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The Newsletter of the School of the Spirit Ministry                                                   Fall/Winter 2010-2011

In this issue

A Query for Christmas

Growing Together in the Light

Fall Appeal

Teacher Search

Nancy Bieber on Decision Making and Spiritual Discernment

Calendar 2011
Volunteers 2011
Other News

Calendar 2011

January 14 - 17  
Dwelling Deep A Silent Retreat, at Powell House

New! April 29 - May 1 
SotS at Caln Quarter's (Philadelphia Yearly Meeting) Family Weekend
A workshop introducing the gift of Spiritual Nurture
(Specific times tba)

June 17 - 20  
Living from the Divine Center A Contemplative Retreat, at Powell House

Sept. 30 - Oct. 3
A Silent Retreat, at The St. Raphaela Center, Haverford, PA. 
For all who wish to experience a silent retreat, with a particular invitation to those who may be called to the facilitation of silent retreats. Registration materials will be available in early 2011.

Nov. 10 - 13
Spiritual Renewal Weekend, at the Franciscan Spiritual Center,
Aston, PA
For past SotS program participants. Registration materials will be available in the Spring, 2011.

Volunteers Thank you!

Charlie Ansell, Janis Ansell, Nan Bowles, John Carle, Linda Chidsey, Peter Chidsey, Angi York Crane, Len Crane, Lynn Drake, Matt Drake, Mickey Edgerton, Nancy Fennell, Marsha Green, Debbie Humphries, Lee Junker, Ralph Levering, Alison Levie, Bonnie Miller, David Miller, Carolyn Moon, Donald Moon, Anne Pomeroy, Karen Reixach, Deborah Shaw, Karen Stewart, Fran Taber, Ray Treadway, Marian van Dellen, Michael Wajda, Lloyd Lee Wilson, Susan Wilson

Other News

Testing the Waters
Please let us know if your meeting would like to host a Testing the Waters retreat sometime in the second half of 2011 or early 2012 as SotS plans for the next class of the Spiritual Nurturer program. Please note the new event added in the calendar (above).

Spiritual Accountability

Intending to nurture Friends' faithfulness, three offerings on spiritual accountability will be led by Marge Abbott, Noah Baker Merrill, Viv Hawkins, Laura Melly (elder), all from The Way of Ministry program, and Jim Lyons. 

For more information and registration, visit www.bhfh.org/qsp/.   These offerings are co-sponsored by the Quaker Studies Program, Woolman Hill, New England Yearly Meeting Ministry & Counsel Committee, and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting's Spiritual Formation Working Group. 


A Query for Christmas

It has been an important part of my spiritual journey to integrate my religious upbringing into my adult experience of the spiritual life. One such challenge along the road has been the virgin birth. It is a story that comes around at this time every year. I now can fully accept that story of the virgin birth and I look forward to more meaning being unfolded in the years ahead.  How could Mary conceive of the baby Jesus without being impregnated with Joseph’s seed? We Friends speak of “that of God in everyone.” This phrase held the key for me to unlock the virgin birth. Because it is God that has planted his seed in each one of us.  As a man, I have relished the experience of laying aside my gender and seeing myself as Mary, and each one of us as a Mary, nurturing the Christ-child within and supporting one another in that care. How solicitous we all are when we see a pregnant woman. We open the door, we offer a seat, we offer a glass of water. We gaze in wonder. Am I as solicitous of each person, offering such hospitality with the deepest humility and compassion, in the knowing that each one of us is bringing a Christ-child into the world?

Blessings this season, Mike Green

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"Growing Together in the Light"

[Will Taber, a New England Friend, member of Fresh Pond Meeting, and recent participant in The Way of Ministry program, writes the blog Growing Together in the Light. With his permission we share with you part of recent posting.]

The key to the spiritual life is to listen to the voice of God, the Divine, the Spirit, the Guide, whatever you call that still small voice that nudges you towards God. An important part of the spiritual journey is learning to recognize that voice and be able to distinguish its voice from all of the other, often much louder, voices within us. As Robert Barclay puts it, “It is the privilege of the Christian to know their Shepherd's voice.” This voice does not much care what we call it. It also does not care particularly about what mental constructs we create to make sense of it. What it wants is for us to pay attention to it. Sometimes it shows us our shortcomings and it expects that we will sit with that until we see the way forward to overcome these. Sometimes it shows us the nature of the other voices we hear so that we can learn which voice to follow. Listening transcends belief.

There seems to be a common distinction made by Friends between orthodoxy, right belief, and orthopraxis, right action. It is postulated that liberal Quakers are more interested in orthopraxis and the Orthodox and Evangelical Friends are more interested in orthodoxy. One such example is from C. Wess Daniels' article in Quaker Life on Convergent Friends.  I think that this distinction misses the core of what Quakerism is about. The core is not orthodoxy or orthopraxis, it is orthoakoe. What is orthoakoe? It is a word that I just made up which means right listening. According to the lexicon in Strong's Concordance, akoe means “hearing (the act, the sense, or the thing heard).” Since I don't know Greek, if any readers who have a knowledge of Greek have suggestions for a better word, I would be glad to hear them.

Growing Together in the Light, Dec. 2, 2010

Fall 2010 Appeal

Asking for money is not the easiest motion for Friends. But without energy captured in money we would not be able to carry on our work. So we ask you to consider a donation to the School of the Spirit Ministry.

We are so grateful to the many Friends who have served as volunteers with the ministry in the past year (see left for a list of our volunteers), as well as to our teachers and administrator. A teacher search, as announced above, cannot happen without supporting the travel of those we call into interview, as well as those called to serve on the search committee. We are also anticipating in 2011-2012, a full year between the current Spiritual Nurturer class and the next so that the new teaching team can integrate the new teacher, forming their blessed community by praying together, learning of each other's gifts, and how these are to be placed at the service of the curriculum for the next Spiritual Nurturer class. Funds will be needed to support these teachers during this preparatory year.

Your gift may be unrestricted, or you may restrict your gift to the Sandra Cronk Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund is a source of scholarship support for Friends who cannot afford the full cost of a program. The fund is particularly valuable these days, as Friends seek to nurture their spiritual lives in the face of a difficult economy.

If you are writing a check, make it out to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. On the note line, write “School of the Spirit.”  Please send your check c/o 1010 Wells St., Durham, NC 27707. If you wish to transfer stock or have other questions, please email us at info@schoolofthespirit.org. Thank you!

Go to the SotS website

Nancy Bieber on Decision Making and Spiritual Discernment


Nancy Bieber, former SotS board member and core teacher, is ecstatic about having her first book published, Decision Making and Spiritual Discernment: The Sacred Art of Finding Your Way (SkyLight Paths Publishing). 

In the book Nancy weaves together three essential aspects of Spirit-led decision making: 

Willingness ? being open to God’s wiisdom and love.

Attentiveness ? noticing what is true, disceerning the right path.

Responsiveness ? taking steps forward as thee way becomes clear.

Each chapter is enriched by practical spiritual exercises and with Nancy's permission we share one of those exercises with you here.

You can find out more about Nancy and how to purchase her book from her website.

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A Ministry of Prayer and Learning devoted to the School of the Spirit

serves the Religious Society of Friends throughout North America and is under the care of the Worship and Care Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

Your contribution will help us deliver our programs and provide them to Friends from all economic levels. Please write your check to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, earmarked for the School of the Spirit, and mail to the address below. Many thanks!

Phone: (919) 929-2339
Mail: 1010 Wells Street, Durham, NC 27707

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Document last modified on Tuesday, 14-Dec-2010 20:24:52 EST