Nurturing Our Worship Community

An Adult Religious Education Series

Sponsored by the Ministry & Oversight Committee, San Francisco Friends Meeting

Tuesday Evenings in November

M&O invites you to a lively series of discussions about worship. Join us on three consecutive Tuesday evenings in November to explore our Quaker tradition of Meeting for Worship. We will examine our practice and look for ways to deepen and nurture our worship life together.

Come for the Tuesday night worship at 6 pm. Then we can share a brown bag dinner from 6:30 to 7 pm. The discussion groups will begin at 7 pm with a short presentation based on the wisdom of Quaker writers. Then we will have a chance to share from our own experience and seek ways to deepen the spiritual practices that enrich our worship life. Each of the three discussion sessions will last about 90 minutes.

Session One, Nov. 1: Centering and Worship

Led by Jeff Mead in the Meeting Room

Friends are invited to listen and share their experiences with “centering down” at Meeting for Worship. Because we have Friends with a variety of experience at Meeting, from the young and new to the older and experienced, there are many pearls of wisdom regarding this essential practice that should be shared. We will also share some readings from Patricia Loring and Lloyd Lee Wislon.

Session Two, Nov. 8: Discernment and Vocal Ministry

Led by Robin Mohr in Room #5 (upstairs)

Join us for a discussion on vocal ministry in meeting for worship. Friends are encouraged to read the essay titled "Do Messages in Meeting Really Come From God?” by Rich Acetta-Evans of 15th Street Monthly Meeting in New York City and come prepared to talk explicitly about vocal ministry. How do you know when to speak? How do you recognize Spirit-led messages? How do you contribute to the quality of the silence? How can we as a Meeting nurture vocal ministry among us?

The essay is available online or in paper copies at the meetinghouse starting October 30, 2005.

Session Three, Nov. 15: Spiritual Practices that Prepare Us for Worship

Led by Blake Arnall in the Meeting Room

Join us as we explore the spiritual practices that feed us during the week so we come prepared for worship on Sunday. Our tradition urges us to “prepare the minister, not the ministry.” What are the practices which prepare you for worship on Sunday and which sustain you through out the week? We will review suggestions offered in our Faith & Practice, the wisdom of Quaker authors and our own experiences. Together we will look for daily spiritual practices that help prepare us as ministers and help nurture our worship community.

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Blogger Robin M. said...

Tonight's first meeting was wonderful. I hope to see more of the anonymous local readers there next week.

11/02/2005 1:27 AM  
Blogger Gregg Koskela said...

Your essay is very helpful and thoughtful, and challenging to a pastor of a programmed meeting.

I'm very often conscious of the audacity of claiming to speak for God most weeks, and yet, like you, want to hold up the possibility that in our falleness and feebleness we each have the possibility of being used by God in vocal ministry.

Sometimes I feel guilty (and I'm going to blog about this soon) for loving Quakers and being a pastor. It seems so...antithetical. I'm trying to let go of that guilt for a few reasons. One, God's Spirit led me out of more fundamentalist evangelicalism to programmed Friends. They've been my community. Two, because I so embrace Quaker thinking like you've articulated (that God is constantly present and speaking, and frail and foolhardy as we are, we can and do respond imperfectly to God). And three, because as a pastor, I've been able to move our meeting more toward engaging in waiting upon God, faithfully taking their responsibility to listen and respond to our Creator.

What you've written in your essay would be good reading for any pastor in a programmed meeting. I don't preach to say what I want, but to speak what the Spirit speaks within me. And I am fallible, and vulnerable, and susceptible to meglomania, and need to be reminded of it. Thanks.

11/02/2005 11:11 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

I'm so glad the article speaks to you. I want to be clear that I didn't write the essay - Rich Accetta-Evans of the Brooklyn Quaker wrote it, quite a while ago, I think. The essay is also available through his blog links. I read it and immediately wanted to use it for an adult religious education session. Months later, it is finally going to happen. I think what he wrote is valuable for all of us who speak in meeting for worship, and for all of us who listen.

Tangentially, Rich also gave the introduction to Quaker worship at my wedding.

I have mixed feelings about the existence of paid pastors in Quaker Meetings. On the one hand, my Meeting has found it necessary and important to pay people to do the things like bookkeeping, building management, and childcare. But pastoral care and vocal ministry are done on a volunteer basis.

Does that mean that we value building management more than pastoral care? Or do we consider it a less skilled job so we can just hire someone to do it instead of making the time to do it ourselves?

This is a long term discussion.

11/02/2005 2:19 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Ok, let's face it, I'm just envious. I want it to be my regular job to work at ministering to my Meeting.

11/03/2005 9:20 PM  
Blogger Gregg Koskela said...

Your last comment here is quite intriguing! (If you knew what I did today, you wouldn't be envious.) :(

11/05/2005 1:24 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Well, I have plenty of administrivia in my job - however I'd rather have it further the Quaker cause than the Roman Catholic cause.

11/05/2005 12:27 PM  
Blogger Martin Kelley said...

Well, I for one am very grateful that we liberal Friends don't engage in any sort of hireline ministry!!!

(Not) Sincerely,
Martin the Quaker Ranter commenting from his Friends General Conference-purchased laptop, dawdling a moment before being paid to edit a flyer about how Quakers can use the internet to find one another...

PS: Yes, it becomes complicated.

11/07/2005 11:19 AM  

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