Workshop Number: P-62
Leaders: Adria Gulizia, Peter Blood-Patterson
Who May Register?: Open to All
Worship/Worship-Sharing: 30%
Lecture: 15%
Discussion: 40%
Experiential Activities: 15%

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

Quakers broke into the world in an era of great turmoil with radically new beliefs about God, worship, class and gender, and ways of living together and in the world. We will walk together with these Friends, exploring how their extraordinary experiences can inform our shared journey as Friends today. Our expectations for the workshop:…

Workshop Description

Quakers broke into the world in an era of great turmoil with radically new beliefs about God, worship, class and gender, and ways of living together and in the world. We will walk together with these Friends, exploring how their extraordinary experiences can inform our shared journey as Friends today.

Our expectations for the workshop:

Our goal is to deepen participants’ understanding of what first Friends’ movement was actually like. Although this will involve a certain amount of information sharing each day, we want the main emphasis to be on how this information relates to participants’ own journey with faith, worship, and witness. We will listen to the voices of early Friends through brief readings out loud, encouraging participants to allow their hearts to respond to these voices.

How do early Friends’ practices flow directly from their beliefs about and their intimate relationship with God as a present, living Guide in their midst? Early Friends’ saw their movement as “primitive Christianity revived”. How did their beliefs and practices spring from the prophetic traditions of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament? How can we engage authentically with the Christian and biblical roots of early Friends’ faith and practice while honoring the diversity of Friends today—including those taking part in this workshop?

We’re looking for lots of sharing with each other, stretching (in a spiritual sense), learning from all those present. Our goal at the end of the day is a deep conversation on how early Friends’ way of being a prophetic community / movement in a time of change can shape our own practice as Friends amidst the turmoil we are experiencing today. We will work hard to ensure that all of us engage respectfully with each other and seek to hear the truth underneath each others’ statements, even when we speak with very different words.

Here is the plan for what we expect to cover each day:

  1. The World Turned Upside Down: historical background & a quick history of Friends’ first years as a movement
  2. This I Knew Experientially: Friends’ beliefs about God and how God relates to humans and their faith communities (direct ongoing revelation, “Christ has come to teach his people himself.”)
  3. The Silent Assemblies of God’s People: How early Friends came to worship through silent gathered waiting and spontaneous Spirit-led vocal ministry
  4. This Is Our Testimony to the World: How Friends’ lives contrasted with those of non-Friends around them, public witness, sufferings for their beliefs
  5. Gospel Order: constructing a way of living with each other as a faith community.

Roughly half of each day will focus on learning about how early Friends lived and worked together as a faith community/prophetic movement and half on how this relates to our own experiences and possibilities as Friends today.

Approximate schedule for each day: (This is not a fixed schedule—It will vary somewhat from day to day as the workshop unfolds and as we are led.)

  • Open waiting worship (beginning before arrival hour so participants can worship longer if they arrive earlier than the appointed hour) – 20 mins.
  • A song – 5 mins.
  • Review of the day’s plans – 5 mins.
  • Presentation (by one or both of us) about one aspect of early Friends’ faith & practice with time for questions and reflections in large group – 30 mins.
  • Take turns reading out loud brief evocative passages from early Friends’ writings (including those by women!) followed by a period of worship sharing – 30 mins.
  • Break – 10 mins.
  • Skit – 10 mins. (read by participants from a script by workshop participants on the theme of the day)
  • Reflection together (in pairs, subgroups, or as a whole) on implications for our life together as Friends today
  • Closing worship & song – 15 mins.

Specific recommendations for advanced reading will be provided soon. These will be readings available online for free.

We will read aloud passages during each workshop and reflect personally and with each other on what these Friends’ words stir up in our hearts. There will be a deliberate effort to lift up the voices of early Quaker women drawing on resources such as Hidden in Plain Sight: Quaker Women’s Writings 1650-1700.

What to bring: Participants will be encouraged to bring with them a journal or notebook for writing down reflections. A Bible or online Bible app may be helpful. Participants will not be expected to pay anything for materials.

Leader Experience

Adria has led workshops in her monthly meetings, in the Friends of Jesus Fellowship and through the Powell House Retreat Center on topics as diverse as Friends’ traditional values and beliefs, listening as a practice of pastoral care, the Lamb’s War for racial justice, and spiritual gifts. These workshops focus on the ways that God interacts with us and animates our interactions with others, and have included experimenting with spiritual exercises, small- and large-group discussion, questions for reflection and other techniques. Adria also draws on her professional experience engaging people in different ages, stages and walks of life through mediation, restorative practices, classroom teaching and skills-based training to invite workshop participants into deeper reflection and deeper connection as they learn and grow in community.

Peter has been teaching / leading Quakerism courses at Friends Meetings and retreats in a variety of settings for over thirty years. These always include a significant amount of time focusing on the experience of early Friends and how this can impact our own faith & practice as Friends today.

He has led workshops and retreats at Quaker Center Ben Lomond, Woolman Hill Quaker Retreat Center (including a weekend on the topic being proposed here in early 2017), Woodbrooke, Quakers in Pastoral Care and Counseling, Young Friends of North America, Palmetto Friends Gathering, and a variety of monthly and quarterly meeting retreats.

He organized and hosted an online Bible series from October 2020 through March 2022, cosponsored by Woolman Hill and Beacon Hill. Each session was led by a different guest leader. Nine of twelve sessions had People of Color as guest leaders. Five of the guest leaders were Young Adult Friends.
He used a similarly interactive, engaging teaching style (including use of skits and roleplays, queries and other reflection activities) in eight years of teaching psychiatric mental health nursing at the college level and religion in the upper school at Westtown School.

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