Summary

Workshop Number: 23
Leaders: Nadine Hoover, Joann Neuroth
Who May Register?: Open to All
Worship/Worship-Sharing: 13%
Lecture: 7%
Discussion: 20%
Experiential Activities: 60%

Who May Attend?
half gathering attenders welcome

Half-Gathering Attenders Welcome:
First half (Monday-Wednesday)

Spiritual Companion Groups help us discover or revitalize the essence of Quaker practice: why we are Friends and how we embody Quaker faith and practice in daily life. Because Quaker practice is both individual and communal, our faith and meetings are strengthened when we practice with companions.


Workshop Description

The Companion Group Workshop helps us learn the practice of companion groups and the skills of being a good companion to bring back to your meeting. This workshop refreshes active practitioners, strengthens new groups, and orients newcomers. Participants have found these practices revitalize their spiritual lives and meetings. 

Companion Groups are self-selected by people who mutually commit to experimenting with being inwardly guided by the Living Spirit to shape and guide their private and public lives, and to become witnesses to regenerative, peaceful, just societies.

You are invited to start your own companion group. Groups of 2-4 people meet regularly every 1-3 weeks for 1-2 hours. Companions each keep a notebook for your own experiment, documenting what is true for yourself and for all members of your group or community. 

Participants come from many backgrounds. Typically participants are teens through adults, but interested pre-teens are welcome. Some or all of your companion group members are encouraged to attend. Individuals may attend to learn about this practice to start your own group. 

Specific topics covered are Convincement, Conviction, Conversion of Manners, Testimonies, and Bearing Witness. Spiritual Companion Groups is considered the second major structure of the Religious Society of Friends. We weave together key insights and practices to refresh spiritual companion groups today.

  • Stopping, Opening, and Listening Inwardly
  • Greeting and Sharing Power
  • Convincement and Experiencing the Living Spirit
  • Listening and Speaking
  • Conviction and Experiencing the Living Spirit
  • Good Companions and Storytelling
  • Experimenting with the Spirit in Our Lives
  • Spiritual Companion Groups
  • Spiritual Journals or Notebook on the Experiment
  • Available and Prepared
  • Emotional Discharge and Clearing Our Minds
  • Tests of Discernment
  • Spiritual Feedback and Recording
  • Community Feedback and Recording
  • Companion Group Meetings

Our daily schedule opens with worship and a sharing around the circle, then instructions on a basic Quaker insight and practice followed by ample opportunity to practice in pairs or small groups. We will allow for breaks, journaling, reflection, and discussion. With some worship, journaling, and sharing time, the majority of time will be practice.

Items to Bring:

  • Bring yourself. Take good care of yourself: eat nutritious food, drink lots of good water, get plenty of rest, and settle into stopping, opening, and listening inwardly.
  • Bring your notebook or journal to keep track of your experiment with the love and conscience of the Living Spirit in your life. 
  • Bring a timer, it may be on your phone, but dividing the time equally invests in balancing power. 

Prior to or during the Gathering you may watch a 20-minute series of three videosExperience and the Experiment: Walking in the World as a Friend, including Spiritual Convincement (5:08), Spiritual Conviction (7:43), and The Experiment with the Living Spirit (8:20). The doing of it and the talking about it are very different. We will use our time together in the workshop to practice and reflect on our practice. Additional supporting materials include more videos, purchase Walking in the World as a Friend at the FGC Bookstore and receive a handout. This workshop is offered in partnership with the Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC).


Leader Experience

  • Nadine Hoover of Buffalo NYYM, former Secretary of SEYM, former FGC Bookstore Manager, AVP facilitator since 1978, founder of Friends Peace Teams in Asia West Pacific, and author of Walking in the World as a Friend: Essential Quaker Practices in collaboration with Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC).
  • Joann Neuroth of Red Cedar LEYM, Clerk of School of the Spirit Ministry board, former clerk of Red Cedar Monthly Meeting, former member of AFSC board, LEYM Finance clerk. 
  • Cassie Cammann of Ann Arbor LEYM, bodyworker, and group convener for Unsettling Quaker Whiteness.
  • Sita Diehl of Madison NYM, serves on the Steering Circle for the Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC), and as Religious Education Coordinator for Madison Meeting.
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