A workshop for convergent Friends at FGC Gathering
I've only gone twice, but I have enjoyed it and learned a lot both times. You can read more of my experience if you click on the category FGC in the sidebar. Even more is available in the QuakerQuaker.org archives in the Events section, under FGC.
The Gathering is always the week of the fourth of July. This year, it will be held at the University of Pittsburgh in Johnstown, PA. Arrangements are already being made for eco-friendly travel options. There will be multiple daily opportunities for worship, Bible study, singing and interesting conversations. The FGC bookstore sets up shop on campus. There are great programs for children, teens and young adults. The evening speakers haven't been announced yet but last year they included Marcus Borg, a famous scholar, and Joanna Hoyt and Kody Hersch, two inspiring young adult Friends.
The central element of the Gathering are the morning workshops. Every morning (most) of the attenders join a small group (10-30 people) for a weeklong focus on a specific topic. This year, for the first time, I submitted a proposal to lead a workshop, and it was accepted by the committee. Eventually, you’ll be able to read about it in the catalog and online. But you heard it here first.
The title is “Primitive Quakerism/Postmodern World.” If the title could have been longer, I'd have re-used the title we chose for the FWCC workshop last year: "Reclaiming the Power of Primitive Quakerism in a Postmodern World." The topic and the content of this summer's workshop arose from some of the questions that interest me, and that I've been exploring on this blog and with convergent Friends in various places. Like:
- What are the expressions of primitive Quakerism that are emerging around us?
- How are they different and/or the same in the post-modern world?
- What can we learn from other religious traditions and non-traditional groups that are also examining their roots and flying into the future?
- How do we develop the strength and power to live up to the Light we have been given?
- Where and Who is God calling us to be?
So here is my short workshop description, that will be in the catalog:
“Explore the re-emergence of primitive Quakerism in the postmodern era. Experiment with traditional and new spiritual practices to help us fearlessly live up to the Light that we have been given. Daily hour of worship, plus reading, writing, animated discussion, singing, new media, some homework. Expect inclusive and Christian language.”The format will be more or less like this: Most days we will begin with a song. I will provide some reading material and facilitate some discussion on the daily themes. After a short break, we will have (almost) an hour of unprogrammed worship. Then we will experiment with some relevant spiritual practice(s) and close with briefly praying for each person in the group.
In FGC-speak, the workshop will consist of
40% Worship / 10% Lecture / 25% Discussion / 25% Experiential
I expect that the kind of people who would choose this workshop will already be engaged in the ongoing renewal of interest in the religious aspects of the Religious Society of Friends. I do not expect that they will know much about the emerging church movement in other denominations. That's okay. My knowledge of all of this is still growing - I expect I will learn a lot in the workshop too.
I am both excited and nervous about this whole project. Honored and freaked out that my proposal was accepted. Especially since I saw the list of other workshops that will be offered and the people who are leading them. Who would want to come to mine when they see what else they could do? I think that some humility is good for me, and I am trying to remember just to breathe. I am not in charge of everything. God will be with me and the whole workshop.
Lord, help us all.
[I have posted the outline of the workshop separately, so that Friends can read more specifics about it. I also put links about the workshop in the sidebar for future reference until the Gathering starts at the end of June.]
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