What is Quaker Quest? Isn’t it just about having Public Sessions?
Quaker Quest is the entire process, from the Full-Day Workshop to public sessions, and all of the changes that the meeting chooses to undertake in-between. It is also the work that a meeting does after the workshop, whether or not the meeting holds public sessions.
A meeting is “doing Quaker Quest” beginning when it approves having a Full-Day Workshop.
Quaker Quest public sessions are a series of weekly public meetings on Quaker topics, which are presented on consecutive weeks in repeated cycles. Each meeting decides on how many sessions to offer in a cycle, usually three, and chooses its own topics. The cycle is repeated once. Popular topics have included Quakers and Worship, Quakers and Equality, and Quaker Faith in Action.
Is my meeting too small (or large) to participate in Quaker Quest?
The Quaker Quest process has been used by meetings all over England, in small villages to large cities. In the U.S. and Canada, over 70 meetings of all sizes and locations have participated in Quaker Quest. This includes: Small meetings of eight and large meetings of more than eighty; FGC and FUM affiliated meetings; meetings from Florida to Vancouver to Wisconsin, from Maine to California to Costa Rica, from Oklahoma to Minnesota to Ontario, and lots more places in-between!
How do I get Quaker Quest started in my meeting?
Building interest and knowledge in the meeting is a good first step. Then perhaps you could organize an informal discussion group around the topic. If interest develops, bring a request for a Full-Day Workshop to business meeting. Check out the webform that you’ll use to request the workshop: http://www.fgcquaker.org/deepen/outreach/quaker-quest/take-next-step.
The process looks like it takes a long time. Why?
Quaker Quest begins with a Full-Day Workshop to ensure that everyone in the meeting knows what Quaker Quest is all about and what is required of meetings who choose to hold public sessions. After the Full-Day Workshop, the meeting may choose to discern whether to move ahead with public sessions. Whether or not it holds public sessions, the meeting usually considers creating ways to welcome newcomers and incorporate them into the life of the meeting.
If the meeting is led to hold public sessions, a Half-Day Preparation Session is organized approximately six weeks before public sessions begin. Here is the webform to request a preparation session: http://www.fgcquaker.org/deepen/outreach/quaker-quest/take-next-step.
What are the goals of the Full-Day Workshop?
The Quaker Quest Full Day Workshop, which is co-led by Quaker Quest Travel Team members, will help folks in the meeting to:
• Build community
• Consider the needs of seekers/newcomers
• Learn about the core principles of Quaker Quest
• Practice responding to questions typically asked by seekers
• Begin thinking about the logistics of offering public Quaker Quest sessions
To arrange a workshop for your meeting, contact at email@example.com or call 215-561-1700.
The cycle of public sessions is repeated. Why?
Like everyone else, seekers have busy schedules. By repeating the cycle, seekers or newcomers have the opportunity to attend sessions they missed during the first cycle. Also, the presenters from the meeting at public sessions improve each time they make a presentation.
Could we rotate the sessions around our quarter to help all the meetings?
While this is a thoughtful idea, our experience has been that a successful series of public sessions happen at the worship location and during the same time over several weeks. If the site changes from week to week, attendance usually will fall off markedly. An alternative might be to ask your quarter or nearby meetings to help you hold the public sessions and then, later, you can help them do the same.
What is the cost?
There is a flat fee for transportation and materials of $1000 for a Full-Day Workshop and $550 for a Half-Day Preparation Session. Meetings holding public sessions can apply for a matching grant of up to $1,000 to help with publicity. FGC is committed to supporting all meetings interested in Quaker Quest. If this is a financial hardship, contact Quaker Quest staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How did Quaker Quest begin?
In 2002, a group of twelve Friends in London were troubled by the fact that although Quakers have a powerful, transformative faith to offer seekers, very few people had heard of us. They cultivated the process over more than five years. In 2007, the Quakers from Hampstead Meeting in London asked FGC to shepherd Quaker Quest in the U.S. and Canada.