Reading Quaker faith &Practice Chapter 2: Approaches to God – Worship & Prayer

Qf&P stones Chapter 2 Approaches to God - Worship & PrayerReading Quaker Faith & Practice Chapter 2: Approaches to God – Worship & Prayer

This chapter is one that most Quakers I’ve spoken to have dipped into.

Not surprisingly ‘Quakers and God’ is a continually popular Quaker Quest session.

There are four sections

  • Experience and nature of worship
  • Silent Waiting
  • Prayer
  • Meeting for Worship

and ninety-two passages, quite a lot to read in 31 days, but fourteen which contain the word “LIGHT” so they are in my current Qf&p journal. I reread through my journalling, and worked through the four remaining.

My word for 2016 is BELIEVE – I was interested to see that although BELIEVE appears ten times in Chapter 2, there are only three (2.24, 2.57 & 2.58) that also included LIGHT.

I’m looking forward to pondering and journalling on the remaining seven in this year’s journal.

  • Are you taking part in this reading project?
  • Is your meeting arranging a monthly discussion group?

This post is part of my Reading Quaker Faith & Practice series – click here for the introduction and explanation or here for all posts in this series.

‘Reading Quaker faith & practice’ conference at Woodbrooke

Woodbrooke Conference & Quaker Study centre

All area meetings in Britain have been invited to nominate a Friend to participate in the ‘Reading Quaker faith & practice‘ conference at Woodbrooke, 22nd to 24th April 2016.

The conference will provide an opportunity to:

  • Learn from one another’s experience of participating in the Reading Quaker faith & practice programme so far.
  • Gain ideas and resources for setting up and inspiring groups in meetings.
  • Share reflections and insights emerging from existing groups.
  • Understand more about the origins, purposes and development of the current book.

The conference welcomes participants from all area meetings, including those which have not yet decided to participate in the Reading Quaker faith & practice project.

Every Area meeting is being asked to nominate a Friend or attender who has one or more of these qualities:

  • is involved in an existing Reading Quaker faith & practice group
  • is willing to promote the programme around the area meeting
  • has a concern for spiritual learning in the area
  • will be able to communicate with others about what they have learned

If you would be interested in attending the conference on behalf of your area meeting, please talk to your AM clerk or nominations committee. For more information about the conference contact: qfp@quaker.org.uk

I have found the process of reading from a specific chapter and then discussing it with others (including members of my local meeting) such a benefit this year. Combined with my Qf&p journal it has been both inspiring and challenging.

 

Building a Fairer World

2015-08-18 banners at FH Trish Carn 2 watermarked

Copyright Trish Carn, used with permission


After all the long term struggles to get banners on Friends House with Camden council, I have so enjoyed seeing them go up – temporarily and now permanently. Such a good form of outreach and of brightening up the neighbourhood. Lovely to see them as I exit Euston station.

23.13 Seeking to live at all times in a divine order of life, Quakers have always counted social service part of Christianity. In fidelity to the genius of their inward experience, they have set themselves the task of developing their own spiritual sensitiveness to the light of truth; and have then resolutely confronted the unawakened conscience of the world with the demands of the new light, and have borne witness to it with undaunted patience.

This has resulted in progressive enlightenment for themselves, and in the slow but sure triumph of many of the causes of which they have become champions. The reform of the criminal law, the improvement of prisons, the suppression of the slave-trade and of the institution of slavery, the abolition of the opium traffic, the protection of native races, the repeal of the state regulation of vice, the emancipation of women, have all been powerfully helped to victory – however incomplete – by Quaker action on these lines, side by side with that of other noble-hearted reformers.

Other great ills, patent or latent in our civilisation, have yet to be overcome, perhaps have yet to be perceived; the old philanthropy has to deepen into something more vital if the full demands made by the teaching of Christ are to be obeyed; but the faithful following of the Light that illumines the alert conscience still seems to many of us the truest way for securing this deeper experience and for recognising and combating the evils that menace social and international life.

William Charles Braithwaite, 1919

During the discussions one of my groups has been having regarding reading Qf&p, the comment was made that short passages can spark inspiration, more than slogging through some of the longer passages.

I see where that is coming from – and some of my favourites are quite short. However, there is also a power in the slow unfolding of a message and the explanations of attitudes and theories.

This passage featured in several conversations around here over the last week. That last thought that ‘other great ills, patent or latent in our civilisation… have yet to be perceived….’ is one that stops me and haunts my thoughts.

What great ills are we not aware of, or have not yet started to struggle to overcome? Climate change? Housing inequality?

The ‘yet’ brings me hope for both the perceiving and the overcoming.

This post is part of my Reading Quaker Faith & Practice series – click here for the introduction and explanation or here for all posts in this series.

Everything can happen….

2015 09 26 everything is possible23.32 is one of my favourite passages – Ursula Franklin talks about the her enjoyment of sitting in silence at the beginning of meeting knowing that everything can happen.

It always makes me think of an encounter with a homeless ex-catholic priest while volunteering at the Quaker Centre at Friends House. A large part of the role is to meet the public and discuss aspects of Quaker beliefs and history with them.

Suddenly, in the middle of a personal history monologue, my visitor leant forward and putting an arm on the desk said earnestly,

“I have been meaning to ask you…. do you go to Meeting?”,

after I confirmed that I went most Sundays, he continued.

“So…. do you have miracles every Sunday?”

I don’t remember exactly what I said, something along the lines of ‘not every Sunday’. But ever since, that question has been mulled over on a regular basis. Remembering the idea of all days being created equal, I’ve felt the question could have easily been: “Do I have miracles happen every day?”

Maintaining that expectant waiting that I go into Meeting for Worship throughout the week would be tricky but I think returning to it regularly would also be worthwhile. Something to consider the next time the days start to blur together through work or family stresses.

So – what miracles have happened in your life?

Do you look for them?

This post is part of my Reading Quaker Faith & Practice series – click here for the introduction and explanation or here for all posts in this series.

Qf&p Chapter 23: Social Responsibility

2015 04 12 Qf&P stones Chapter 23

This chapter is the first in the calendar to read through.

It contains the following sections:

  • Faith in Action
  • Corporate Responsibility
  • Social Responsibility – poverty and house; slavery; torture; discrimination and disadvantage
  • The Individual and the Community – work and economic affairs; education
  • Friends and state authority – conscription; crime and punishment

Fifteen passages have the word ‘Light’ in and therefore are part of my current Qf&P journal.

I had already journalled several earlier in the year, but will be contemplating the remaining nine throughout this month. Exploring the chapter through discussion with my groups and reading through some of the other Quaker blog posts as well.

I’m looking forward to the reading, as this isn’t a chapter that is as heavily thumbed as some others – but with 103 passages, plus an afterword this is a full month of reading.

 

This post is part of my Reading Quaker Faith & Practice series – click here for the introduction and explanation or here for all posts in this series.

Qf&P journal

2015 03 07 Qf&P journal pagesI love delving into Quaker Faith & Practice (Qf&P) – or other books in a meaningful way over a specified period of time.

As I mentioned in the introduction to this series, this year I’ve been working through all of the entries that include the word ‘LIGHT’.

2015 08 18 morning quiet timeThe journal was created using the ARC binding system from Staples, using cardboard for the covers, and cardstock for the pages.

All decorated with pretty papers and other pieces to add interest. To find the passages, I used the on line version of Qf&P.

If you haven’t tried this version – the search process is such a great way to explore Qf&P. Especially for a specific word or topic.

Quotes were printed out on regular printer paper, before being trimmed out individually.

Decided on one quote per page, with a facing handwritten response. I decided to use a physical and hand made journal for several reasons.

  • 2015 09 09 Qf&P journal detailI find handwriting a very different experience to typing.
  • Definitely prefer handwriting on a lap-tray during my morning quiet time, rather than needing to use a computer.
  • I enjoy seeing the other entries as I flick through the album to my place, or peeping through behind other entries and quotes as I write.
  • I like the look of the various sizes and colours of pages or entries.
  • Being able to create pages in sections as I worked, made the planning and production easier for me.

 Research has shown that writing by hand connects to different parts of the brain, and helps to make connections.

2015 10 10 Qf&P journal pages I also like adding in the colours and patterns that have meaning to me or just make me happy. 

The journal also acts as a reminder to me during the process – as it sits on the bookcase in my bedroom, and will continue to do so once it is finished.

I have several of these sorts of creative journals or albums, some created for a specific project or course, and others just for fun.

Each is a good reminder of where I was in my personal and spiritual journey when it was created.

Combining this with the read through has been interesting – I’ve decided to ponder and journal on the remaining nine passages from Chapter 21 this month. Then, to continue doing this for the appropriate chapters, for the remainder of the time I’m using this journal.

This post is part of my Reading Quaker Faith & Practice series – click here for the introduction and explanation or here for all posts in this series.

Qf&P: Chapter Twenty One – Personal Journey

2015 04 12 Qf&P stones Chapter 21This chapter is the first in the calendar to read through.

It contains the following sections:

  • Youth – six passages
  • Knowing & accepting ourselves – fourteen passages
  • Living a full life – six passages
  • Creativity – sixteen passages
  • Getting older – five passages
  • Death – ten passages
  • Suffering and healing – fourteen passages

There are many here that I have annotated, circled or drawn lines beside, ones that have become part of my spiritual journey.

Twelve have the word ‘Light’ in and therefore are part of my current Qf&P journal.

I had already journalled about three earlier in the year, but will be using the remaining nine throughout this month.

This post is part of my Reading Quaker Faith & Practice series – click here for the introduction and explanation or here for all posts in this series.

Advices & Queries

2015 08 23 MfW stone circle with A&QFor many years I’ve chosen one passage from the first chapter – better known as ‘Advices & Queries’ to use as throughout the year. It is a very unassuming little book – given away by Quakers during outreach events and often handed to newcomers.

But the contents are amazing – there is a responsibility for each Area Meeting to ensure they are read regularly.

To remind me of my passage over the year – I’ve copied the Advice or Query (or occasionally two that seem linked to me) onto index cards, created physical or digital images to display in the house, and made bookmarks to ensure I think about the passage on a regular basis.

Living with a passage like this means you explore it in depth, finding new aspects and discovering new meanings as you ponder it over time. Creating an artistic project – such as the one below created with digital images, while holding such a passage in mind is part of the processes I explore in the Life Artistry course.

2013 A&Q 3 frame

Biograffiti frame. All papers & elements Amy Wolff

This post is part of my Reading Quaker Faith & Practice series – click here for the introduction and explanation or here for all posts in this series.

Reading through Quaker Faith & Practice – an introduction

2015 04 12 Qf&P stones 2From October 1st 2015 until April 2017, alongside many others, I will be taking part in a group reading through of Quaker Faith & Practice (Qf&P). I’m taking part in both on-line groups and discussions – plus a physical discussion group in my local meeting. I’ll share some of my thoughts and discoveries here too and welcome comments.

This project was suggested by the The Book of Discipline Revision Preparation Group who have worked with Quaker Life and Woodbrooke to prepare discussion material and a calendar of suggested readings.

I will be using some of the techniques I’ve developed for Life Artistry and those at the link above to explore Qf&P with my local group. In addition I’m looking forward to all of the discussions feeding into my own spiritual journey and seeing how this changes my usage of Quaker Faith & Practice.

2015-09-29 16.06.34Like most Quaker children I was given a copy of the current book of discipline at age 16.

Back then it was two volumes, ‘Church Government’ and ‘Christian Faith & Practice in the experience of the Society of Friends’.

Although I don’t usually write in other books, my copies tend to be annotated with comments and symbols, using bookmarks or tags for important passages – or ones I was planning to refer to when giving a talk.

I have copies of several editions of the current ‘Quaker Faith & Practice’ both physical and most recently as an ebook as well. It is referred to often and for this year (well before Yearly Meeting made the decision to consider if a new edition should be looked at) I’ve been reading through all of the passages that contain the word ‘LIGHT’ as that is the word I’ve been concentrating on and exploring this year. I choose a word every year and have done so for over a decade.

To find the rest of the posts in this series click on this link or on the Qf&P category in the right hand margin.