There are many sub-groups inside the Quaker world that offer community. We'd like to highlight two groups that have deepened our own spiritual lives. They both have simple, basic structures that support faithfulness. Both groups focus on anti-racism work and social justice. They balance this work with worship and a contemplative rhythm. Read on for more!
NEW FORMS OF COMMUNITY
Their practices are quite quite open and fluid.
Since their goal is to support living witness, anything that does this is acceptable to the group.
They are networks that people might drop into, with some flexibility
They focus on worship-sharing and engagement.
Their practices are about building relationships. Their practices change over time.
They have a mixture of silence and words. They do not worship the silence.
They welcome (and actively support) vulnerability.
Sometimes by affirming someone when they share
Sometimes by stating ground rules in the beginning
Also by modeling vulnerability.
They offer pastoral care
For example, asking people "How is your heart doing these days?"
- Making space for pastoral care during worship, such as meeting in a breakout room to talk things through more or receive care
Sending a simple text to someone to check in
Sending an email to someone when we're holding them int he Light
Unlike a local meeting, these groups might not offer other kinds of pastoral care, such as in-home care after an injury.
The text above has been reviewed by members of the Three Rivers Meeting and members of the Tuesday Worship Group.
How are these groups like a local meeting, and how are they different?
Membership in these groups is somewhat fluid. They work as a network, with semi-permeable edges. So the group makeup changes over time. This flexibility is balanced by a real commitment to show up with our "whole selves" ready when we do arrive. Both groups worship remotely.