Mike became a stay at home dad with the arrival of Kayla. We were active attenders at the Davidson Worship Group, frequently working with the kids program. This is where Mike began to identify as a Quaker, drawn to the process and practices as he learned more about them and was hooked by the sense of Spirit-filled community.
In Florida, our Quaker connections deepened and spread as our family grew with the addition of Erin, our second daughter, and Lisa, our first dog. We were active in Lake Wales Worship Group, a tiny quirky wonderful collection of people who met under a tree. We became members of St.
Petersburg Friends Meeting. Both Lake Wales and St. Petersburg were distant from us, so Sundays became days of travel, worship and play. We would often have a picnic lunch and then explore the natural areas with other families from the worship group. When we visited St.
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Petersburg Meeting a trip to the beach afterwards was a given. Their annual session was held over the Easter week at a Methodist conference center. There was a campground attached to the conference facilities and a number of families with young children camped and ate together. Mornings found us beneath the Spanish moss having meeting for worship with a concern for coffee and afternoons on ground tarps holding meeting for worship with a concern for naps.
Florida was also where we realized our affinity for working with youth: Mike through his day-to-day work; Chris as the neighborhood mom, home schooler science field trip coordinator, public school classroom volunteer, and member of the Friends of the Library. Wauchula was a small, rural yet diverse town where Catholic mass was said in English, Creole, and Spanish. Rich and poor neighborhoods were intermixed. Creationists outnumbered evolutionists. It was a Democratic town that voted overwhelmingly Republican in each election when we were there.
We were the only Quaker family and a bit of an oddity in many ways. Yet we were embraced by a number of the different communities that made up Wauchula. Like our time in Guatemala, it was an opportunity to open ourselves to cultures and people different than those we had grown up with. These experiences have proved invaluable in laying the foundation for our work in the Powell House youth program for the last two decades.
In collaboration with the youth participants we continually strive to create a space that is inclusive and whole. Over the years our understanding of what that means has both broadened and deepened. When we began our work here we had a lot of experience living and working with people of different ages, economic and ethnic backgrounds, and perspectives on faith and politics. Non-binary gender identity was not on our radar.
As our definition of inclusion has expanded, our vision of Quakerism has become more clearly focused. We experience it as a practice of presence and transformative love. We see the youth program as imbued with that. It is playful and serious. It is open and inclusive but does not tolerate bullying or apathy. It accepts us where we are yet challenges each of us to stretch and grow. It is strong enough and loving enough to reject fear and embrace what is real.
We believe it is possible to create these nurturing spaces in our monthly meetings, other Quaker bodies and beyond. We have some ideas for how to do that. What does it mean to be faithful among Friends?
This guided conversation will open a space to explore our basic understandings and experiences of living a life guided by Spirit. Together, we will ask: What is a leading?
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What does it mean to "test a leading? Why do these matter in community? Bring your questions and your curiosity to learn from one another. What do Quakers do in worship?
This guided conversation will open a space to explore our basic understandings and experiences of worship in its diverse forms. Together, we will ask: What makes Quaker worship different or similar to other traditions of worship? How do I know if I have a message? Are there rules?
Quaker Summer | FCNL
What do Quakers mean by "the Inner Light? What are some ways of describing different spiritual experiences among Friends? In what ways is this distinct to Quakers or like other traditions? How do Quakers make decisions? Find out more about Quaker work at the international level and witness the United Nations in action.
For all to year-olds who have a keen interest in international affairs and the United Nations. Summer School provides an introduction to the work of the United Nations, as seen through the programmes of the Quaker United Nations Office.
Emphasis is given to formal and informal discussion sessions so that the 25 Summer School participants can gain in-depth understanding of the issues at stake and the dynamics that shape work on these issues. A variety of learning techniques are employed, including lectures, small group discussions, role plays and workshops. There is a small amount of funding for bursaries available — please contact Helen Bradford for details.
To apply for the summer school please download the application and reference forms, and return these to helenb quaker. News and events News Events Yearly Meeting I'm a parent I work with children and young people in a Quaker setting