Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

Deepening Your Experience with the Light

Workshop Number: 
Jerry Knutson
Who may register?: 
Open to All (adult & high school)
Experiential Activities: 
only full time attenders (participants should attend all week)

By studying Quakers and other mystics, we plan to experience a greater union with the Spirit in meditation, worship and our lives. We will study and practice worship sharing, meditation, and brief Tai Chi , along with teachings from George Fox, Edgar Cayce, the Bible, Rex Ambler, and Thomas Kelly.

Workshop Description

  1. Your expectations and objectives for the week.

Participants will learn about techniques to help them to experience a greater union in their personal mediation practices. in Meeting for Worship and their lives.

  1. A list of the specific areas or topics that you expect to cover. For some workshops this might include things that the workshop will NOT cover.

Please see the Proposed Schedule below.

  1. A rough description of the format. This might include an estimate of the time to be spent in worship (most groups find 20 to 40 minutes daily gives good spiritual grounding), field trips you anticipate, writing activities (poetry, journaling, etc.), or other activities (role play, guided meditation, lecture, interactive exercises, discussion, etc.).

Each day, I will teach techniques that can enhance your experience with the Spirit. Some will be meditation techniques that we will practice, some will be guided meditations (see Proposed Schedule below.) Each day will start with  meeting for worship, which will begin when the first person arrives and end about 15 minutes after the published start time. Friends that want to a longer worship are invited to arrive earlier than the listed start time. In the first half of the class, we will learn and practice a technique. We will take a break halfway through the morning and then practice the Tai Ji (a brief, easy movement experience—a type of Tai Chi). In the second half of the class, we will usually learn and practice a new technique.

  1. Specific recommendations for advanced reading, or reading assignments during the Gathering.

None—each technique has a brief handout (often one page), which we shall read in class. Handouts are available electronically for free and for $5 for hard copies (probably 22 pages) 

  1. Specific requests for items to bring to the Gathering, such as artwork or manuscripts in progress.

You might want to bring a comfortable collapsible chair or a yoga mat or sleeping pad if you like to lay down when meditating.

Proposed Schedule


1.1 Worship Sharing This workshop teaches the Quaker process of worship sharing. In a discussion, often a few talkative people dominate and others don’t get an opportunity to talk. Also a discussion can get moving so fast that there is no time to try to hear the spirit. Worship sharing solves these potential problems.  (Break)

1.2 Tai Ji This is a very simple method of Tai Chi (slow body movement) that can be easily learned and then can be practiced daily after the workshop. This is a much simpler technique than you may have learned elsewhere. 

1.3 Introduction to Meditation This workshop is based on a very simple meditation technique from the book, The Relaxation Response, by Herbert Benson, M.D.  We will read the handout and then practice the method.

----Introductions  Name, MM, YM, the year you became involved with Quakers, and what you want to get from this workshop?

---Organize small groups and worship share in these small groups


2.1 Experiment with Light Rex Ambler, a British Quaker, uses George Fox's writings to articulate a meditation technique based on the early Friends.  Many Quaker "Light Groups" have formed using his book, Light to Live By; An Exploration in Quaker Spirituality.  After a brief explanation of the method, we will practice it.

---Break, Tai Ji, and Worship share in small groups


3.1 A Guided Meditation to Experience God's Love and Grace This meditation is based mostly on the teachings of Edgar Cayce and John van Auken’s Spiritual Breakthrough.  This is combined with Bible passages and quotes from mystics George Fox, Thomas Keating, Thomas Merton, the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, Julian of Norwich, Evelyn Underhill,  Hildegard of Bingen, Jewish scholars, etc.

---- Break, Tai Ji, and Worship share in small groups


4.1 The Gathered Meeting We will worship share on the tract "The Gathered Meeting," by Thomas Kelly, a twentieth-century Quaker.

4.2 Obstacles to Reading the Bible and Different Ways to Read the Bible

4.2 Guided Meditation on the Bible In this workshop we will read passages from the Old Testament about meditation and the New Testament about passages that will help us to unite with God and rejoice in that union.--- Break, Tai Ji, and Worship share in small groups


5.1 " Friend, Be still and cool in thy own mind and spirit from thy own thoughts, and then…." George Fox wrote a two-page letter to Lady Claypoole addressing the basic technique about what should be going on in the mind of a Quaker.  We will learn about the principles in the letter and then be guided in a meditation based on the letter.

----Evaluations, Break, Tai Ji and worship share in small groups.


Leader Experience

I presented this workshop in 2014 and 2015. I have also presented workshops on other topics at Gatherings in 2001, 2003 and 2004.  I taught these workshops in many settings in Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. I  have a Masters of Divinity Degree from Earlham School of Religion (ESR) and many of these workshops I facilitated during Supervised Ministry when working on this degree.