Quick Quaker Talks: An Experiment at SF Friends Meeting

If you'd been to San Francisco Friends Meeting over the holidays, you'd have heard me announce that the meeting's Ministry and Oversight Committee is trying an experiment in January, tentatively entitled "Quick Quaker Talks." These will be brief discussions at the end of meeting for worship.

The plan is that for about 15 or 20 minutes following meeting for worship and announcements, a couple of experienced Quakers will give their take on some frequently asked Quaker questions—FAQQ! Then we'll have time for others to chime in with their experiences—and their questions. All are welcome.

My current plan is to kick off the series this Sunday (1/4) by asking, "How do Quakers know when to speak in meeting for worship?"

Though subject to change, here are the suggested future topics:
  • 1/11: Why do Quakers meet for silent worship rather than meditate alone?
  • 1/18: What do Quakers think of Jesus? Are Quakers Christian?
  • 1/25: What are the Quaker testimonies and what do they "testify" to, anyway?
It's our hope that this experiment will allow us to get to know one another, our spiritual lives, and our faith tradition a little better. Since it's an experiment, we can always change it "as Way opens."

Originally posted to San Francisco Meeting's email group. Essentially, we're doing "inreach" to our own meeting in a miniature version of the Quaker Quest series pioneered by London Friends, and now promoted in the U.S. by Friends General Conference.

Update, 1/6/09: We had seven people participate for the debut event. There was one person there for the first time, a Haverford student home on break in San Francisco who had been to our meeting a time or two, a person who had attended about a dozen meetings elsewhere, an attender from our meeting who's been coming for about two years or so, two members of Ministry and Oversight, and me. It was a good discussion, going far past the fifteen minutes alloted, probably more like 30 or 35. There was opportunity for sharing and discussion as well as questions. The one drawback: The potluck lunch was mostly gone by the time we were finished. Next time, we may plan to get food first, then have a discussion table. Either that or we talk quicker and end sooner.

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