Our Hopes and Vision as a Meeting
When you have a shared vision of what type of meeting you’d like to become together, you can begin to discern a plan that will get you there
Materials and Setup
Markers & flip chart paper
[optional: art supplies and a roll of art paper]
Exploring as a whole meeting what it means to be a vital spiritual community can serve as a great starting point for adopting new efforts for welcoming newcomers and breaking down barriers to full participation. When you have a shared vision of what type of meeting you’d like to become together, you can begin to discern a plan that will get you there.
This discussion could take anywhere from 30-60 minutes, or may become a theme of an entire renewal weekend!
To begin, write the question below on a flip chart paper and settle into centering silence.
What makes a vital and welcoming meeting?
After some time in worship, break into small groups of 4-5 and invite the groups to discuss the questions for 10-15 minutes. Return to the whole group and engage in a group brainstorm, recording the responses on flipchart paper on walls.
Possible responses: everyone takes responsibility for their experience in Meeting, a variety of ages, people serve out of joy and not just duty, a gathering that leaves us feeling inspired, like a physical body it needs nourishment and fresh air, open communication, all visitors feel seen and valued as individuals, willingness to engage in hard things (internal, interpersonal) and work through them, a safe space to be vulnerable, honor and celebrate differences, independence and interdependence, known in larger society and has a visible presence, strives for deep unity not consensus, safe and welcome space for children
Deepening questions for large group discussion
Looking at this list, are we as a meeting satisfied with who we are and how we are?
If not, change is required of all of us. Change can be scary, so let’s talk about what is essential to our meeting, what we don’t want to lose.
- Who do we know ourselves to be as a meeting? What do we love about our meeting?
- As we think about change, what do we want to be sure to hold on to? What is non-negotiable? What does it mean to be Friends?
- What are our greatest hopes and visions for who we could be as a meeting? [If you have extra time, really dive deep into this visioning. Create a brainstormed list or roll out a length of art paper and use art supplies to capture everyone’s vision for the meeting. Take time to hold and honor this vision in worship.]
- What do we need to let go of? What will we grieve? How will we support each other in moving through grief toward a new way of being?
- What steps could we take together to increase the spiritual vitality and welcoming culture of our meeting?
Credits: Adapted from Britain Yearly Meeting’s Outreach Conference Report and updated by the Welcoming Friend Working Group