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 are some of our favorites.
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:
On the SEYM Website
SEYM Publications offers pamphlets and videos of our Walton Lectures and Michener Lectures, and books by SEYM authors, and our Faith & Practice. In particular, we recommend:
- Growing the Beloved Community, the 2014 SEYM Michener Lecture 2014 by Deborah Fisch, and
- Being Fully Present to God, the SEYM Michener Lecture 2005) by Deborah Shaw
Interruption, Integration, Transfiguration In this SEYM 2021 Walton Lecture, Emily Provance speaks from the silence on how we change, are changed, effect change–and cling to the unchangeable.
Seeking the Seed: Embracing Wholeness, Experiencing the Divine In this 2021 SEYM Michener Lecture, Dr. Petra Doan shares reflections from her personal search for integrity and wholeness that led to a transformational gender journey. It’s a powerful story, full of lessons for any who are seeking to strengthen their connection to the Divine (the Seed) for spiritual transformation and a more authentic life.
Do Ye Not Know That Ye Are the Temple of God? The 2022 Michener Lecture, presented by Nancy Fennell. What does it mean for us, as individuals and as Quaker meeting communities, to be “the temple of God” (I Cor. 3:16)? The two major functions of a temple are to provide a place of worship and to serve under the leadings of God. Nancy shares spiritual practices that help both individuals and the community be ‘temples;’ and how our meetings can be, and are called to be, places of gathered worship, witness, service, love and compassion.
SEYM Spiritual Formation Program
At Winter Interim Business Meeting on January 17th, 2015, Friends approved offering an SEYM Spiritual Formation Program to our Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups. On the Yearly Meeting level, the Program will be the responsibility of a Spiritual Formation Committee, under the care of the Worship & Ministry Committee.
The work of Spiritual Formation Programs 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.”
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.
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.
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 silent worship, Friends share their responses to a query that provides a focus for the group. We listen 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 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, going around the circle. The group then enters into silent 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.
Guidelines for Worship Sharing download Guidelines>
- We wait in silent worship, in union with each other, and share gleanings from our spiritual journeys.
- Our purpose is to search together in silence for God’s truth and inspiration. We also hope to draw closer as a community by sharing deeply our spiritual experiences.
- No Friend is ever required to speak. Be a better listener than a speaker, but if you do share speak up and speak clearly for those who may be hard of hearing.
- In order to allow the space for each of us to share, be mindful of the length of one’s offering. Typically each Friend shares only one time until all others have spoken.
- Listen fully to each person’s words. Please do not interrupt or comment upon what another Friend has shared.
- Allow ample worship between sharings. Hold the gift that each person offers in the Light, without judgment.
- Try to speak from your own experience, rather than speaking of the experience of others or of abstract ideas.
Queries & Advices are used by individual Friends and by the Meeting community for inspiration and reflection, as an invitation to live life more fully in the spirit. They are typically found in a Yearly Meeting’s book of Faith and Practice, and are always evolving.There are twelve sets, one for each month, each covering a different topic.
And to make the Faith & Practice even more accessible as a learning tool for Friends, the Publications Committee is now offering it free, as a pdf to download or read online. (Note: the pages are scaled for a 5.5″ x 8.5″ book format.)
Other Quaker Resources Online
QuakerSpeak produces short videos bi-weekly on a wide range of topics of vital interest to Friends. You can search for videos by subject, and also subscribe to get the latest videos in your inbox.
We especially recommend:
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 have online workshops, retreats and lectures in addition to on-campus workshops, retreats, and sojourning.
Friends General Conference
Friends General Conference (FGC) is a coalition of sixteen yearly meetings and twelve directly affiliated monthly meetings. They offer online eRetreats and worship sharing, programs, and resources, in addition to organizing the annual FGC Gathering.
In particular, we recommend:
On his blog, Gathering in Light, C. Wess Daniels offers this 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.
Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC)
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.
Online Resources include:
FWCC Section of the Americas
The FWCC Section of the Americas Quaker community extends from the Arctic to the Andes, spanning a rich diversity of regional cultures, beliefs and styles of worship. Answering God’s call to universal love, FWCC brings Friends of varying traditions and cultural experiences together in worship, communications and consultation, to express our common heritage and our Quaker message to the world.
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 Meeting> Sign up for the NEYM newsletter: https://neym.org/newsletter-signup
- New York Yearly Meeting>
- Philadelphia Yearly Meeting> See their Religious Education Materials: https://www.pym.org/resources/religious-education/
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
Letters to a Fellow Seeker by Steve Chase
Peace Be With You by Sandra Cronk
Quaker Journals by Howard Brinton
The Quaker Way by Rex Ambler
Tall Poppies: Supporting Gifts of Ministry and Eldering in the Monthly Meeting (Pendle Hill Pamphlet #347) by Martha Paxson Grundy
A Testament of Devotion by Thomas R. Kelly