Categories
Quaker Practice

Speaking in Silent Worship

Years ago, when I went to my first Quaker Meeting, a friend told me to just sit and listen. It was a large Meeting, and the silence was powerful. Yet several individuals rose and spoke from the heart during the worship hour. Later I asked my Quaker friend whether she spoke in Meeting. Rarely, she said.  She had been taught to stand and speak “only if what you have to say moves you so deeply, you just can’t stay in your seat.”

Categories
Meeting Community

What Keeps Us from Committing to the Quaker Way of Life?

When Reno Friends gathered for a spirituality workshop last month, one of the most revealing questions to the group was “What keeps you from committing your life more deeply to Friends’ practices and the Quaker Way of life?”

Categories
Meeting Community

What Draws You to Quakerism?

The first time people attend a Quaker Meeting, they often find Silent Worship mystifying. It looks like nothing is happening, and that there’s no apparent reason why everyone has gathered. There’s no minister guiding the worship, no liturgy lending structure, no music filling the soul. There are just Friends, each head down in her or his own private silence.

Categories
Quaker Practice

Radical Quakerism: From Roots to Shoots to Fruits

On May 2, Reno Friends will gather for a day-long workshop on Radical Quakerism led by Kathy and Bob Runyan from Quaker Center in Ben Lomond, California. The Quaker Center’s  mission is “to nurture the spiritual growth and faithfulness of Friends and others while strengthening Quakerism and its witness in the world.” Bob and Kathy have developed this workshop for Friends Meetings around California and Nevada.

Categories
Quaker Testimonies

Harmony with Nature

When I look out on our beautiful Sierra Nevada this winter, I worry. Even with the late February snowfall, there will likely be little snowpack to sustain trees and wildlife through the coming summer, extending the drought of the past few years. And that makes me wonder if I’m doing all I can to help protect the remarkable blue planet that is our home.

Categories
Quaker Testimonies

Finding an Alternative Path for Those Who Live With Violence

Several years ago, Reno Friends Meeting decided to dedicate most of its charitable giving to the Nevada Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), a group of volunteers who go into Nevada prisons to lead non-violence workshops for inmates.

Categories
Quaker Practice

Seekers and Seeking

Quaker Meetings often attract seekers, those who yearn for the mystery and comfort of a spiritual life but who haven’t yet found their spiritual home.  There is something about the open silence of unprogammed Silent Worship that seekers find welcoming, even liberating.  There is no sermon, no lectionary, no spiritual music, so each person can experience the silence in whatever way helps her or him feel and understand the mystery of God.

Categories
Quaker Practice

Simplicity at Christmas

Many who visit Friends Meetings wonder if Quakers celebrate Christmas. It’s a good question: because we worship in silence, without a traditional worship program, there’s no structured role for the Christmas story or hymns and carols.

Categories
Quaker Testimonies

Reno Friends, Welcoming One and All

Our Quaker Meeting House may be small, but its heart is big.  Since its founding in 1994, Reno Monthly Meeting has welcomed the LGBT community. We celebrate the recent federal appeals court ruling that paved the way for same-sex marriages in Nevada,  and we cheer when national figures like Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook feel free to profess that they are gay. I was particularly moved by the words Cook chose as he made his announcement late last month:  “I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.

Categories
Quaker Testimonies

Personal Simplicity: A Complicated Idea

If there was ever a time to seriously consider the Friends’ Simplicity Testimony, that time is now.  Technological changes and modernity have brought a dizzying array of media, personalities and international events to our digital doorsteps.  New gadgets complicate things we thought we understood, like our television sets and phones.  New channels of communication and entertainment open daily, cluttering our lives with more things we never knew we lacked.