Workshop Number: 106
Leaders: Michael Levi, Jade Eaton
Who May Register?: Open to All
Worship/Worship-Sharing: 15%
Lecture: 30%
Discussion: 35%
Experiential Activities: 20%

Who May Attend?
only full time attenders (participants should attend all week)

This workshop will provide a framework to better understand Quakers (mainly unprogrammed, theologically diverse Friends), and give participants an opportunity to reflect and converse with fellow seekers. It is designed for relative newcomers and as a refresher for more experienced Friends. We will explore Quaker spirituality, history, and practices.

Workshop Description

Quakerism 101: An Introduction to the Religious Society of Friends

There is no required advance reading.  If participants are interested in preparing, we recommend either Letters to a Fellow Seeker by Steve Chase or The Quakers: A Very Short Introduction by Ben Pink Dandelion.  We will have handouts every day.

The basic agenda for the week will be:

Day 1: Encounter — We experience God directly

  • The Inner Light
  • Friends and Scripture
  • Creeds and theology

Day 2: Worship — We have developed practices that encourage those encounters

  • Preparation
  • Centering
  • Expectant waiting
  • Vocal ministry
  • The gathered Meeting

Day 3: History — How did we get here?

  • Background: England in the 17th century
  • 1650-1700: Founding and expansion
  • 1700-1800: Quietism
  • 1800-1900: Schisms and social activism
  • 1900-2000: Reconnecting; Friends in East Africa and Latin America
  • 2000-2021: History is ongoing

Day 4: Discernment — We have developed practices to understand our encounters

  • Discernment in community
  • Meeting for worship for the conduct of business
  • Decision making
  • When Friends are not in unity

Day 5: Testimony — We are led to a particular way of living

  • Leadings
  • Clearness
  • “Testimonies”: SPICES
  • Testimony: The outward expression of a faithful life

Each session will follow a roughly similar format.

  • Gathering worship
  • QuakerSpeak video
  • Presentation
  • Q&A
  • Snowball discussions (see below) or another exercise
  • Closing worship

Snowball discussions

Everyone will be given queries related to the day’s topic.  To start, each participant will consider these queries by themself for about five minutes, recording their thoughts on paper.  Then participants will join in pairs to share their insights or concerns.  Finally, the full group will regather.

Leader Experience

Jade and Michael have both led many second hours, especially on Friends history and practices, under the care of our Meeting’s Continuing Quaker Education committee.  Michael has been teaching Quakerism 101 for over ten years to members and attenders of Adelphi Monthly Meeting and parents of a Friends’ school.  Jade joined Michael two years ago to co-lead Quakerism 101 at the Gathering. 

In a non-Quaker context, Jade and Michael have each led scores of workshops and trainings on topics ranging from nonviolence and civil disobedience to diversity, law, economic statistics and software development.

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