News from the School of the Spirit Ministry
March is a very active month for the School of the Spirit Ministry. So I invite your prayers for:
the Fundraising Steering Committee which will meet for their opening retreat March 11-13 -- may their time together and the work on which they are embarking be guided by the Holy Spirit;
the core teachers of the Spiritual Nurturer program and all those who will join their Q&A call in on March 15 -- may their listening and words invite all to the Inward Teacher;
all those who will attend The Way of Ministry program's third residency at Pendle Hill, March 18-22 -- may all hearts be opened;
all those who will attend the Testing the Waters retreat at Alexandria Friends on March 28 -- may way open for all who are seeking God's abiding love.
In this Snapshots, we celebrate John Carle's ministry with children and the life of Marti Guenin, a member of the 2006 class of the Spiritual Nurturer program. I also invite you to copy announcements (see below) for the upcoming Q&A Call In and the Testing the Waters retreat and place them on your Meeting's listserv and into your Meeting's newsletter. Thanks!
|For Your Meeting's Listserv and Newsletter
Please post the following to your Meeting's listserv and, if timely, newsletter. Thank you!
* * * * * A School of the Spirit Ministry Q&A Call In
Sunday, March 15, beginning at 7 p.m. (EST)
Have you been curious about the School of the Spirit Ministry? How its programs serve the Religious Society of Friends? Whether now is the time for you to take one of its programs? Then join the core teachers of the Spiritual Nurturer program in this question and answer call in.
Call (404) 920-6699 and enter code 957 156 4493 #
* * * * *
Testing the Waters
A Retreat Day
Saturday, March 28, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm at the Alexandria Friends Meeting
This retreat day will be facilitated by the core teachers of the School
of the Spirit Ministry's program "On Being a Spiritual Nurturer." The
retreat day is intended for those discerning whether they are led to
apply to the two-year program beginning in September 2009. Friends
seeking a short retreat are also very welcome. There is a requested $25
donation at the door.
The program "On Being a Spiritual Nurturer," now gathering its eighth
class from across the country, is designed for those led to pay
particular attention to God's transforming, guiding, and healing work.
The program is grounded in the traditional Quaker practice of deep
listening and of individual formation within community. Much more
information about the program can be found at www.schoolofthespirit.org
or by calling Mike Green at (919) 929-2339.
|From 'Centering and Settling into the Silence' with Quaker Children (Ages 7-12)
by John Carle
[This is an extract from John's first research paper as a member of the Spiritual Nurturer program, class of 2008. This section describes a first-day school class to help children learn about silence and centering.]
loud: Abby Hadley's, We're Going to
Meeting for Worship
In the story that was just read, what caught your attention?
("It was funny when he
looked around to see if someone was sleeping." "I liked that he thought about a
Everyone here has gone into the
Meeting Room at the end of worship for about 10 minutes, right?. What do you
think has been happening in the Meeting Room during the 50 minutes, while you
were out here in class?
("The adults are sitting."
"They're sleeping." "They're waiting for God to talk to them - individually."
"If God talks to them, they will get up and tell everyone else what God said."
If they are really bored or
constantly falling asleep, do you honestly think they would keep coming back to
Meeting each week?
("No!" "Good point, John.")
Between the physical act of sitting
down, getting comfortable on the bench, closing their eyes and waiting with
God, a process is taking place. From the moment your parents and other Friends
decide where to sit, a process, or transition, begins. Everyone who is in the Meeting Room will feel
what goes on during this process differently, even if only slightly. In order for
you to experience what I am talking about, let's close our eyes and keep them
closed until I ask you a question.
I hear - I
I see - I
I do - I
Chinese Proverb (xiii)
What did you experience while you had your eyes closed? What did you see
("Animals - my pets." " A lot of things - all messed up." "Food!"
"The homework I have to do when I get home." "Which nail polish I'll pick for my
Have you ever seen a small globe with snow in it with a scene?
(Everyone had owned at
least one. They were described in detail!)
What do you do with it? How does it work?
("You turn it upside down
and the snow flies all over the place.")
Okay. Let's each of us shake the globe, put it on the table and describe
("It settles at the
bottom." "It takes awhile." "The snow gets deeper at the bottom." "You have to
hold it very still or some of the snow flies up again and you have to wait
until it settles down." "To keep the snow at the bottom, I have to be still,
calm, careful, treat it gently." "I gently put it back on the table and watch
it." "I don't hold it. If I held it, I would have to be concentrating very
hard. I would get tense and have a headache.")
Is the table part of the process of getting the snow to settle down?
("Yes, otherwise I wouldn't
be able to do it.")
Describe the steps involved from beginning to end.
("You pick it up and shake
it." "You put it back on the table." "You watch the snow settle." "Fall
Should we include falling asleep in the process?
("No. I was just fooling
What you just told us visually
describes what happens in Meeting for Worship when you sit down, close your
eyes and wait for God.
("I don't like to close my
eyes. There's too much going on in my brain.")
A Quaker Friend of mine doesn't
like to close her eyes either. She stares at the back of the bench in front of
her, or a spot on the floor. Would that work for you?
("I'll stare at a spot on
Generally, attending Meeting for Worship is
visually a similar process as shaking the snow globe and watching the snow
settle to the bottom. Walking into Meeting for Worship and sitting down is
represented by picking up the globe off the table. Shaking it and setting it
back down on the table is like taking in a deep breath and exhaling. The snow
flying all over the scene reminds us of all the thoughts that are going on in
our heads - like homework, food, family, pets or friends. The snow slowly,
quietly, settles into a resting position at the bottom of the globe, which
represents us waiting in a quiet place within for God. What might happen with
the globe next?
John's paper may be read in its entirety here. You can also view a file of pictures drawn by his FDS class.
|Remembering Marti Guenin
Those of us who participated in the
2006 class of On Being a Spiritual
Nurturer were particularly blessed to have known Marti Guenin. Although she died in January 2009, a short
year after her diagnosis of brain cancer, many of us can still hear her
infectious laughter and frequent, enthusiastic "Thanks be to God" echoing in
Marti had a wonderful sense of
humor, an active curiosity and openness to new experiences which led her to
many new places, both geographic and intellectual. She was committed to the
wellbeing of the earth, was an enthusiastic supporter of the Heifer Project and
hoped to re-claim the family farm for non-profit use. She had a rich life of
accomplishment. She was an ordained
Methodist minister, a teacher of children with learning disabilities, and in
later life, an administrator at an institution of higher learning, as well as a
jazz aficionado. Over the time we knew
her, we learned of her deep compassion and caring for her elderly friend,
Virginia, who, Marti said taught her a great deal about aging. We also appreciated Marti's quiet caring for
each one of us: we learned at the end
the program, that before each residency, Marti had gone to each of our rooms
and said prayers of blessings.
But above all, we were nourished by
Marti's deep river of Spiritual grounding which was fed by her committed prayer
life. She was rooted in the Scriptures, in Christ, and intentionally chose a
celibate life as the best spiritual path for herself.
After the discovery of her brain
tumor, Marti shared with some of us how much she thought God had used the
Spiritual Nurturer program to prepare her for coping with her illness. Especially her experience of the silence of
Quaker worship helped, whether in dealing with an MRI or in finding deep inward
strength. Whatever helped her, the
courage with which she faced her dying inspired those with whom she shared that
Thanks be to God for you, Marti!From the Spiritual Nurturer program, class of 2006
|A Ministry of Prayer and Learning devoted to the School of the Spirit
is dedicated to all who wish to be more faithful listeners and responders to the inward work of Christ.
Donations are always welcome. Checks may be sent to the address below, made out to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
earmarked for the School of the Spirit.
A Ministry of Prayer and Learning devoted to the School of the Spirit is a ministry under the care of
the Worship and Care Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
the School of the Spirit Ministry | c/o 1306 Hillsborough Road | Chapel Hill | NC | 27516