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Meditation, Prayer, and Presence (Evening Section)(Online)

Exploring Spiritual Practices: Meditation, Prayer, and Presence (Evening Section)(Online)

Hosted by New England Quakers & Beacon Hill Friends House
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About Event

In this ten week online course led by Marcelle Martin, we’ll experiment with numerous approaches to meditation, prayer, and presence.  Through these experiments, we’ll seek to know more fully the nature of consciousness, our true self, and our connection to Spirit.   We’ll explore how mindfulness, awareness, and communion with the Divine affects not only our inner and outer lives, but radiates beyond us into the world. We will learn which spiritual practices are most suited to each of us at this time.  We will also explore how to make spiritual practices a more integrated part of our daily lives. We will be forming a vibrant community to go deeper together in our spiritual experience and explore the awesome mystery of our relationship to the divine.

A morning session of the course, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm Eastern Time will also be offered.

To watch at six minute video answering frequently asked questions about the course, go here. 

Our online class time will include brief presentations by Marcelle, experiencing different spiritual practices, sharing in pairs and groups, and class discussion.  Most of all, it will involve experimenting with various forms of meditation, prayer, and presence. No particular beliefs in God or prayer are required, only a willingness to earnestly try different kinds of practices, notice what we experience, and listen respectfully to the experiences and beliefs shared by others.

Please note: Registration closes September 13.

Our basic text is Patricia Loring, Listening Spirituality, Volume I: Personal Spiritual Practices Among Friends (available in many meeting libraries and from QuakerBooks). We will also discuss the Pendle Hill pamphlet Holding One Another in the Light, by Marcelle Martin.

The Exploring Spiritual Practices course fulfills a requirement to apply for the 2022-2023 Nurturing Faithfulness course, which will be offered at Woolman Hill Retreat Center and online starting in September 2022. There are other ways to fulfill that same requirement, including a weekend retreat or other classes, programs of study, or equivalent experience of a variety of spiritual practices. For more information about the Nurturing Faithfulness program, go to:


(Sept 7) The Divine Invitation; Mindfulness (Breath); Spiritual Longing; Prayer of Gratitude; Journal Writing; Spiritual Community. This webinar is open to all.

  • (Sept 14) Tech Introduction for those who need Tech Help. Writing and responding to Self-Introductions on the course website.

  • (Sept 21) Welcome to the Community; Devotional Reading; Mindfulness (Body), Praying with Scripture Stories; Examen; Partners.

  • (Sept 28) Intention; Seasons in Prayer; Mindfulness (Emotions); Divided Self; Transformation of Will; Preformulated Prayer; Experiment with Light meditation.

  • (Oct 5) Spontaneous Prayer; Prayer of Petition; Intercessory Prayer; Prayer and Activism; Prayer and the Powers. 

  • (Oct 12) Images, Icons, and Idols; Prayer of the Heart; Chanting.

  • (Oct 19) Body Prayer; Body Awareness; Witnessing; Walking Meditation. 

  • (Oct 26) Centering Prayer; Unceasing Prayer; Walking Prayer 

  • (Nov 2) Self-knowledge; Confession; Resting in Awareness; Contemplative Prayer; Lectio Divina. 

  • (Nov 9) A Transformed and Transforming Life as Prayer.

  • (Nov 16) Sharing Reflections from the Term; Blessings

Spiritual Practice Those who take the course are encouraged to make time for regular daily spiritual practice of twenty minutes or more. During this time, you might explore different practices each week.  In addition, each person is encouraged to attend a meeting for worship each week (online or in person) and, as time allows, to visit other online or in-person opportunities for various kinds of spiritual practice.

Prayer Partners Course participants are encouraged to meet once a week outside of class with a small group or prayer partner (via telephone, Zoom, or in-person meetings arranged by you).  This is a time to share with each other your experiences of trying out the forms of prayer taught in class, and a time to hold each other in the Light.

Reading     Most weeks a chapter of the basic text will be given as homework to read in advance.  For those with the time, ability, and desire to read more, supplemental texts will be suggested. 

Basic Texts: 

Loring, Patricia, Listening Spirituality, Vol I: Personal Spiritual Practices Among Friends.

Martin, Marcelle, Holding One Another in the Light, Pendle Hill pamphlet #385.

Journal     Course participants are strongly encouraged to keep a journal.  Queries are offered for reflection and journal writing during class and outside of class.  The journal can be a good resource for your reflections at the end of the term.

Presentation     During the final session, you will be invited to share a reflection about your experience and insights during the course.  Some may choose an alternate way to share their reflections, such as artwork or short video.

Being Community to One Another     The class will become a community in which we enter more deeply into relationship with the Divine through exploring meditation, prayer, and presence.  Our ways of understanding and expressing what we experience will vary.  We will support each other with deep, respectful listening, engaging in spiritual practices together, and holding one another in the Light.

Additional and Suggested Readings include:

  • Ambler, Rex, Light to Live By.

  • Bourgeault, Cynthia, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening.

  • Coleman, Daniel P., Presence and Process.

  • Kelly, Thomas, Reality of the Spiritual World.

    About Marcelle Martin, core teacher: Marcelle is the author of Our Life is Love: the Quaker Spiritual Journey (Inner Light Books, 2016) and a member of Swarthmore Monthly Meeting (PA). She has led workshops at retreat centers and Quaker meetings across the United States, with a call to help nurture the spiritual vitality and radical faithfulness of Friends and Quakerism today.  She was the resident Quaker Studies teacher at Pendle Hill for four years, and was a core teacher in the School of the Spirit program, The Way of Ministry.  She is the author of the Pendle Hill pamphlets Invitation to a Deeper Communion and Holding One Another in the Light.  In 2013 she was the Mullen Writing Fellow at Earlham School of Religion while working on her book. On her blog, A Whole Heart, she writes about spirituality today, taking inspiration from the past to help us find the courage to become all God has created us to be in our day. Visit her website at