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Spiritual Life Resources

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Friends Practices

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Looking for ways to deepen your spiritual experience or that of your Meeting or Worship Group to build Blessed Community? The SEYM Worship & Ministry Committee recommends these resources, which include some favorites of our committee’s members.

Of course, this list is not definitive, just a start. As you discover more resources, please add them to your list for your own use, or send them to the Worship & Ministry co-clerks:

Jan Dahm
Lisa Erazmus
Richelle Ogle

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Friends Practices

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In addition to worship, Quakers have a myriad of practices for deepening the spiritual lives of individual Friends and of our meeting communities. Here are three that the SEYM Worship and Ministry Committee brings forward:

Queries & Advices

Since the earliest beginnings of Quakerism, Friends have used Queries and Advices to go deeper in discerning their spiritual condition and seeking the Light, both as individuals and as faith communities. Queries are open-ended questions that invite us to recognize “the promptings of truth and love in our hearts.” Advices are exhortations and wisdom, gathered through long experience, about living more fully in the Spirit.

Each Yearly Meeting writes and updates its version of Advices and Queries, typically found in their book of Faith and Practice.

Here are some examples and recommended sources:

SEYM Queries & Advices

Queries for the Journey, weekly queries provided by the SEYM Worship and Ministry Committee

The Advices of 1694, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting

Worship Sharing

Worship Sharing is an opportunity for small groups to deepen their understanding of life in the Spirit and get to know each other on a deeper level, through listening to each others’ experiences and insights in a worship-grounded setting.

In a covering of worship, Friends share their responses to a query that provides a focus for the group, and listening deeply to what is shared, without discussion. Worship Sharing may last an hour, or less, depending in part on the size of the group.

Before the session, the Convenor (and/or a committee) decides on a topic or issue for the group to address and writes a query (or queries) for the group to focus on, adding perhaps a few short quotes for inspiration. Queries should be open-ended, inviting participants into contemplation and inward seeking. The Convenor brings copies of the queries, quotes, and the ‘Guidelines for Worship Sharing’ to hand out.

The session begins with Friends being seated in a circle. Sheets with the Guidelines on one side, Queries on the other are handed out. The group reads the Guidelines aloud, each reading a part; then enters into worship and contemplation of the queries. Each participant is asked to share their response to the queries with the group, speaking from the silence when moved, with the option of not speaking if they wish.

The Convenor quietly facilitates the group, seeing that all have the opportunity to speak, and closing the worship with the shaking or holding of hands.

SEYM Spiritual Formation Program

The primary goal of a spiritual formation program is to deepen one’s relationship with the Divine, God, Spirit, or Inner Light through four major avenues: reading devotionally, individual spiritual practice, deep listening and spiritual community. Walking the spiritual path along with others in the group tends to lead to the formation of meaningful and long-lasting relationships. The transformative work of spiritual formation inevitably contributes to the spiritual well-being of the individual, the monthly and yearly meetings.

The work of a Spiritual Formation Program is accomplished within a small group format. These groups have been referred to as “circles of trust,” “circles of light,” “friendship circles,” “spiritual companion groups,” etc. SEYM prefers to call the small groups “spiritual companion groups.”

Spiritual Formation Programs have a long and respected history among many religious groups, including the Religious Society of Friends. Both Philadelphia and Baltimore Yearly Meetings have collaborated and published their entire programs on the web in order to serve as models for others. Many yearly meetings in the United States have adapted these models to meet the particular needs of their constituent meetings. SEYM is pleased to welcome you to our program.

For complete information on starting a Spiritual Formation Program in your Meeting or Worship Group, download the SEYM Spiritual Formation Program Guide.

SEYM Publications

Southeastern Yearly Meeting Publications offers pamphlets and videos of our Walton Lectures and Michener Lectures, books by SEYM authors, and our Faith & Practice.

Visit the Publications page!

Pamphlets we especially recommend:

    • Growing the Beloved Community, the 2014 Michener Lecture 2014 by Deborah Fisch
    • Being Fully Present to God, the 2005 Michener Lecture by Deborah Shaw

Videos:

    • Interruption, Integration, Transfiguration, the SEYM 2021 Walton Lecture by Emily Provance
    • Seeking the Seed: Embracing Wholeness, Experiencing the Divine, the 2021 SEYM Michener Lecture by Dr. Petra Doan
    • Do Ye Not Know That Ye Are the Temple of God? The 2022 Michener Lecture presented by Nancy Fennell.
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Online Quaker Resources

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Friends Journal

Friends Journal, published monthly in print and online, communicates Quaker experience in order to connect and deepen spiritual lives.

Two of our favorite articles:

We Listen as God Listens by Ann Jerome

Selling Out to Niceness by Ann Jerome

QuakerSpeak videos

QuakerSpeak produces short videos bi-weekly on topics of vital interest to Friends. You can search for videos by topic, and also subscribe to get the latest videos in your inbox.

We especially recommend the QuakerSpeak Videos for Newcomers collection. 

Podcasts

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Thee Quaker, A weekly Quaker podcast exploring stories of spiritual courage.

The Seed,  Conversations for Radical Hope

Quakers Today, A Podcast Exploring Quaker Faith in Contemporary Life.

Pendle Hill

Located in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, Pendle Hill is a Quaker Study Center welcoming all for Spirit-led learning, retreat, and community. Their vision is to create peace with justice in the world by transforming lives. They offer online workshops, retreats and lectures in addition to on campus retreats and sojourning. They also publish Pendle Hill Pamphlets, which have a rich resource for Friends.

See their Events, which include both in-person and online events:

Recorded Lectures

Pendle Hill Pamphlets

The Seed podcast

Friends General Conference

Friends General Conference is a coalition of sixteen yearly meetings and twelve directly affiliated monthly meetings. They offer online eRetreats and worship sharing, programs, and resources. They organize the annual FGC Gathering, which draws hundreds of Friends from all over for a week of workshops, featured speakers, and much more.

In particular, we recommend their Spiritual Deepening program, which offers eRetreats and resources.

Friends World Committee for Consultation

Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC)  encourages fellowship and understanding among all the branches of the Religious Society of Friends worldwide, bringing Quakers together in multiple ways to celebrate God in our lives, to gather the Quaker voice, build networks to address issues of our time, and to unite Friends within our diversity. Visit their Resources and Learn about Quakerism pages.

Quakerism 101

On his blog, Gathering in Light, C. Wess Daniels offers his take on Quakerism 101: a short reading list with some basic background to the Quaker tradition to help those who are getting started out and/or want to know more about the history, beliefs, and practice of the Religious Society of Friends.

Other Yearly Meetings

We recommend these Yearly Meeting websites for finding more online events, Quaker basics, and resources for youth, for strengthening your local meeting and Quaker faith and practice.

New England Yearly MeetingSign up for the NEYM newsletter.

New York Yearly Meeting

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.  Take a look at their Religious Education materials.

Books

QuakerBooks of FGC is a ministry of Friends General Conference that serves Quakers, Quaker meetings, and interested individuals They carry books, pamphlets, ebooks, curriculum, and more. They offer discounts for spiritual formation groups, study groups and meeting book groups; and 10% off most titles when you order 6 or more copies, and on orders over $100.

You can find these recommended books on the QuakerBooks website.

Essays on the Quaker Vision of Gospel Order by Lloyd Lee Wilson
Friends for 350 Years by Howard Brinton
The Journal of George Fox, ed. Jon L. Nickalls
The Journal and Major Essays of John Woolman
Letters to a Fellow Seeker by Steve Chase
Peace Be With You by Sandra Cronk
The Quaker Way: A Rediscovery by Rex Ambler
A Testament of Devotion by Thomas R. Kelly

Pendle Hill also has a bookstore that carries their Pendle Hill Pamphlets and a variety of Quaker books. Here are two recommended titles:

Tall Poppies: Supporting Gifts of Ministry and Eldering in the Monthly Meeting (Pendle Hill Pamphlet #347) by Martha Paxson Grundy

Quaker Journals: Varieties of Religious Experience Among Friends by Howard Brinton

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