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 Worship and Ministry Report

The Worship & Ministry Committee tends to the spiritual vitality of Downingtown Friends Meeting, striving to ensure that Meeting for Worship is a rich, meaningful experience, and that members and attenders are supported in their spiritual journeys.

To describe the work of this committee, its members have organized this information around four of the “Queries for a Spiritual Self-assessment of the Meeting” from the new Faith & Practice of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

1. What practices and strategies are employed by our meeting to help members and attenders of
all ages prepare for worship -- whether in meeting for worship or in meeting for business?

Opening Exercises is a prologue to Meeting for Worship. Topics for these 20-25 minute
programs are wide-ranging. They touch on many aspects of our spiritual journeys, often
resurfacing in Meeting for Worship or stimulating subsequent discussion among Friends.

Here’s a sampling of topics for Opening Exercises:

● Spiritual growth (QuakerSpeak on Meeting for Worship, spiritual nurturing during the holidays, unconventional New Year’s resolutions)
● Personal journeys (Good Works, Los Amigos School in Guatemala, a veterinarian’s life among
creatures great and small, wellness practices, Quakers of yore through a member’s family history, new mother’s letter to her unborn daughter, a Young Adult Friend’s Burma trek and service in a refugee school)
● Social justice (GunSense, Power)
● The Work of Meeting (First Day School, Fall Festival, Stewardship Committee, Outreach)
● Music Sunday (Hallelujah sing-along, young instrumentalists, hymn sings)

Other Meeting programs, while not sponsored by W&M, afford members and attenders multiple options for spiritual enrichment—Friendly BIble Study, Light Group (group meditation), and the Friendly Book Club.

2. What are the challenges to and opportunities for enhancing the worship of our meeting, and what are we doing to address these?

In the spirit of continuing education and inspiration, a member of the committee periodically emails to the DFM GoogleGroup excerpts from essays about worship and vocal ministry .

On the administrative side, the committee emailed members and attenders a reminder about Meeting for Worship protocol relative to late arrival, kids entering at 11:15, and cell phones.

3. What opportunities are provided to address topics important to deepening both personal spiritual journeys of members and the spiritual life of the meeting:

Five years ago, the Worship and Ministry Committee established the annual Brown Bag Discussion series featuring five or six one-hour presentations—about one per month from September to May—after the rise of Meeting. These Brown Bag Discussions meet at least one of these objectives:

1. Creates a spiritual experience
2. Affords a deeper understanding of our faith
3. Educates Friends on aspects of Quaker religious life
4. Illustrates how Friends translate faith into action
5. Informs Friends about Quaker organizations

Topics for these discussions have included:

Listening with the Heart
Introduction to the New Faith & Practice
Experience of Working with Interfaith Groups on Social Justice
Physical & Spiritual Stamina
Black Like Me: Living With Racism
Christians Caring for Creation
The Parables

The committee has had several discussions about encouraging members and attenders of Meeting to share their spiritual gifts. An example is one based on the April 2016 Friends Journal article “The 7 Habits of Effective Spiritual Nurturers.”

4. What is most needed to strengthen the communal witness of the meeting to the local
community and beyond?

Downingtown Friends Meeting has become involved in the local Interfaith Action Committee , an assemblage of religious communities including Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. The Worship and Ministry Committee actively supported this group by helping to organize a program about Quakerism at Downingtown Friends. Several committee members attended similar programs at the other faith sites.

Go to The Quaker Way to read about Quakerism before taking our Quakerism Orientation course.

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