2011 QUAKER INQUIRERS GROUP

The Inquirers’ Group will be starting soon. This year, the format will change a bit. We will have fewer small group meetings in the evenings and some of the traditional topics will be the subject of Meeting for Learning on Sunday mornings after Meeting for Worship, so that everyone in Meeting is encouraged to attend.

We will most likely have our first small group meeting on a Monday or Thursday evening in mid-February. We will share our stories and questions. New attenders are especially encouraged to attend, but other Friends are always welcome. If you are interested in attending, please contact Joan Pine at joanormichael@yahoo.com or 847-492-0162.

The following are the topics generally covered in the Inquirer’s Group. Some of these topics will be discussed in Inquirers’ Group meetings in the evenings and some will be the subject of Meeting for Learning.

Sharing Our Stories and Questions
What spiritual paths have led us to the Religious Society of Friends? Where are we now in our spiritual journeys and what are we seeking? What questions about Friends do we hope to have answered in these sessions? How might Meeting support us in our spiritual journeys?

Worship in the Manner of Friends
Why is our worship “unprogrammed,” and what does that mean? How is Meeting for Worship different from meditation? What’s the difference between “giving a message” and “testifying,” “sharing your experience,” “offering your thoughts,” or just talking? How can individuals know if they have “received a message” or if they should share it? Why don’t we use choirs, organ, religious artifacts, or scholarly sermons? What opportunities do we offer for spiritual growth?

Beliefs of Friends
What do Quakers believe about the Divine? What words, images, concepts, and metaphors reflect Friends’ spiritual experiences? Are we “Christian?” How do we regard the Bible? Do we have sacraments like baptism or communion? In the absence of a theological creed, what unites Friends? How are “queries” used? What are participants’ experiences of the Divine?

Business and Decision Making
Why don’t Quakers have paid clergy? How are marriages and memorial services conducted? What are Clearness Committees? What is a “leading”? How does the work of the Meeting get done? How is our local Meeting organized? What is “First Day School?” What committees are open to attenders? What is a Monthly Meeting? How are Meeting for Worship and Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business related? How do consensus, unity, and “sense of the Meeting” differ? How are financial contributions received? What is the membership process?

Friends’ Testimonies
What is meant by a “testimony”? What are the traditional testimonies of Quakers and how did they arise? How were they practiced in the past, and how do contemporary Friends try to demonstrate them today? How can these testimonies further our personal spiritual practices? How can we use Quaker tradition to deepen and sustain our ability to live these principles?
What are some ways that we express our commitment to social justice?

The Wider World of Quakers
What is a “yearly meeting” and what does it do? How do we relate to other Quakers in the Chicago metro area and the nation? What are Friends General Conference, Pendle Hill, Friends Committee on National Legislation, AFSC, Friends World Committee, and QUNO, and what do they offer us? What is Friends Journal? How can you find Quaker Meetings in other locations?