Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Restoryation and The Power of Stories

Workshop Number: 
Cai Quirk
Who may register?: 
Intergenerational (50% high school and young adults, 50% older)
Experiential Activities: 
part-time attenders welcome (can come any session)

Workshop timeslot: Mon-Fri (June 28-July 2) - five 90-minute sessions
Audio-only participation?: Yes

How do stories and myths relate to our lives today? What can we learn from ancient and modern stories and how can these connect us more deeply to each other and Divine? Together we’ll explore meaning, metaphor, and spirituality through the power of stories, including creating some of our own.

Workshop Description

Stories, myths, and legends aren’t just tales created long ago, but ones newly created as well. Looking at myths and stories today offers ways to find deeper insight into our own lives and ways of interacting with the world around us. They invite knowledge that is deeper than the brain, reaching into the heart, emotions, body, and soul. They encourage connections that span across distances, time, even to other realms or layers of the spirit world. Stories can act as mirrors, the metaphors reflecting differently to each person, or to the same person at different times in life, showing lessons and knowledge each needs most.

What pieces of the world around us feel intrinsically bound to our identities, perhaps even our origins? When so many stories of many people's ancestry are lost, and appropriating such stories from other cultures can be problematic, what else is possible? 'Restoryation' invites us to create new stories where old ones have been erased or forgotten, to extend beyond literal facts to deeper meanings and connections. The powerful act of restoryation creates new stories and myths to fill the gaps where others once were. These tales have great power to inspire, create meaning, connect us to one another, and create a sense of belonging and identity.

Like listening for Divine in Quaker worship, when we listen deeply for meanings and messages beyond the words, we make space for the inner teacher to guide us. By opening up to myth, story, and metaphor, to guidance that isn’t always immediately clear, we practice listening in ways that also open us further to hearing the Divine.


Objectives: This workshop will deepen participants’ understanding of the power of stories in our lives, especially in connection with the Divine and community. Participants will leave feeling stronger connections to the world around them. They will find new tools to explore meaning, metaphor and spiritual resonance in their lives. Though writing in different forms and storytelling are tools we will explore, participants are not required to be good writers/storytellers; transferring words to paper or retelling stories are used here as a way of encouraging us to think in a variety of ways.

Format: 15-20 minutes in daily worship, grounding our sessions in Spirit. Exercises include guided/prompted writing, guided (re)storytelling, collective storybuilding, and more. Lectures will be introductions to and expansions of topics, some will include short stories and readings; these will then be catalysts for discussions and exercises. There will be some time in small groups each day (formats for these times include worship sharing, discussion, and exercises).

Readings: Excerpts of books and articles will supplement the workshop. We will read 1-2 in preparation for each day (under 20 minutes). These may be read each day or ahead of the conference at your own pace.

Materials: Readings (provided in advance), something to write with/on

Costs: free PDF of readings, $10 for physical or audio copies if requested