Coming Together in Community
Our spiritual communities are vital for our work to heal the world and Quaker practices offer deep and practical tools for supporting and sustaining social witness. How can we come together in community to become patterns and examples?
Materials and Setup
Materials & Setup:
You will need devices and internet access to access, print, and/or share the articles, essays, spiritual practices and queries in the Instructions tab.
If you have five minutes…
Consider this quotation about the role of community in following leadings.
The community itself can become the test or touchstone for authenticating leadings. The experience of being united in Truth produces the expectation that the perceptions of a person truly under divine guidance in a particular situation will be consistent with the perceptions of others who also are – or have been – attuned to divine guidance. Truth is one, not several, and does not alter from person to person. So the perceptions of discerning people may be extremely helpful in helping a person to distinguish or discern the sources of her own perceptions and motivations.
Patricia Loring. Spiritual Discernment: The Context and Goal of Clearness Committees. Wallingford: Pendle Hill, 1992. p7.
If you have twenty minutes…
Read one of the articles below, which describe tools and strategies available to Quaker meetings to support individual leadings and strengthen the meeting community as a whole.
Living Our Convictions – Nadine Hoover, October 2006.
“To have every act of life celebrate and proclaim the Living Spirit requires our full attention as a Religious Society. We are under the weight of getting our daily lives in order so we are available to Truth. The great experiment of faithfulness calls our attention to the Power of the Spirit in our lives and to shaping our outward lives to reflect that inward experience.”
Reproduced with permission from Friends Journal.
Rekindling the Fire, by Betty Devalcourt and Diego Navarro
“Looking towards the future of Quakerism, we see that the power to rekindle our fire for social justice lies within our local meetings. Supporting individuals to pursue the spirit’s leadings to work for peace and social justice will strengthen the Religious Society of Friends overall and connect us back to our historical roots.”
Published by Western Friend, March/April 2013.
If you have an hour…
Read Lloyd Lee Wilson’s reflection on the importance of contemplation and community as we seek to be effective healers for the world: Work Not In Vain.
“I think the unit for Quakers is a meeting. God calls us to be a great people gathered, not a large assembly of individuals gathered. Corporate reflection helps us see how to do that. It’s not always that we all go off to follow the same leading. There may be only one person who is called to be active on behalf of a cause. But if we take the time to reflect together and find unity together, we may discover that we have other people who can produce the flyers, and people who can pay for the postage, and somebody who can cut the lawn and feed the goldfish, so that the individual who is called is free to act. We can liberate one another into service.”
Published in Western Friend, September/October 2015.
Who are the people in your neighborhood…?
Take 5 minutes to brainstorm a list of organizations in your community that are doing work that inspires you by their “actions grounded in love”.
Identify one of the organizations that you particularly gravitate toward.
Reach out to the organization and ask if you can be of service of them in some way – offering to volunteer your time, supplies, a particular skill set or a monetary donation.
Queries for Reflection and Discussion
- What is the role of spiritual community in your own experience of discernment, following leadings, and living your faith?
- What stands out to you in the articles and videos shared above?