In his energizing Michener Lecture on Sunday, January 14th, Wess Daniels called on Friends to bring about a Quaker renewal—to be faithful to the living faith of our past while adapting and reinterpreting our tradition to embody how Spirit is moving among us and the wider community, practicing love in the contexts we find ourselves in. Daniels offered an approach to renewal that would be about ‘Remixing’— discovering what is most authentic and alive both in our tradition and in our communities today, and combining these in new ways. He used examples from the Quaker world and from our current culture — such as the internet and hip-hop—to illustrate what a new, creative, decentralized, ‘Remix’ of Quakerism in a ‘participatory culture’ might look like. He also offered queries, ideas, and other tools for Friends to use.
Near the end of the lecture, he offered this quote from Vincent Harding, Civil Rights leader, who offered this to Quakers:
“You know something about building a Quaker community, you can see it. The vision that you have is not meant to be kept to yourself, it’s meant to be expressed, to trouble some people, to push some people, to embrace some people, but for you to keep saying, “I see a Quaker community that does not yet exist and I am absolutely committed to its coming into being.”
In the interactive seminar following the lecture, Friends were further challenged to go deeper in discerning what was truly alive in our Meetings and in our experience. Friends worked in small groups to write responses to queries posted around the room on large sheets of paper. Time was allowed for each of us to move around the room to address each query.
Here are the Queries—- click ‘read more’ to see Friends’ responses.
Query 1: Share a time when you felt most fully alive in your faith. What conditions allowed that?
- Preparing NYYM final worship space.
- At FGC holding space in healing center
- Sundance ceremony in S.D.
- Sunset / evening atop an abandoned pueblo, arms outstretched to the stars and universe all around
- Right now, not knowing which time to pick
- Digital detox away from electronic immersion.
- Being near the fire
- Deciding to wait for change … waiting then knowing the first step.
- During Quaker worship
- Community full of trust and love
- Being open with others who are here open, gathered
- When helping a friend over a long period of time and at the same time giving up my own wants & desires, it came to me very clearly that I was the vessel of God’s love
Query 2: What are the core parts of Quakerism to you? If we were going to remix Quakerism, which parts would you want to sample?
- Unity of the Light
- Many voices in harmony
- Speaking truth to power
- Looking for that of God in others
- Spirit Led inner struggle
- Embrace trouble
- Everyone responsible for caring for one another
- When I have the courage to be contrarian
- FWCC world gathering of Friends (Keyna, Peru)
- Indigenous peoples’ wisdom day – Being with people willing to share openly and freely their connection with the oneness of the world and universe.
- Quaker United Nations (QUNO)
- moments of insight in meeting for worship (gathered meetings facilitated)
- Waiting for clearness to come for decisions … the beauty of being available for new learning
- Cuban Quaker Project supported by SEYM
- Standing on a mountain w/ Quaker youth group, witnessing mountaintop removal and knowing they were engaged in stopping it!
- dancing with others! singing, making music
- making art, creating
- Whenever I depend on it. Whenever it turns me around. (Conditions – doubt, struggle + messages of
- Friends = Renewal of faith)
- good = God, God = good
- Light Within
- Laity ministry
- Doing business under the guidance of the spirit
- Simple leases on/of life
- Beloved community
- No creed
- SEYM events
- Authority / decision from ground up for decision making
- Clerking rather than being in charge
- “I am”
- Answering to that of God in everyone
- Waiting worship!
- That of God in everyone!
- Change equality in the species to equity
- Peaceable Kingdom / social justice
- Continuing revelation!
- Immediate revelation
- Continuing empowering women in new ways
- doing your faith – ortho praxis
- Walking cheerfully
- Authority of spirit
- Mystical direct connection!
- Prophetic ministry
- Radical inclusion
Query 3: Identify people, places and communities where God is moving around your community and Meeting. Consider contexts we are not quick to notice. What can we learn from these groups?
- Youth (SEYM)
- Earth First – Gainesville
- Black Lives Matter
- Friends Peach Teams
- womens’ march movement
- # me too
- Pete, Beeg, Caroline, Beverly
- SEYM Earthcare Committee
- Merrilee (FL Sierra Club)
- Springs Institute (High Spring)
- Citizens Climate Lobby
- Organize FL
- Zebra Coalition
- Community garden (Fleet Farming)
- Suwanee Spring & Fall Fest everyone to chill
- Time Bank Tampa
- Playback Theatre / Pechakucha (we are more similar than different)
- Circus McGurkis
- City of Orlando Programs, eg Mayor’s City Academy
- Orange County Libraries
- Orange County Teachers Association
- serving minority populations
- Gathering events
- teaching skills (cooking)
- letters to the editor
- Dreamers – DACA
- Veterans For Peace
- Hurricane Neighbors Helping Neighbors
- Women’s March Orlando
- One Baptist minister speaking for the poor
Query 4: Considering Vincent Harding’s words, what are three hopes and dreams you have for your Quaker community today? (see quote above, in post)
- Identify and encourage strengths, skills and dreams of our youth and provide them opportunities.
- Interaction between MMs and broader Quaker organizations, mutually nurture each other such as in diversity work.
- That our worship is alive and rooted in the spirit, out of which come leadings we can live into.
- Really listen to each other.
- Recognize the Quaker Unity that we already have.
- Acceptance of different journeys to the goal.
- To be embracingly troublesome or troublingly embraceable
- Centered in / FOCUSED ON Leadings, not routine business.
- To be a light so lovely everyone will want to know the source.
- To provide the core vision for the country; I wish to be a citizen of ____
- Free from fear
- To find a leading for way forward (for communities in transition/crisis)
- We trust other Friends’ leadings
- We listen to the wisdom of our hearts
- Act without fear
- Connect with our local neighborhood around our meeting (eg AVP workshop and invite others to attend)
- Living Peace Testimony
- Be receptive to feedback without getting feeling hurt (not so defensive or afraid of criticism)
- Be motivated by love