Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Spiritual Deepening Library: FAQs

Photo by Marta Rusek
Religious Education

The intention of the Spiritual Deepening Library collection of resources is to bring the full depth, joy, and fire of Quaker faith and practice to our daily lives, to our meetings, and to those who come to our meeting as seekers. 

The Spiritual Deepening Library goals include:

  • Fostering the development of a deeper and more connected spiritual community over time and supporting personal spiritual deepening.

  • Offering newcomers a path into the Quaker way and the life of a meeting, as well as nurturing and supporting the transformative Quaker experience for all.

 

What is 'spiritual deepening'?

Within meetings, going deeper might mean knowing one another and ourselves better and having more intimate bonds of connection.  Worship may be more grounded and the meeting might be better equipped to support Friends in discernment, pastoral care, and exploring their spiritual journeys.

For individuals, to go deeper in a spiritual practice may allow for a strengthened relationship with the Holy and a greater ease in settling into worship and hearing the still small voice.  The experience of sharing within a Spiritual Deepening discussion can spark curiosity, learning, enthusiasm, and engagement in one's faith life.

 

Who is the Spiritual Deepening Library for?

The Spiritual Deepening Library contents invite newcomers, individual Friends, and meetings to explore how Quaker spiritual practice can transform lives and take us deeper in the life of the Spirit.  The materials are designed for people of all ages and at all stages of their spiritual journey.  We encourage meetings to experiment with intergenerational Spiritual Deepening activities and to invite newcomers and Quakers to come together for mutual learning and relationship building. The content is accessible for all ages.  Each topic has exercises for grounding, sharing, and practicing for kids, adults, and some for all ages together.

Individuals may find exercises in the Spiritual Deepening Library to use during a personal spiritual practice.

 

Can the content be used for Religious Education?

Yes, the Library materials can become the foundation of a meeting’s Religious Education for either (or both) adults and First Day School.  The program can also be separate from or supportive to Religious Education.

 

We already have a Bible Study group, a newcomers group, and a Learning Quakerism group.  How is the Spiritual Deepening group unique? 

We know that very few meetings have a systematic, intergenerational program in place in which all meeting members, attenders, and seekers can learn together about Quaker faith and practice.  Many meetings have expressed a desire for this learning and also for ways to share spiritual journeys with one another.  The Spiritual Deepening Library activities are designed to speak to the condition of Friends and newcomers.  The Library is not the only answer to our deep longing, but is one possibility, one piece of the puzzle.  The Spiritual Deepening exercises offer opportunities for learning, sharing, and growing together and in one’s individual faith journey.  If your meeting has practices that have helped you learn, grown, and share together, you may choose to share those practices through the Spiritual Deepening Library to help support and enrich others.

 

How will the Spiritual Deepening Activities affect the meeting?

Those who participate will form a connection with one another and that will impact the overall dynamic of the meeting.  The experience of an enriched understanding of Quaker practices and thought may lead to a more grounded experience of worship.  Sharing intergenerational exercises can build relationships and strengthen the community life for the whole meeting.

 

Can the materials be reused?

Yes, the materials are designed to be cyclical so that when Friends repeat a topic the experience will be different, similar to how we experience the seasons from one year to the next.  One woman who participated in a pilot group said that the content was so rich that she would happily do the program again because she knew it would continue to speak to her condition as her life changed.

 

What is the role and responsibility of a facilitator?  How will facilitators be trained and supported?

The Spiritual Deepening Library activities will be led by individuals from the meeting and a meeting may have one, two, or many Spiritual Deepening facilitators.  The orientation for facilitators is primarily online -- there are resources to explore, including a few videos, and each facilitator is invited to attend ongoing support webinars with FGC staff and volunteers.

To offer this ongoing support for facilitators, FGC hosts a series of video conference calls on topics of interest to the leaders, such as sharing strategies for using the materials, facilitating deep conversations, incorporating newcomers into the groups, and so on. 

 

What is the difference between the Spiritual Deepening Library and the eRetreats?

The Spiritual Deepening Library is a collection of exercises, resources, and discussion questions that are available to be used by Quaker meetings and individuals in in-person small groups, with children, or as a whole meeting.

The topics and some activities from the Library have been adapted into 4-week online eRetreats through which newcomers, isolated Friends, and individuals come together to build spiritual community online. 

 

 

 

“As a result of these sessions I feel good. Just good, like it was the best choice to make to have been a part of this.”

 - Spiritual Deepening small group participant