Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

Honoring Our Stories in Words and Art

Workshop Number: 
Jennifer Elam
Who may register?: 
Open to All (adult & high school)
Experiential Activities: 
full-time attenders only

We will begin and end each day with worship that will include body prayer and movement. We will honor the stories of our lives (including stories in which "Love was the First Motion") using both words and art.  Art media will include string art, water colors, painting and making small books.

Workshop Description

Guidelines will be set:  Judges will be set on the shelf, the listener will be responsible for translating God or other language they don’t usually use, we will ask the Creator to create with us and then honor what comes.

Participants will share in worship, traditional silent as well as using movement and art media in worship.

Participants will share through writing and telling of stories from their lives.

Participants will bring and write words of poetry to use with their stories.

Participants will engage with string art, water color and painting.

Participant will experience and reflect on:  art as a social activity, the influence of music on their art, and art as meditation in the silence.

Participants will identify at least one story in their lives where love was the first motion.

Often, as we honor our stories, those stories in our lives that need transformation also arise.  For those, we will consider them unfinished, write and art about them, and see what kind of transformation is being called forth.

By the end of the week, each participant will make at least one beautiful book in which to write and honor their life’s stories.

At the end of each session, we will express gratitude for what the muses have blessed us with and express appreciation for each other’s work.

By the end of the week, we will  create a meaningful prayer for each participant.

Specific areas or topics to cover :

Worship and Worship Sharing

Arts and Spirituality:  Media to include string art, water colors, painting (as facilities allow), book making

Body Prayer

Spiritual Autobiography – writing and telling stories of our lives (honoring them and transforming them as needed)

A rough description of the format :

Format (9:00-11:45 – 165 minutes) (as Spirit leads):

Worship with movement:  Approximately 20 minutes

Writing the stories of our lives (with prompts) – stories may come in the form of poems.  Prompts will be given to generate ideas.  Approximately 30 minutes

Demonstration then art work:  Approximately 90 minutes

Closing with appreciations and/or worship sharing:  Approximately 25 minutes

During the final session, the writing and art will be about 40 minutes.  The closing will be longer and include a prayer ritual for each person.

Items to bring to the Gathering, such as artwork or manuscripts in progress.

Bring your favorite quotes and poetry.

Bring ideas for your life stories that you want to honor, especially those in which Love was the First Motion

Leader Experience

(See Discernment section above.)

I am also a psychologist and have led many workshops and taught both undergraduate and graduate classes in that capacity for many years; they are always interactive.