Quaker insights in the context of ecological crisis

Gathered: A Community of Discernment

08/04/2020, 10:30 am - 11:30 am

at Bournville Quaker Meeting House, Bournville Birmingham

A study group held at Bournville Friends Meeting House on the second Wednesday morning of each month from 10.30 – 11.30 from October 2019 to June 2020. This month’s topic: Gathered: A Community of Discernment

The meetings will begin with around 20 minutes of Quaker worship, and then a further 40 minutes exploring how the ecological insight for the day can help us in our daily lives.

Tea and coffee from 10.15 and again afterwards.

Based on a nine-part framework devised by Stuart Masters, Senior Programme Leader for on-site learning at Woodbrooke.

All the sessions can be downloaded here.

This month – Gathered: A Community of Discernment

As we enter with tender sympathy into the joys and sorrows of each other’s lives, ready to give help and to receive it, our meeting can be a channel for God’s love and forgiveness. (Advices & Queries 18)

Although convincement has to begin with the individual, it inevitably leads us into community where the Kingdom of Heaven gathers us and catches us all, as in a net. The Quaker community is a community of discernment which aspires to offer a glimpse of Gospel Order and right relationship within the world. Our life together as a discerning community should be, in microcosm, what we envision for the whole creation. Some of the many dimensions of our corporate life together include being:

  • A community of revelation and healing – When we come together in worship and discernment, we seek to be a community of revelation, where the Spirit shows us our darkness and brings healing and new life in a way that goes beyond our individual practice.
  • A Community of diversity – When we come together in worship and discernment, we can benefit from a diversity of gifts, insights and experiences, that are not all available to us individually.
  • A community of experimentation – When we come together in worship and discernment, guided by divine leadings, we can experiment with new ways of living, relating and cooperating. These should move us in the direction of right relationship and Gospel Order.

Ecological Reflection

Our experience of living within a dynamic and evolving community can help us to appreciate our interdependence and interconnections. We can come to understand the value of each individual member, what contribution they bring, and how the whole can be something more than a simple sum of its parts. This can act as a helpful ecological model from which to learn. Although there is a danger that community comes to define itself in ways that are divisive and excludes others, at its best, a community can offer a specific and situated vision of right relationship in action. This is a potentially counter-cultural witness within a society that places so much emphasis on individualism.

Query

In what ways does your Quaker community model right relationship based on diversity, cooperation and interdependence? How can we expand our conception of community so that it includes all living things?

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Location
Bournville Quaker Meeting House
65 Linden Rd Bournville Birmingham B30 1JT

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