole meeting or worship group might choose to explore a topic from the Spiritual Deepening Library, separating into several small groups for certain discussions and activities and gathering as a large group for others.
- Your meeting may choose to offer a small group experience with a mix of newcomers and members/attenders, as a way of sharing Quaker faith and practice and building community and connections.
- A meeting might choose exercises to use during Adult Religious Education or while planning a meeting retreat or renewal.
- A meeting may decide to focus on building intergenerational connections by adopting a program centered on the Spiritual Deepening children’s and all-ages activities.
Be creative in choosing activities and setting a schedule that suits the needs of your community. As your meeting plans times to engage in deepening activities and conversations together, consider if you want to extend special invitations to newcomers, young adults, young families, teenagers, or members who are not regularly present in the life of the meeting.
When leading a Spiritual Deepening activity, the facilitator assists the group by holding the Light and Spirit during the work and allowing everyone to get as much as possible out of their time together. Your meeting may choose to share the responsibility among two or more co-leaders.
In general, facilitators are responsible for:
- choosing activities and gathering materials
- leading the deepening activities (or the co-leaders might take turns leading)
- holding the space for the Spirit in each session
As you discern who has the skills and a leading to be a facilitator of Spiritual Deepening Library activities, it is important to recognize who in your meeting has the spiritual gift of facilitation. This gift may be clearly visible and already identified. It may also be found in young adult Friends or others who may not have had the opportunity to play this valuable role in the community. Your meeting may also recognize an opening – where someone is longing to move deeper into the work of helping individuals and the meeting grow in relationship with each other and the Spirit.
Consider choosing small group leaders who:
- Are interested in growing their ability to support others on their spiritual path
- Want to build a deeper community with a group in the meeting
- Want to practice seeking that of God within others
- Are open to learning and growing these skills
Welcoming Newcomers through the Spiritual Deepening Program
The Spiritual Deepening Library was specifically designed to speak to the condition of individuals at various points on their spiritual journeys. We encourage meetings to invite members, attenders, and newcomers to join small groups together, in order to learn from each other. In this way, the program offers a structured and meaningful opportunity for newcomers to be incorporated into the life of the meeting by building relationships while learning about the Quaker way.
If the meeting does not have an active in-person group at the time the newcomer arrives, newcomers can also be pointed to an online Spiritual Deepening eRetreat as a way to learn about Quaker thought and practice and deepen their own spiritual journey.
Spiritual Deepening Facilitator Training Task Group: Casey Kashnig (ILYM), Liz Wolff (SCYM), April Allison (LEYM), Gita Larson (SAYMA)