The collection of resources on this page is intended to support the development and facilitation of religious education classes, courses, retreats, workshops, and study groups for adults.
Suggestions for Organizing and Facilitating Quaker Adult Religious Education Programs
It can be of considerable benefit to carefully consider how one plans and announces different classes or forums within the life of the meeting. Often, the leaders will pick the date, time, and location of a class and then announce the details to the meeting. It can be useful and appropriate to have certain conventions for when these types of activities usually take place, such as monthly forums after meeting for worship, or bi-weekly Friday evenings after potluck. This regularity can encourage more consistent participation within the meeting.
Adult Religious Education Format
With outlines for experiential and informational/lecture-based learning.
Prepared by Sita Diehl, Nashville Meeting, SAYMA; Sallie Jones, Birmingham Meeting, PHLYM; Sally Lawson, Fredonia Meeting, NYYM; and Michael Gibson, FGC RE Coordinator, 2010.
Companions Along the Way: Spiritual Formation Within the Quaker Tradition: A Resource for Adult Religious Education
This resource was developed to encourage spiritual formation in the Society of Friends through strong adult religious education. Now out of print, this wonderful collection is presented here as a series of PDFs.
An example: Adult Religious Education in Evanston (IL) Friends Meeting
Central to Evanston Meeting’s approach to adult religious education has been finding a variety of ways to nurture new attenders and longtime members. As a meeting toward the larger end of the Quaker spectrum (around 60 to 70 worshipping on an average Sunday) it is important to find a variety of ways of entering and growing in the life of the meeting community.
Adult Religious Book Reviews and Study Guides
Several useful guides to meet the needs of Adult Religious education classes: the first is a synopsis of a book about adult religious education available from QuakerBooks; the second is a discussion guide to accompany the book Sarah Mapps Douglass, Faithful Attender of Quaker Meeting: View from the Back Bench; and the third is a suggested lesson plan appropriate for children and adults.
Retreats for Adults
In this brief article, I want to explore several questions: Why do people need retreats? What are some elements that are often part of a good retreat? What are the positive outcomes that people experience from a good retreat? But first, there’s an even more basic question: What is a retreat? And finally, given the busyness of our daily lives, how can we find the time for “retirement” that will really refresh us? – Shirley Dodson
Query Method of Reading Scripture for Individual Reflection
This method is an adaptation of lectio divina, a method used for many centuries in the monastic Christian tradition. Below is an outline of this adaptation. Using this method takes about 15 to 30 minutes for an individual, or 30 to 50 minutes for a group. Groups should probably be no larger than a dozen people; divide as needed. If using this method with a group, a facilitator will need to be timekeeper and guide throughout the process.
Biblical Scholarship, Jesus, and Religious Education
What should Friends in the unprogrammed tradition teach about the Bible? About Jesus? I often hear these questions asked. Certainly, we should teach the classic narratives and poetry and the discursive passages which have spoken powerfully to people in every generation for thousands of years. The really big question, I believe, is not what to teach, but how. Friends have long said we should read scripture in that Light in which it was written. I believe this means reading prayerfully with deep honesty, integrity, and compassion, and with vulnerable humility. If we so read scripture, I think we would be surprised with each new reading. The Bible contains words about the Word, but is not that Word itself. Friends are clear about this. But God can use those words like a marvelous trickster to open up new places within us. The religious educator helps provide environments for this opening and offers opportunities for others to share with the community the measure of Light, or Truth, given them through their prayerful engagement with Biblical texts.
Guidelines for Wondering with Adults
Most Friends are familiar with the use of queries and discussion questions in adult religious education settings but might not be accustomed to wondering with adults. All three tools are valuable, but sometimes one is more appropriate than the others for a given topic or setting. A mix of discussion questions, queries, and wonderings can add interest and depth to a session. Experience will help the facilitator know when to use which tool.