Let the group know that after centering for awhile in silent waiting worship, one of the facilitators will offer a guided meditation as a way of opening the group to a different and perhaps deeper experience of worship.
Presentation of Friends Meeting at Cambridge’s Beneficial Cycle
The Beneficial Cycle Proposes:
- Deepening Worship: That a community that intentionally works hard to continue to deepen its spiritual understandings and practices will naturally be enabled to bring increasing spiritual reach to the welcoming and integration of newcomers (and present participants) and will naturally practice more effective service in the world.
- Strengthening Community: That a community that more effectively welcomes and integrates newcomers (and effectively nourishes all community members) will naturally find itself with more participants for doing service in the world and will find itself with a larger reservoir of fresh viewpoints and deepening spiritual souls to participate in the entire work of the Meeting.
- Increasing Witness and Service: That a community that does service in the world more often, and more completely together, will naturally receive additional enriching spiritual experience, will naturally increase the effectiveness of its service in the world, will achieve more visibility in the world (attracting some to Quakerism), and will deepen personal relationships by knowing one another in the work of the Spirit.
- Divide the group into 2 circles. An inner circle carries its chairs inside the outer circle and each person sits across from another in the outer circle. Explain that the leader will mention a topic and each person will speak on that topic for 1 or 2 minutes. Call time. Then the leader will ask the second person to speak on the same topic. Repeat the topic. While one person speaks, the partner mostly listens.
- After the pair has spoken on a topic, ask the inner circle to stand up and everyone move one chair to their left. Now everyone has a new partner and the 2nd topic is introduced. Repeat for 4 rounds (or more if you wish).
- Gather everyone into a large group. Debrief. How did you like doing this? Did anyone find a topic especially difficult? What did you learn about yourself?
- Name a Quaker you admire and why.
- Describe what you do during Meeting for Worship
- Describe a time in worship that was particularly difficult and why.
- What ways does your meeting encourage deepening the spiritual practice?
- What do you enjoy about your Quaker community?
Small Groups on Deep Worship
An exercise in speaking, listening, & holding
- Gather into groups of three.
- Each person will in turn be a speaker a listener, and a holder (elder). Choose who will begin with what roles.
- Out of the silence the speaker will talk for 10 minutes, describing a time when they felt deep worship in their Meeting.
- The listener’s task is to actively engage with the speaker through eye contact, body language, and other verbal or non-verbal ways to be attentive.
- The holder’s task is to wrap the speaker and the listener in prayer, holding in the light, or whatever metaphor works to surround the two other people with loving care.
- When the speaker is finished, the listener will repeat back a short summary of what they heard. The holder will offer any observations they may have about the interaction.
- Rotate the roles until everyone has had a chance to be the speaker, listener, and holder.
Whole Group Reflection to Close
Come back together as a whole group in the spirit of worship, asking people to share insights that may have occurred to them during the last exercise or at anytime during the workshop.