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The Newsletter of the School of the Spirit Ministry                                                               Summer 2011
Atitlan for web

In this issue

Just Be with God

God and Creativity

The Call
Charley Basham

Quaker Spirituality and Addiction
Rita Willett

Poulenc's Oboe Sonata
Bruce Neumann and Mike Green

On Being a Spiritual Nurturer, 2012-2014

Carole Treadway
On her Retirement

Susan Wilson 
Our Newest Board Member

News Briefs
Calendar 2011

News Briefs

facebook logo 3


Yes, after deep searching, we are now on facebook. You can find us at facebook.com/


Silent Retreat

Come be with God in the silence, at the St. Rapahela Retreat Center in Haverford, PA, Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2011. Registration open, scholarhips available, early-bird desdline Aug. 31. Register

Nan's New Website

Nan Bowles (Spiritual Nurturer class, 2006-08) celebrates her art at her new website. There you can purchase greeting cards. 

Peter at ESR

We hold Peter Laughter (Spiritual Nurturer class, 2009-11) in the Light as he prepares to be a member of a panel on Quakers in Business at Earlham School of the Religion's Seeking the Core of Quaker Leadership conference later this month.

SnapShots Submissions
If you have an item you would like considered for the Fall 2011 newsletter, please make your submission to the editor by Oct. 31. Thanks.


Sept. 30 - Oct. 3

A Silent Retreat, at The St. Raphaela Center, Haverford, PA. Registration open. 

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

Fall 2011 - Spring 2012

Opportunities to meet and pray with the Spiritual Nurturer core teachers. For those discerning whether to apply for the next class. Dates and locations to be announced in mid-September. Join us on facebook for timely news.

Please note that the appearance of this newsletter will vary according to the settings of your web browser.

Just Be with God

At the end of September, Carolyn Moon (Gwynedd, PYM) and Linda Chidsey (Housatonic, NYYM) will lead a Silent Retreat in the manner of Friends at the St. Raphaela Retreat Center in Haverford, just outside Philadelphia. Their first encounters with listening for God in the silence took place many years ago. Carolyn recalls a conversation with Sonnie Cronk, one of the founding mothers of this ministry. Sonnie's comment to her was, "It is most important in the spiritual life just to be with God." Carolyn continues, "I have found that to be so true. Even though I make it a practice to do this in my daily spiritual practice, I have found that the extended Silent Retreats I have attended in the past seven years have given me time and space to go deep to just be with God, and listen to the stirrings in my soul that emerge. In such a fast-paced society it is an anchor and touchpoint in my ongoing journey."

Linda and Carolyn

Linda Chidsey and Carolyn Moon

Linda remembers her first experience with extended silence at a Quaker Studies retreat some 25 years ago. "My re-entry into the 'real world' after that weekend felt like a shock to my nervous system. Surely God did not intend us to live in the midst of such noise and distraction! That week I made a promise that I would continue, periodically, to take times of retirement from the customary pace of life in order to go inward to commune with God and with myself, letting go into the deeper rhythms of life.

"I can say that since that time, I have kept this promise through daily practice, occasional times of retreat, times of study. Sometimes I have been quite regular and disciplined; at other times, more easy-going and almost playful. And sometimes Iíve relied purely upon the grace of God. 

"Over time I have come to experience less difference between times apart and everyday life. Iíve come to see that the practice of silence gives rise to an inner stillness and a greater awareness of the Silence out of which a more compassionate and loving life may flow. I continue in that earlier promise and trust in the gifts that come."

Are you moved to experience the silence and practice retirement in your daily life? We invite you to St. Raphaela's, Sept. 30 - Oct. 3. Registration is capped at 25 and there are only a few spots left. Early-bird registration closes on Aug. 31. Significant scholarship assistance is available. 



God and Creativity

It is our experience in the Spiritual Nurturer program that when one gives over thine own will to be with God, we can not only listen to God more clearly, we are also more open to being moved by the Inward guide and teacher. This, we find, is a very creative space. Our dancing in that space takes many forms. We are often surprised and find God to be very daring. It is a testament to the trust established in the program that we dare to dance.

Below are three very different examples of dances that emerged during this last Spiritual Nurturer class (2009-11). 

The first is a play which was acted out during the final residency. Charley had never written a play before. She now invites you to read it in your own meeting.

The second is a workshop outline which challenges us to look at addiction through our Quaker faith and practice. Rita is open to being invited to offer this workshop at your meeting.

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Here are Rita and Charley conversing during the final residency of the On Being a Spiritual Nurturer program, May 2011

The third is of a performance by Bruce, a graduate of the Hartt School of Music. He had not taken out his oboe for many years. At the final residency, he and core teacher Mike Green performed Bach's Oboe Sonata in E flat. Here, they play the first movement of Poulenc's Oboe Sonata. The occasion was a potluck with Fresh Pond Friends at Bruce's home during a working retreat of the new core teaching team, Beckey Phipps, Patty Levering, and Mike Green.

Each is a gift of the Spirit.

The Call 

a play by Charley Basham

"The CallĒ is a play about a contemporary young adult Quaker who experiences being called to ministry among Friends. In her quest to be faithful to this call, she encounters misunderstanding, hurt, and anger, but she is also upheld by an elder in her meeting. She is also encouraged by ďvisitsĒ from Quaker women who traveled in the ministry during the Colonial era. The play raises questions about the nature of a call to ministry in our time and how meetings might provide nurture and support, especially for young people who experience this call. The play was produced as a final project for the 8th class of this ministry's On Being a Spiritual Nurturer program. It was done as readersí theatre with 8 people reading the parts of different characters. As they read they moved and acted the lines before an audience. 

Charley play for web
Ashley Wilcox (Freedom Friends Church, OR) as Anna and Mark Wutka (Atlanta Friends, SAYMA) as Samuel Bownas
Avila Retreat Center, May  20, 2011

The production takes approximately one hour and can either be done with an audience or it can be read aloud in a small group. In either case, it can be followed by a discussion about the topic. The script is available on the School of the Spirit Ministry's website for use by monthly or yearly meetings. For more information, please contact Charlotte (Charley) Basham (Chena Ridge Meeting, Alaska Friends Conference).

Quaker Spirituality and Addiction

by Rita Willett

Rita's presentation at the final residency of the On Being a Spiritual Nurturer program was poignant, opening many of us to a world we do not know, but surely is present somewhere in our meetings. In the workshop, she relates A Motherís Story:

"My own experience as the parent of a son with chaotic substance use includes grief, fear, guilt, shame, blame, anger, resentment, efforts to fix or control the problem . . . 

"Being Mom to a son with relapsing substance abuse is an experience of ongoing grief. At times, even when he was standing in front of me, I felt as if I had lost my child. When he was high or antagonistic, he seemed like a stranger, like someone possessed, someone I didnít really know. Other times, he was physically absent and relentlessly present in my heart and my mind. I grieved the first Christmas and the first birthday that I didnít celebrate with him. I 
Rita for web 5
grieved the loss of my dreams for him ? teachinng him to drive, knowing his first girlfriend, and sending him off to college." (Read more at the link below.)

Rita, a practicing physician, is a member of Richmond (VA) Friends Meeting. She is called to bring an awareness and understanding of addiction to Friends. If interested, please contact her.

Poulenc's Oboe Sonata (1st mvt.) Bruce Neumann and Mike Green                   

Bruce Mike 072811 3
Bruce on oboe, Mike at the piano, and many friends, 
both two-footed and four-legged!

On Being a Spiritual Nurturer

Sept. 2012 - May 2014

Is this next class going to be your opportunity to dance with God? Over the two years, we hope that you will:

ē become more able and desirous of living in a contemplative rhythm, with a deepened faith that God is at work in the world; 

? experience an expanded capacity to love and be compassionate towaard others, thereby residing in a deeper awareness of the blessed community, encouraging and living out the spiritual gifts given for the building up of that community; 

? gain better acquaintance withh and deeper appreciation for the Judeo-Christian faith and the alternative Christianity that Quakerism has to offer.

Read the Epistle of the 2009-2011 class. 

Residential dates at the Franciscan Spiritual Center in Aston, PA:

Year 1 

Wed. Sept. 12 - Mon. Sept. 17, 2012 

Thurs. Nov. 8 - Sun. Nov. 11, 2012 

Thurs. Feb. 7 - Sun. Feb. 10, 2013 

Wed. May 22 - Mon. May 27, 2013 

Year 2 

Wed. Sept. 11 - Mon. Sept. 16, 2013 

Thurs. Nov. 7 - Sun. Nov. 10, 2013 

Thurs. Feb. 6 - Sun. Feb. 9, 2014 

Wed. May 21 - Mon. May 26, 2014

A detailed prospectus and application will be posted to our website in mid-September, along with information about opportunities to meet the core teachers. Join us on facebook to know when this information is posted.

Mike Beckey Patty (web) 2

Core teachers: Mike Green, Beckey Phipps, and Patty Levering

Carole Treadway

On her Retirement

After 10 years and 4 Spiritual Nurturer classes as a core teacher, Carole retired in June. Her service was celebrated at a dinner in Greensboro (photo below) and a party following an SotS board meeting at which were over 30 Friends. She was presented with a Minute of Faithful Service, which was read out to those assembled and to her home meeting (Friendship Monthly Meeting) in Greensboro. Carole is the quintessential elder, deeply grounded in her faith. We are all grateful to have been taught by her giftedness.

Carole Celebration for web
Carole opening her framed Minute of Faithful Service with 
Patty Levering, Ray Treadway, and Mike Green looking on

Susan Wilson

Our Newest Board member

Susan SotS bio 2Susan Wilson is a graduate of the seventh class of the On Being a Spiritual Nurturer program and also serves on the Development Committee of the School of the Spirit Ministry. Convinced in 1987, she is currently a member of Rich Square Monthly Meeting, North Carolina Yearly Meeting conservative (NCYMc), in Woodland, NC. She has served in various capacities on the monthly and yearly meeting levels in NCYMc and occasionally serves as a traveling companion in the ministry. Susan lives into a call to contemplative life and prayer, and abbondanza* hospitality. She recently retired from a working life in biomedical research and looks forward to channeling her time and energies into the work of SotS. 

* From the Italian, meaning abundance, richness, wealth, affluence.

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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, 16-Aug-2011 21:26:21 EDT