A service of
A Quaker Ministry of Prayer and Learning devoted to
the School of the Spirit
School of the Spirit logo

School of the Spirit Home
Spiritual Nurturer Program
Reports & Newsletters
Latest Newsletter
Gifts of the Spirit
Contact School of the Spirit

Findng Quakers
Quaker Books & Video
Quaker Art Prints
What's New
Publishing at QuakerInfo.com
Latest Newsletter
Calendar of Yearly Meetings
About Us
Social Bookmarking

Ask Questions
Discuss Quakerism
Visit Our Forum


Search Bill Samuel's
Web Sites

News from the School of the Spirit Ministry 
April 2009
In This Issue
Testing the Waters at Gwynedd Friends
Friends' Practice of Group Spiritual Discernment
The Way of Ministry at Pendle Hill
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links
Dear Reader,

As reports from the Testing the Waters retreat in Alexandria and from the third residency of The Way of Ministry program attest in this Snapshots, we continue to be brought humbly into the Living Presence.  That deep silence in which we find surprisingly such little resistance is a beautiful teacher. 

As God continues to gather together the next class of the On Being a Spiritual Nurturer program, we announce in this newsletter another Testing the Waters retreat for those discerning whether they are led to apply to the program.  This day-long retreat will be held at Gwynedd Friends Meeting in Philadelphia on May 16. Please pass the word.

We also share with you Lee Junker's consideration of a practice central to Friends--group spiritual discernment.

We hold in the Light both those who are preparing their applications for submission to On Being a Spiritual Nurturer and also those who are approaching the last residency of The Way of Ministry program at the end of May.

The poetry of life is all about beginnings and endings--about goodbyes and hellos.

Michael Green
Testing the Waters Retreat at Gwynedd Friends in Philadelphia

Please post the following to your Meeting's listserv
and, if timely, newsletter. Thank you!

Testing the Waters

A Retreat Day
Facilitated by core teachers of the School of the Spirit Ministry

Saturday, May 16, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm at the Gwynedd Friends Meeting
in Philadelphia

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 practices of deep listening and of individual formation within community.

The program begins in September 2009 with an application deadline of May 25. Late applications may be considered. Scholarships are available.

Much more information about the program can be found at www.schoolofthespirit.org or by contacting Mike Green at (919) 929-2339 or info@schoolofthespirit.org.

Whatever Spirit felt led to do within me during my two years with you folks in the Spiritual Nurturer program, this Testing the Waters retreat expanded upon it in ways I will be living into for years to come.  It felt as if we were gathered and covered with a protective film within God's presence.  At Meeting for Worship the next day, the Meeting House was tingling. (Person-of-Presence, Testing the Waters at Alexandria and a past participant, On Being a Spiritual Nurturer)

Friends' Practice of Group Spiritual Discernment,  by Lee Junker

Early Friends were deeply rooted in the Bible and shared a belief in a transcendent Christ with whom they had a personal connection.  God was perceived as active in the world and accessible; each individual was capable of hearing and obeying in a way that went beyond conscience and reason.

Today, many contemporary, "liberal" Friends who have joined the Religious Society of Friends, come from a variety of religious backgrounds.  Some of these individuals have been wounded by their previous religious affiliations and are drawn to Friends because of our inclusivity and our belief in the universality of the Light. 

In our desire to be respectful and inclusive, we often avoid talking about our spiritual expectations and experiences; in addition we are hesitant to use spiritual language out of concern that others may find it hurtful.  Consequently, our expectations about discernment may be very different from one another depending upon how we perceive the Divine and our relationship to the Other.  Furthermore, in as much as we have disengaged ourselves from our Christian roots and at the same time failed to explore with one another our spiritual grounding, we may be in danger of undermining the bedrock of our faith community, group spiritual discernment.

Lee's complete essay may be read here.  Lee was a member of the sixth On Being a Spiritual Nurturer class, 2004-2006.

The Way of Ministry at Pendle Hill
[Some words from Katharine Jacobsen, an elder with the The Way of Ministry program, following upon the third residency.]

I seek here to give you a few somewhat more specific reflections on the residency from the point of view of one of the elders, one of the "midwives" who are so privileged to be part of this birthing process.  First, a few specifics:
1.  The human-wrought plan for the residency was so faithful to God's needs and will for the program, it was clearly Guided from the start.  When I review our annotated agenda for the residency now, I am AMAZED by the evidence of co-creation.
2.  The teachers who were consciously handing-over as much as they could to the elders, the participants, and the Teacher . . . and all responded as they could . . . paced this residency beautifully, allowing space and time for movement of the Spirit.
3.  Learning from the evaluations of prior residencies, they instituted a few new elements in the program which worked well and which they will explain in due course.
4.  Our Person of Presence was a gift in myriad ways.  There are no words to express fully what her presence meant to us.
All participants in residency 3 were touched deeply by the Spirit who/which did know our individual and collective conditions.  In various ways we all moved forward on the path to Surrender and we were so clearly accompanying each other, it took my breath away.  Not all of us would call the Power and Presence that knit us together the Living Jesus, as I do, but no one denies that that Power-and-Presence was there, especially as our time together came to an end.  We left each other in great tenderness, acknowledging that none of us will ever be the same, and are already reaching out to one another in new and loving ways by phone and e-mail.
Thank you for your prayers.

Avila The Avila Retreat Center

A photo of the Avila Retreat Center, north of Durham, NC, where the residencies of the 2007-08 On Being a Spiritual Nurturer program were held.  We shall return there in September for the eighth class.  The center was built in 1958 for Carmelite Nuns.  Extensive renovations have turned it into a quiet and vibrant retreat center.

River Dart 1
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

Home . Spiritual Nurturer Program . Gifts of the Spirit . Latest Newsletter . Reports & Newsletters
Contact School of the Spirit
At QuakerInfo.com: List of Articles . About Us . Home . Quaker Books . Quaker Art Prints

QuakerInfo.com Newsletter

We publish an occasional email newsletter that gives updates on the site plus news of Quakers. Your email address will be held in strict confidence. Subscribe by putting your email address in the box below and clicking on Subscribe. You will need to respond to a confirmation email.

Document last modified on Friday, 10-Apr-2009 11:58:05 EDT