Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

FULL A Journey to Wholeness in God

Workshop Number: 
Marcelle Martin
Who may register?: 
Open to all adults and high school
Experiential Activities: 
only full time attenders (participants should attend all week)

For those seeking to move with the Spirit, this workshop provides a worshipful opportunity to explore ten elements of the Quaker spiritual journey, as experienced by early Friends and by ourselves.  We'll help one another discern next steps in following our leadings, pray for each other, and go forth encouraged.

Workshop Description

This workshop will provide a worshipful setting in which to become more receptive to how God is calling us, individually and collectively, to faithfulness and wholeness.   We will discuss ten elements of the transformative Quaker spiritual journey, as experienced by both early and contemporary Quakers who whole-heartedly joined in the movement of the Spirit and created powerful ripples in their times.  We will also pay attention to this movement in our own journey, especially to what is seeking to come to greater fullness in ourselves and our communities. 

Each session will include about half an hour of presentation/discussion and 30-45 minutes of unprogrammed worship.  Each day there will be an experiential opportunity to gain greater awareness and insight about our own experience.  We will share with partners and in small groups, learning how to listen each other into deeper insight and openness to the work of God in and through us.  At the end of the week, participants will pray for one another and give encouragement to take the next steps in faithfulness. 

Monday: Awakening to the Journey: Longing, Seeking, and Turning Within

We'll get to know each other by sharing how we have been drawn into a deeper relationship with God.  We'll try a practice for turning our attention to the presence of God within, and share about other ways we have learned to seek and find the Inward Teacher through direct experience. 

Tuesday: Openings and The Refiner's Fire

After discussing the kinds of openings or revelations of God's truth that have been important to Friends in the past and for ourselves today, we'll explore our experience of how the Light reveals everything in us and in society that blocks the Light and perpetuates deception, inequality, or oppression.  We'll reflect on how God reveals and heals fears, addictions, fragmentation, cravings for conformity or social status, and all the other impediments to wholeness.  A short version of the Experiment with Light guided meditation will provide an opportunity for participants to invite the Light to illuminate something that is waiting to be understood, transformed, and/or healed.   This will be followed by journal writing and sharing.

Wednesday: Community and Leadings   

Friends have experienced community as essential to a faithful life of following God's leadings.  We will discuss how Quaker community is called to support both individual and collective faithfulness.  Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the next steps to which they are being called, what support from the community may be needed, and how they may be called to support the faithfulness of others.  We will practice deep listening to support deeper awareness of God's call.

Thursday: Living in the Cross and Abiding in Divine Love and Power

We will explore the difficulties and joys of the journey to wholeness.  The leadings of the Spirit call us to engage in God's work of healing and transformation in the world.  Following those leadings challenges us to let go of whatever in ourselves is controlled by fear and conformity, tendering us so that we become better able to flow with the movement of the Spirit.  We will share the difficulties, sacrifices, and challenges we have met in our efforts to be faithful, and how we have been assisted by divine Love and Power.  A guided practice will help us call upon the Spirit to free us from the bondage of the false self and infuse us with radiant love, joy, and integrity.        

Friday: Wholeness in God and Blessings for the Journey

Through surrender to the movement of the Spirit, both within ourselves and active in our community, the Quaker spiritual journey leads to humbly being re-created in the divine image and to embodiment of the wholeness for which we were born.  In small groups we will bless each other and pray for guidance, courage, and support in boldly following the next steps in faithfulness.

Advance Reading
There is no required advance reading.  It might be helpful, however, to read my book, Our Life is Love: The Quaker Spiritual Journey, or blog posts from A Whole Heart at

Bring to the worskshop:
Bring a journal, notebook or paper to write on.
Come with a willingness to hear others describe their spiritual experience in the language that feels most authentic to them.

Leader Experience

I have led workshops at the Gathering in 1996, 1997, 2007, 2014, 2015 and 2016.  Since 1996 I have been teaching classes, facilitating workshops, and leading retreats at monthly and quarterly meetings and at Quaker retreat centers across the country.  For seven years I taught resident courses at Pendle Hill; for four of those years I was the resident Quaker Studies teacher.  I have been leading weekend workshops at retreat centers and monthly meetings on the material I will be sharing in this workshop. My book Our Life is Love: the Quaker Spiritual Journey (published by Inner Light Books) is about transforming elements of the spiritual journey experienced by the first Quakers and by Friends in our time.