As Friends, the practice of deep listening is a way of life. We strive to distinguish and recognize God’s voice in our lives, and to share “life by leading.” Go back to basics with discernment, remembering how our bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits respond to God’s movement in our lives.
Expectations and Objectives:
Areas we will cover:
•Definition(s) of discernment, history of discernment, Biblical roots of discernment, Experiment with Light (Rex Ambler), Clearness Committees, experiential practice of discernment, consideration of things that trip us up and how we might respond to them
Generally, each day will include opening and closing worship, a time of group/pair discussion on the topic, and a time for practicing discernment, generally in small groups. We will learn together about discernment, how to do guided meditation (Rex Ambler’s Experiment with Light) and use a modified format of Parker Palmer’s clearness committee process, created by Margaret Benefiel. We also intend to integrate journal writing and inward reflection into the workshop.
Suggested Advance Reading:
(Please do not feel that all of these must be read. However, select at least one reading in the area of Spiritual Discernment and one reading in the area of Clearness Committees.)
•Sacred Compass: The Way of Spiritual Discernment by Brent Bill
•Spiritual Discernment by Patricia Loring, Pendle Hill pamphlet
•Practicing Discernment Together: Finding God’s Way Forward in Decision Making by Lon Fendall
•Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer
•Clearness Committees and Their Use in Personal Discernment by Jan Hoffman: http://www.fgcquaker.org/library/fosteringmeetings/0208.html
•The Clearness Committee Approach: A Guide to Communal Discernment by Parker Palmer: http://www.couragerenewal.org/parker/writings/clearness-committee
Participants may want to take the “Discern-o-Matic” quiz on www.discoverthyself.org prior to the Gathering
Items to bring to Gathering:
•Advance Reading books (optional)
About the leaders :
The workshop co-leaders are Marge Abbott and Allison Randall.
Marge has lead workshops at the Gathering in 1995 and 1996. She has also regularly led workshops at Pendle Hill, Woodbrooke and for individual meetings or larger groups of Friends.
Allison has led Quaker workshops and retreats at Woolman Hill, Powell House, New England Yearly Meeting, Beacon Hill Friends House, and a variety of meetings in New England, PA, OH and NY. Together we co-led a workshop at the Gathering in 2011 along with Emma Churchman and Ken Jacobsen who helped form the ideas for this workshop and are providing prayer support.