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. Our schedules are developed in the belief that if we gather in expectant waiting and joyful fellowship, we trust that the messages and structure we need will arise from among us.
What follows was a typical day when we were able to meet in person. Our virtual gatherings have a shorter daily schedule to accommodate Friends’ participation from different time zones and avoid screen fatigue. Our days usually include time to reflect on the Bible together, to worship together, and to enable the living Spirit of Christ to work among us and to address concerns that are rising in our hearts.
10:00 Bible reading & study. (see: Bible at Quaker Spring)
11:00 Meeting for Worship (waiting worship)
After worship we spend some time discerning together our focus for sessions later in the day.
2:00 A slot for small groups
4:00 A second slot for small groups
7:00 Evening Plenary Session
These are selected based on the group discernment at the conclusion of meeting for worship each morning. 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.
There is also time set aside during the day for singing, recreation, time with our children, and opportunities for Friends to gather with a few others around a question they are discerning or a ministry being pursued.