“Encountering Spirit” Draws 91 Friends

FGC’s newest experiment, the Encountering Spirit Retreat, brought together 91 Friends from five different countries. Friends explored how different people encounter the Divine, both individually and communally. This retreat was a virtual event. It included plenary speakers, workshops, and offline spiritual practices.

As an “unconference,” Encountering Spirit worked flexibly and spontaneously. Some Friends signed up to be “Encounter buddies” who emailed each other for mutual support during the retreat. FGC staff built the schedule so that Friends could adapt to their own bio-rhythms and the range of time zones. In the mornings, Friends met for peer-to-peer conversations. In these spaces, Friends gathered together to work more on themes that rose up in plenary sessions.

At workshops, Friends opened their hearts to several searching questions. These included: What practices support listening to our souls? How might we we create a framework that echoes the guidance of Spirit? How can we support each other in both discernment and action?

Kasper Ronning volunteered on the planning committee for Encountering Spirit. As an out trans man and Quaker, Kasper shared: “Helping to plan this retreat was a really heartening and educational experience! It was enriching to see a bunch of Friends come together, roll up their sleeves, and get to work to build something really meaningful.” He found that the retreat itself brought both surprise and a delight.

All in all, Friends grew spiritually throughout the weekend.

FGC’s next virtual events include ongoing worship opportunities for Friends of Color, as well as “The Water We Swim In.” In that program, Barry Crossno describes generational patterns in America and how they affect Quaker meetings.

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