Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

Discernment - Receiving, Testing, and Implementing

Workshop Number: 
Jerry Knutson
Who may register?: 
Open to All
Experiential Activities: 
only full time attenders (participants should attend all week)

In this workshop participants will discern a concern, decision, relationship, etc. We’ll support one another in discernment using clearness committees and worship sharing, and practice a simple Tai Chi daily. Before Gathering, participants are expected to read Pendle Hill Pamphlet #443 (by Jerry Knutson) as well as PHP #446 and/or #305.

Workshop Description

This workshop is designed for the serious student that would like to discern a concern, decision, relationship, etc.  We will work with discernment and have Clearness Committees for those who want them.

Before Gathering, participants are expected to:

1) ponder what they would like to discern,

2) read PHP # 443 “Individual Spiritual Discernment: Receiving, Testing and Implementing Leadings from a Higher Power” by Jerry Knutson and  

3) read PHP#305 “Spiritual Discernment: The Context and Goals of Clearness Committees Among Friends” by Patricia Loring and/or

PHP#446 “Coming to Light: Cultivating Spiritual Discernment through the Quaker Clearness Committee” by Valerie Brown.  Please bring these pamphlets to Gathering.

For those wanting more information on discernment, I’d recommend reading Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community by Joseph P. Gill, R. Taylor McLean, and Suzanne G. Farnham

I expect participants to work--a workshop is best if "work" is emphasized. My objective is to help participants 1) discern and 2) become familiar with discernment.

I will also present a brief simple Tai Chi after break that we will practice daily.

Much of the workshop will be in a worship sharing format.

I usually arrive 30 minutes before workshop start time to "kindle" worship. I hope others can join me. Thus, worship will be in progress when many arrive--please enter gracefully.


Monday – Worship, introductions, Receiving Guidance PHP#443, Break, Tai Chi, set up small groups that will also be Clearness Committees, guidelines for worship sharing and then worship share in these small groups.

Tuesday – Worship, Testing and Implementing Guidance PHP#443 and All participants worship share on Spiritual Disciplines. Break, Tai Chi, and worship share in small groups.

Wednesday – Worship, Forgiveness as a Spiritual Discipline from handouts. All participants worship share on PHP#305 and #406. Break, Tai Chi, and worship share in small groups.

Thursday – Worship, Tai Chi, participate in Clearness Committees.

Friday – Worship, Focus persons worship share on Clearness Committees, evaluations, Break, Tai Chi, closing in large group, worship share in small groups and closings in small groups.

Leader Experience

I have had favorable experiences with all of the six workshops I have presented at FGC Gathering.