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:
7:30 am Breakfast
8:00 “Holding the Gathering”. Those who are led to do so gather to hold the gathering in prayer. Anyone present is welcome to bring any issue or concern to this open time.
9:00 Bible reading & study. 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.
10:00 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.
Planning time. We spend time at the rise of meeting for worship discerning together how Friends are led to spend time in afternoon activities and an evening plenary session.
12:15 pm Lunch
1:00-5:30 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.
7:30 Evening Plenary Sessions are planned based on the discernment of the group after 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.
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.
9:00 Singing? Walks? Quiet conversation? (and a good night’s rest…)