This year, Patapsco will be having a spiritual formation program to invite us, individually and together, into a deeper experience of God’s presence through devotional readings, spiritual community and individual spiritual practices. “Spiritual formation” can be understood as forming ourselves more fully into the persons, and the Meeting, God created us to be.
In spiritual formation programs, participants typically attend two meetings per month:
- a “large group” meeting of all participants in the Meeting to share reflections on a spiritual reading that all have chosen; and
- a “small group” spiritual friendship group—usually three to five people—who meet to share spiritual journeys and to support one another in spiritual practices.
In addition, each participant is expected to devote at least 15 minutes per day to a spiritual practice. Those who make this commitment are rewarded with a closer relationship with God and an opportunity to form deep spiritual friendships. More information on spiritual formation programs, including suggestions for readings and daily spiritual disciplines, can be found in the Baltimore Yearly Meeting pamphlet, or at http://quakerspiritualformation.org/.
On September 15, we had an informational session and found there was great interest. In that discussion, we realized it would help to listen to each other individually to get a clearer sense of what people were hoping for from what we might do. So on October 20, we held a listening session (sometimes called a “threshing session”) to do just that, focusing on these queries:
- what does your spirit hunger for?
- in our spiritual community, how can we help each other feed that hunger?
- what ways of sharing our spiritual journeys most speak to your condition?
Stay tuned for a report on that listening session. On November 17, at noon, we will convene again to find our way forward. In particular, we will decide when our large group will meet and what it will read or do, and we will decide how to form small spiritual friendship groups.
While commitment to participate regularly is a key element of the program, you are invited to participate even if you were unable to participate in the discussions so far. Please share your responses to the queries above using our contact form, along with any questions or comments you may have.
For more information on how listening sessions work, see our guidelines at http://goo.gl/GkyxRL.