JT Dorr-Bremme and Johanna Jackson
There are many groups inside the Religious Society of Friends that offer spiritual nurture. We'd like to highlight some communities that have deepened our spiritual lives, or the lives of people we know. The communities below have simple, basic structures. They support faithfulness. They each focus on anti-racism work and social justice, balancing this work with worship and a contemplative rhythm.
This is not an exhaustive list of communities. There are many groups, large and small, that are supporting faithfulness. However, we highlight the groups below as a way to envision the communities that might yet emerge.
ON BUILDING STRONG
AND LIMBER COMMUNITIES
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 in the 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.
WHAT WE DO
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.