Because Quakers have no priests, we work to cultivate spiritual gifts in one another. Holding space and offering prayer is one type of spiritual gift. Elders provide a safe container, with good guidance, that helps people to grow.

Listen to Eldering Podcast

Inside this recording, Johanna asks JT about his eldering gift. They explore how the gift feels from the inside. Click "download single" to download the mp3 file, or press play to hear it off of this website.

Sneak Preview:

  1. How eldering compares to detachment

  2. How working in this way is like holding a container open. Inside there, someone can explore their pain, shame, loss, or yearning.

  3. How eldering helps us stay within good boundaries

  4. Eldering as "taking something in, and taking something out" of the air itself.

If you believe you may have the gift of eldering, or you're curious about some of the ways that Quakers might pray, then this is a good recording to listen to.

Click "download single" to download the mp3 file, or press play to hear it off of this website.

What do you mean by eldering?

Eldering, in the Quaker sense, is the practice of holding space. It is like being a witness. It is a form of spiritual accompaniment, walking with someone deeply. Eldering is not about age. Different people, young and old, can walk with one another in this way.

What kinds of things do elders do?

People can elder with one another when they pray with an individual or a group. In doing so, they channel divine Light into an experience. I believe it is possible for anyone to do this with practice. JT and I have had moments when people walked with us very in a very deep way, through our pain. In each case, we came away transformed. Eldering can transform pain. Eldering can ease loneliness. It is a very specific, loving, gentle, steadfast kind of service.


This page was written by Johanna Jackson. When we speak about Quaker practices, we often look for a seasoned Friend to offer oversight to that page. If you would like to offer feedback or reflection on this page, then please email us at forwardinfaithfulness@gmail.com.

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We work for inner transformation and collective renewal. Our goal is to motivate Friends toward revitalization, so Quakers may become creative, relevant, and thriving for years to come.