Quaker insights in the context of ecological crisis

Gathered: A Community of Discernment

14/10/2020, 10:30 am - 11:30 am


Prior to lockdown, Bournville Meeting was hosting a monthly gathering on the second Wednesday of each month working its way through a nine-part series of study sessions entitled “Quaker Insights in the context of Ecological Crisis” devised by Stuart Masters of the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre. The March meeting was the sixth in the series.

We have decided to run the last three sessions on the second Wednesdays of October, November and December, as before from 10.30 to 11.30, but on zoom.  Details for the October 14th meeting appear below.  These sessions were attended by many Friends from a wide range of local meetings. Please feel free to join even if you have not been to any of the earlier sessions; it will be much easier by zoom than having to make a trip to Bournville Friends Meeting House!

If you are interested please e-mail bournville@centralenglandquakers.org.uk asking us to send you the login details.

The information below also gives you access to the booklet covering the whole series, but please remember that the sessions listed for April May and June, will now take place in October November and December, and on zoom, rather than at Bournville Meeting House.

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.

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.


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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