How to Foster Community Online – A Guide for Friends Who Participate in Quaker Faith & Practice through the Web
When you’re the only Friend in town, the nearest meetinghouse is too far away, or physical limitations prevent participation in the life of your Quaker community in-person, opportunities for virtual Meeting for Worship and Spiritual Deepening eRetreats can be a lifeline to faith. In honor of Telecommuter Appreciation Week (February 25th to March 3rd, 2019), we’re sharing tools to foster community online! Grab your computer (and your phone, as needed), and connect with Friends virtually today.
When you’re the only Friend in town, the nearest meetinghouse is too far away, or physical limitations prevent participation in the life of your Quaker community in-person, opportunities for virtual Meeting for Worship and Spiritual Deepening eRetreats can be a lifeline to faith. In honor of Telecommuter Appreciation Week (observed during February 25th to March 3rd in 2019), we created a resource to share tools for Friends and spiritual seekers to foster community online! Grab your computer (and your phone, as needed), and connect with Friends virtually today.
This article has been updated with additional opportunities created during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virtual Meeting for Worship and Community Building Calls
Worship for People of Color
To encourage community and a stronger connection to Spirit in a safe space, Friends General Conference began hosting virtual worships for People of Color in 2018. FGC established this practice as a result of a request by Friends of Color who participated in a retreat that summer. During that weekend Friends of Color expressed their pain of feeling oppressed in their meeting which caused them to stop attending. These Friends were clear that Quakerism and worship was core to their lives and wanted an opportunity to continue to worship in community. FGC agreed to support these Friends with providing monthly virtual worships on Zoom. These worships are provided as a place for Friends of Color to come together in community and worship in an environment with Friends who experience marginalization in their lives and Quaker meetings because they are a Person of Color.
During this time of the global COVID-19 pandemic, FGC has agreed to offer these virtual worships on a weekly basis. The weekly virtual worships will be held on Wednesdays at 1:00 PM EDT/12:00 PM CDT/ 11:00 AM MDT/10:00 AM PDT. These weekly worships will be in addition to the already-scheduled monthly meetings for worship, which happen on the third Sunday of each month at 8:00 PM EDT/7:00 PM CDT/6:00 PM MDT/5:00 PM PDT.
Meeting for Worship Open to Friends and Spiritual Seekers of all backgrounds and identities
FGC is offering weekly meetings for worship on Saturdays at 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific. FGC staff will email you the Zoom login information upon registration. You’ll be able to join with the Zoom app on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, or you can call in for audio-only.
Worship Sharing Groups for Friends of Color, LGBTQ+ Friends, Nontheist Friends, Quaker Earthcare Witness, and more
FGC is also organizing worship sharing groups. Some groups are themed and hosted by communities that often meet at the FGC Gathering, and there is an open unthemed group. These groups will meet virtually once a month.
Additionally, Friends and spiritual seekers looking for open online worship are encouraged to check out:
- The Ben Lomond Quaker Center Online Meeting for Worship, which is held daily 7:30 to 8:00 AM Pacific Time.
- Pendle Hill Online for Worship in the Barn, held daily at 8:30 AM Eastern Time
- Cloud Quakers, who hold Virtual Meeting for Worship every Sunday at 6:00 PM Mountain Time.
- Western Friend’s Quaker Worship and Fellowship Online resource, which organizes virtual worship opportunities from Quaker communities and conference centers by frequency and day of the week.
NEW, organized during the COVID-19 pandemic: Friends working recovery programs are invited to join Meeting for Worship with Attention to Recovery via Zoom on Sundays at noon Eastern/9a Pacific. Think Friends’ meeting for 12-Steppers or 12-Step meeting for Friends. Semi-programmed worship with attention to the miracle and challenge of recovery. Open to those in any recovery fellowship.
Meeting can be joined via phone call or video conference. For the Zoom Meeting ID, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also want to explore FGC’s Spiritual Deepening Library, an online resource for Friends and spiritual seekers that want to begin a new daily spiritual practice, or for small groups from your meeting or church that want to foster community through virtual gatherings. View the Spiritual Deepening Library.
Spiritual Deepening eRetreats and What Canst Thou Say
An FGC Spiritual Deepening eRetreat is an online opportunity to build spiritual community with Friends and seekers while learning about Quaker thought and practice from the comfort of your own home. Friends and newcomers complete exercises, explore multimedia materials, and participate in weekly group check-ins during each 4 to 8-week eRetreat. View our schedule of Spiritual Deepening eRetreat offerings.
NEW for April 2020! What Canst Thou Say offers a new twist to the eRetreat format, fostering spiritual community through a focus on worship sharing around the Bible and the Quaker tradition using passages from texts by Friends (and others) and the Bible verses that informed them. This will be a work-in-progress so each week may be different from previous ones. No experience with the Bible or Quaker history is necessary. Everyone is welcome.
Gathering Plenary Livestreaming and Recordings
When possible, FGC will livestream evening plenary presentations as they happen during the FGC Gathering, which takes place each summer. Evening plenaries open with a period of worship before the presentation. Explore available recordings from past editions of the FGC Gathering.
Though these groups are not organized or moderated by FGC, you’ll find many Friends that are part of groups on Facebook. We suggest checking out Quakers Engage to End Racism, Young Adult Friends (Quakers), and Quaker Communications and Outreach. And for the Friends who are good at being bad, the Association of Bad Friends (Quakers) is an enjoyable source of Friendly comic relief.