Friends General Conference

Spiritual Deepening eRetreats:

Living into Wholeness


The Living into Wholeness eRetreat invites you to explore and practice what it means to live into Beloved Community, the ways we are called to recognize patterns of marginalization and exclusion and to act toward justice, and tools for transforming and vitalizing our meetings and communities.  

Week 1: Living into Wholeness

Week 2: Community Calls Us to Justice

Week 3: Patterns of Exclusion and Marginalization

Week 4: Tools for Transformation & Vitality

This eRetreat has been previously offered under the name Beloved Community.

Offered March 18 – April 12, 2019 (four weeks, $35 pay-as-led participation fee)    Weekly Community Building Calls (optional)

    More information and Registration at


Dear Friends,
Sadelle Wiltshire recently attended the Gathering and shared these plenary talks;

Rex Ambler: 

Living in Dark Times
Rex Ambler is a prolific Quaker author who has written about the inward teachings of George Fox (Truth of the Heart) and is perhaps best known for making the wisdom of early Friends accessible to Friends today. Two books – Light to live by and Seeing, Hearing, Knowing – Reflections on Experiment with Light – detail the practice of meditation which he had discovered in Early Friends, and suggest ways in which modern Friends could ‘experiment’ with the practice themselves, with a six-step guide to the meditation to help them through.  In the years that followed the publication of his book he was invited to introduce the practice, and the vision behind it, to many meetings in Britain, Europe, North America and Africa.  The practical workshops he presented became known as Experiment with Light, and the small groups set up in meetings to practice it became known as Light Groups. His most recent book is The Quaker Way: A Rediscovery in which Rex takes up the challenge of describing the Quaker way of life and at the same time making sense of it.  Rex asks the question, “What is really going on when Quakers sit in silence?” Rex has been a teacher and political theologian, helped to establish the Gandhi Foundation in Britain, and been active in Britain Yearly Meeting. His books spiral out from his personal experiences and influences, which include Gandhi’s work with the poor and oppressed, personal change in the face of crisis, and the value of meditation.
Information about Rex, which includes downloadable meditations:

Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds: 

Pursuing Justice Requires Boldness
Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds is an award-winning professor of law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law and the founding Director of the Community Justice Project, a civil rights legal clinic.  Dr. Levy-Pounds is also the President of the NAACP Minneapolis Chapter, a civil rights attorney, legal scholar, media personality, blogger, and nationally recognized expert on issues at the intersections of race, public policy, economic justice, public education, juvenile justice, and the criminal justice system. In 2015, she was named one of 40 Under 40 by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.  In 2014, she was named Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer and recognized as one of 50 under 50 Most Influential Law Professors of Color in the Country by Lawyers of Color magazine. She has a heart for the people and works toward achieving justice for those whose voices are often unheard within society.
Dr. Levy-Pounds’ website includes several of her podcasts on topics including black history, institutional racism, and criminal justice reform:
Barry Crossno’s message to Gathering is also available as a pdf to read and share.
in peace,

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Shocking Purple Flowers, Photo by Roger Vincent Jasaitis,

I’m inspired by Friends’ excitement. I’ve only been FGC’s Spiritual Deepening Coordinator for two months, and already I’ve heard from so many Friends about how excited they are to bring the Spiritual Deepening program to their meeting.

I know that many of you are eager to get started on outreach and building a deeper spiritual community in your meeting. I’m excited to share a few resources that you can use today:

  • Working on outreach? The Grow Our Meetings Toolkit includes resources and activities to help Friends at your meeting get to know each other and newcomers on a deeper level
  • Looking for an outside perspective?Check out FGC’s list of Friends willing to travel to help with outreach, conflict, mentoring a new meeting, and inclusion
  • Searching for Religious Education ideas? Start with activity pages for children, or explore the selection at QuakerBooks

These resources are made possible thanks to your generous financial support. Please consider donating today!

In the Spirit,

Rachel Ernst Stahlhut
Spiritual Deepening CoordinatorPS – You can also sign up for updates on the Spiritual Deepening Program, which will launch in the fall.

At the recent Friends General Conference, two Quakers active in the Transition movement gave an hour-long interview with Northern Spirit Radio‘s Mark Helpsmeet. This interview focuses on the what and why of Ruah Swnnerfelt’s (Burlington Friends Meeting) and Steve Chase’s (Putney Friends Meeting) local organizing work to create more resilient communities in the face of the challenges of peak oil, climate change, and a dysfunctional global economy. It also explores how they see this community organizing work being related to the social testimonies of their Quaker faith. Ruah, the former director of Quaker Earthcare Witness, is active in the Transition Charlotte initiative and Steve, the director of Antioch University’s environmental studies master’s program in Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability, is active in the Keene Transition movement. Steve is also the recent author of the Quaker Press book Letters To A Fellow Seeker: A Short Introduction To The Quaker Way.

People can listen to the interview here. Feel free to forward the link to the interview to friends and contacts, and please encourage them to post comments about the radio show on the web site. This will have the effect of increasing the rating of the show in terms of favorites, helping to maintain its visibility on the site as time goes on, and offer interesting food for thought for other people who might consider listening to the hour-long program.

Steve and Ruah are also the coordinators of the online Quakers in Transition project of the Earthcare Ministries Committee of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends. Enjoy this in-depth interview on links between Transition, faith, and action.

With Putney Friends Meeting members Sadie and Ellen Forsythe in attendance, PFM member Steve Chase gave a reading and talk about his new book Letters To A Fellow Seeker: A Short Introduction To The Quaker Way on July 5, 2012, at the Friends General Conference in Kingston, Rhode Island. Here is a short, five minute excerpt from his hour long author appearance at the FGC Bookstore. It is from the second letter in the book and focuses on the question “are Quakers Christian?”


Letters To A Fellow Seeker: A Short Introduction To The Quaker Way
A QuakerPress Publication
By Steve Chase | 6/07/12

In seven letters to a fictional correspondent, Putney Friends Meeting member Steve Chase describes his spiritual journey among Friends. The writer, a member of the national Quaker Quest travel team, introduces the Quaker way to a newcomer in language that is personal and gentle, while offering powerful inspiration through stories. Written as an invitation to inquirers, “Letters to a Fellow Seeker” will also stimulate discussion among new and longtime Friends about how we experience and remain true to our Quaker faith.

“In language that is simple, bold, and lovingly vulnerable, a contemporary Quaker reaches out to his neighbors asking, ‘Is this way yours, too?’ It is part testimony, part spiritual biography, part invitation, and part challenge.”

– Noah Baker Merrill, traveling Quaker minister (and PFM member)

At the 2010 Friends General Conference Gathering in Bowling Green, Ohio, PFM’s Noah Baker-Merrill read a piece that was recently published in the young adult Quaker anthology called Spirit Rising. Here is a video of Noah reading his piece, which is entitled “Dispatches From The Lamb’s War.”

PFM member Sadie Forsythe also has a piece in the anthology, as does her husband Chris Pifer. Sadie’s piece is entitled “Tokenism” and Chris’ piece is called “A Gathering Storm.” To order this book, with over 200 contributions by young adult Friends from around the world, go to Quaker Books.