Thursday, March 1, 2007

Activities at the Gathering

What will happen at Great Waters?
Worship; worship sharing; interest groups and workshops; ritual; get-to-know you activities; fun and games; large-group discussions about Quaker Paganism/Pagan Quakerism; potluck meals together, as well as a potluck with Ann Arbor Friends Meeting; Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business; spending time with Ann Arbor Friends during their regular First Day (Sunday) activities; a No-Talent-Required-Show; and more.

Quaker Meeting for Worship.
We will meet for worship in the unprogrammed tradition. What is Friends' worship? Below are some resources from Friends General Conference. While some of these are from what may seem to non-Christians to be a narrowly Judeo-Christian point of view, please don't let that keep you from their wisdom. In addition, I am hoping some Pagan Friends will step forward to share their experiences on this site.
~ Enriching Meeting for Worship, from FGC's "A Quaker Toolbox."
~ The Quakers, or, Our Neighbors, the Friends, by William J. Whalen.
~ Friends and Worship, by Douglas V. Steere.
~ Silent Worship and Quaker Values, by Marsha D. Holliday. "What to expect at Friends' worship."
~ Helping Prepare Teenagers and Children for Meeting for Worship, by Margaret Kantranides.

Worship sharing.
In the spirit of worship, but a little less formal than Meeting for Worship; often based on a query or series of queries.
~ Worship Sharing, from FGC's "A Quaker Toolbox."

Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business.
How Friends do business within Meetings.
~ Quaker Business Basics, from FGC's "A Quaker Toolbox."

Interest Groups and Workshops.
Do you have a workshop you'd like to offer, or is there a workshop you hope someone else will offer? Let us know! (Leave a comment!) So far, some of our workshop ideas include sustainability, singing, a trip to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, what does it mean to be a Quaker Pagan/Pagan Quaker?, semi-programmed worship: where Quaker worship and pagan ritual come together, handwork in the Light/handwork ministry and magic, a walk in the Arb (Nichols Arboretum)... and more. What would help deepen your spiritual practice as a Quagan? What would help you feel part of a community of others who share both your Quakerism and your Paganism?

Many Pagan traditions share ritual and/or magic* as a form of worship. One example of a generic ritual structure would be: cleansing space and setting aside ordinary time, space, and worries; marking sacred space; welcoming the earth, air, fire, water, and spirit essential to life; welcoming the Divine; setting an intention (which could be as simple as experiencing the Divine); creating a symbolic representation of that intent; raising energy towards it; grounding the energy that's been raised; making a commitment to a concrete action in support of that intention; quiet time/ trance/ meditation time; sharing food and drink; thanking the earth, air, fire, water, spirit, and Divine presence; and re-entering ordinary consciousness.
* Dion Fortune and Starhawk both discuss/define magic as "the art of changing consciousness [or, the art of creating a change in consciousness] in accordance with will."

Get-to-know-you activities.
A Big Wind Blows, anyone? Okay, maybe we'll play A Big Wind Blows, maybe not. But you get the idea. We will spend some time getting to know each other in some non-threatening, not-too-personal, physically accessible, lighthearted, fun, silly and even serious ways.

Fun and Games.
Literally. Bring your favorite game -- board game, movement game, almost any kind of family-friendly game -- for our Fun and Games night.

Our lunch and dinner options are eating out, or potlucking together. On Sunday, we will also participate in Ann Arbor Friends Meeting's monthly potluck. (Jen, as you're on Potluck Committee for AAFM, is there anything you'd like to share?)

Read or tell a story, sing with some friends or by yourself, dance, tell a joke, do a skit, recite poetry, read something you've written... Some talent-sharing (or talent show, or no-talent show) offerings from other Gatherings that come to this writer's mind include: reading a favorite children's story, singing new versions of "Simple Gifts," leading a group song, stories, small groups singing both serious and silly things, little kids making fun of grownups, a dialog between Simple Life and Radiant Faith, a dialog between Prudence and Simplicity, three younglings singing FLGBTQC's new name to the tune of "ABC"... I'm sure other Friends can help me out here.

Spending time together... building and celebrating community.
Most of all, we will spend time together, in a space where each of us is 100% welcomed as a Pagan and as a Friend, where we can celebrate and enjoy being with each other.

A note
Our Gathering will not be comprehensively inclusive of all traditions with Quakerism or Paganism. (In fact, there's no way it can be.)

In terms of Quakerism, those of us involved in planning and supporting this Gathering come primarily, although not exclusively, from the unprogrammed Quaker tradition and are part of Friends General Conference. In terms of Paganism, we come from very different traditions -- some very structured, some very egalitarian, some feminist, some eclectic, some ecstatic; and I know I'm leaving many out.

I hope more of the folks involved in planning and supporting this Gathering will add their own voices to the posts about this Gathering.

Yours in Friendship,
Blessed be,
Sta┼Ťa Morgan-Appel

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