Quaker Spring 2019
Woolman Hill Quaker Retreat Center, Deerfield, MA — Friday, June 21 to Wednesday June 26, 2019
If you yearn for a more vibrant spiritual community,
If you hunger for more time for worship, reflection,
and deepening the connections among Friends,
come to Quaker Spring!
We invite all Friends hungry for spiritual community, of all ages, to spend time in worship, reflection, conversation, and play. We hope to bring together Friends from all branches of Quakerism, to share what Spirit-led Quakerism is about at its core–and to experience it together.
Quaker Spring 2019 will be held at Woolman Hill Quaker Retreat Center, Friday, June 21 to Wednesday June 26, 2019. Woolman Hill has a variety of housing options. There are two central buildings with beds, showers, and flush toilets. There is lots of room for camping near the main buildings with several facilities available for camper use. Woolman Hill is 5-10 minutes from Greenfield, Massachusetts. Several Quaker families have offered to host QuakerSpring attenders in their homes. There are also plentiful motel and AirBnB options nearby.
Friends are welcome to attend part of the gathering. Please come for whatever portion of the week you are able and feel led to attend.
The “un-preprogrammed” daily program includes:
- Bible reading and study
- Waiting worship
- Afternoons free for rest, play, workshops, opportunities for clearness & support for ministries.
- Evening time to reflect/search together for God’s voice around issues of concern to Friends arising out of the group.
- For more on the “shape of our days” at Quaker Spring, see the sample daily schedule below.
The gathering begins Monday, June 25th, with registration in the afternoon and supper followed by an evening session. It ends Saturday, June 30th, following meeting for worship with a bag lunch to take on the road home.
Costs for attending this gathering are very low. All fees are on a “freewill offering basis.” A guideline ($35–70/day/adult including meals) is provided but no one should stay away because of limited means. The suggested fee range is even lower for Young Adult Friends (YAFs) and for children.
Families Are Welcome!: We offer childcare and/or religious education based on families coming to each year’s gathering. For 2019 the planning committee has yet to discern the exact shape of this year’s children and youth programs.
There will be lots of recreational opportunities in the afternoons.
People hear about this gathering almost entirely by word of mouth. Please help us spread the word to other Friends who may be interested by downloading and distributing the 2019 Quaker Spring flyers (click the images below to download the flyer — one in color and the other black & white).
Online Registration is now open. If you have any questions about registration, and/or want to be added to an email list to receive information about this and future gatherings, please email us at [email protected].
Quaker Spring gatherings are intended to function as a “Quaker conference with a difference.” Instead of lining up workshop leaders and speakers in advance, Friends gather to share their gifts, leadings, and longings with minimal pre-programming of the week’s schedule. The winds of the Spirit are blowing, and we do not know exactly where they are taking us. The schedule was developed in the belief that if we gather in expectant waiting and joyful fellowship, we trust that the messages we need will arise from among us.
We will open the week with a time for introductions and hearing the concerns on each others’ hearts. Registration begins in the afternoon at 4pm & supper will be our first meal. Here is the shape of the days to follow:
9:15am Bible work. Some mornings we gather in silence and, as they are led, various participants read a passage from the Bible. Passages are “lifted up” without any verbal response or discussion. This is sometimes referred to as a “meeting for reading.” On other days we may be led to explore a particular passage from the Bible in greater depth, sharing aloud what God seems to be saying to us in the present time as we reflect on these particular verses.
10:15am Meeting for Worship. A time of open “waiting” worship guided by the Holy Spirit. This may last anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. There may be time following worship for intercessory prayer, song, sharing of concerns, or anything else that arises among us during worship.
1:00-5:30pm Open time for conversation, clearness committees, workshops, small group threshing around a specific topic of interest, or a group meeting to support a Friend’s gift of ministry. There is also ample time for rest, hikes, games, or family time.
7:30pm Evening Plenary Sessions are planned based on the discernment of the Listening Committee, plus other possibilities that may arise as we are led. At past gatherings we have taken this time to listen as a group to what God seems to be speaking to us around important issues facing Friends and the world at large today. There are generally no pre-arranged speakers or prepared formal talks. Sometimes we are led to hold a “meeting for discernment” where we attempt to be attentive to our Inward Teacher rather than our own ideas on a particular topic. Sometimes we invite one or more Friends present to introduce a subject in terms of their own personal experiences around it and then explore together in a spirit of worshipful listening around this same subject.
At the close of such sessions, the Friend clerking the sessions may, if it seems right, share a minute that expresses her/his sense of what God is saying to us on the subject at hand and see if Friends present are able to unite in this. Sometimes one or more Friends write a minute after one of these sessions and bring it back to a later session for approval by the group. Several examples of such “minutes of exercise” can be found from previous years gatherings.
We then take time to hear concerns arising among us for reflection / exploration / attention during the following day.
9:00pm Singing? Walks? Quiet conversation? (and a good night’s rest…)