Tending the Spiritual Soil of Our Monthly Meetings



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Event Information

This will be a gathering of Friends in New England caring for the nurture of spiritual life and ministry in our local faith communities. We will worship, deepen our Quaker practice, share experiences among individuals and meetings and celebrate the various expressions of ministry and Quaker spiritual life in our midst. Whether you are new to Friends or have a lifelong concern for spiritual nurture, we invite you to attend! 

This will be a participatory day—you are invited to roll up your sleeves and dig into this lively and life-giving event.  We will learn from, support, inspire and challenge each other, by lifting up and examining those experiences that have borne fruit and given us spiritual nourishment. Using the metaphor of a garden, we will look at how we fertilize and enrich the soil, break up hard ground to clear space for new shoots and do companion planting for synergies to achieve the bountiful harvest for which we yearn. And yes, how we manage the compost pile of that which pruning that is sometimes required for that which no longer has life. 

Through worship, small group discussion, art, guided reflection and worship sharing, we will together explore the aspects of shared meeting life that support, enhance and enliven our spiritual life and the ministry among us. 

  • Do we effectively use resources and teaching to create fertile ground for ministry to arise?

  • Do we offer loving eldering to break up set ways of thinking and encourage new understandings?

  • Do we ‘walk with’ as companions on the journey so as to provide support at critical times?

  • Do we welcome and make space for the newcomer or the Friend sorting out that nudge that is not yet a clear leading?

  • Do we act on letting go of that which no longer feeds us, whether it has been valued for one season or many?

Gathering Schedule:

9:00      Welcoming Program

9:45      Brief break

9:50      Waiting worship

10:35   Brief break

10:45   Breakout groups, followed by worship sharing in the large group

12:00  Lunch with option for fellowship via Zoom

1:00     Interest Groups (see detailed descriptions below)

2:30 Brief break

2:45 Closing program, sharing, and worship

4:30 Gathering ends

We especially encourage multiple Friends from a meeting to attend. The shared experience will provide companions for each of you as you bring the fruit of new learnings back home, across New England.

This is the first of several planned seasonal gatherings. Future gatherings will engage with the call and challenge of public ministry and the relationship between the minister and the monthly meeting. You can read more about the vision for Spiritual Life and Ministry gatherings here. You are welcome to participate in one or all of these events.

As part of Saturday’s Tending the Spiritual Soil of Our Monthly Meetings gathering, we will be offering participants a choice of five interest groups in the afternoon (from 1:00pm-2:30pm). If you intend to join a group, please plan to arrive promptly so that the group leader can fully include you in the discussion or other activities.

Below is a description of each offering. The access information for each offering is at the bottom of this email. 

Group 1: Using Art to Capture the Wisdom from Our Experiences Tending the Soil with Maggie Nelson

Using the creative practice of your choice (drawing, collage, painting, etc), we will take time away from screen and reflect on how we can use visual art to express the wisdom each of us holds about how to tend the soil in our monthly meetings. Bring your favorite art materials. This will include sharing and solo creative time. Find out what rises! 

Group 2: A Discussion with Early Friends: Do They Have Something to Teach Us Today? with Marty Grundy

A look at the history of the early Friends movement: what drew people to join; the organic development of leaders, elders, ministers, and a structure. Then a quick overview of elders and why they were eliminated in the early 20th century and are cautiously reemerging today. What does this have to do with Friends in New England today and how we nurture meetings?

Group 3: Digging into the State of our “Soil”: The Richness of Recent State of Society Reports with Jennifer Hogue

How can we dig more deeply into “soil conditions” in our monthly meetings?  How can we better understand and tend the ground which nurtures our spiritual life?  Although State of Society reports can sometimes feel like a form without much life, Friends’ efforts to put the state of their spiritual life and ministry into words can be revealing and inspiring.  In this interest group, participants will have a chance to look closely at a collection of excerpts from recent State of Society reports from the member meetings of NEYM. There will be opportunities for both individual and participatory practice.  We’ll share connections, new insights, and challenges, and look for nuggets of wisdom to take home with us. 

Group 4: Contemplative Reflective Practices in Small Groups with Richard Lindo

During our time together, there will be two different breakout periods of randomized groups of three.  In each group, each person will be encouraged to deeply explore, through responses to repeating questions and shared monologues, their experiential understanding of selected themes that have arisen during the morning session.  This will then be followed by a period of open discussion among the three people.

Group 5: The Minister’s View of the Meeting with Brian Drayton

 A person with a concern for the ministry does most of his or her work in silence, watching with a spiritual eye both inwardly and outwardly. We will spend some time reflecting on 3 autobiographical episodes which illustrate this mind at work in particular situations.  This may open pathways to spiritual growth in ourselves and in our meetings.


Interest Group Access information:

​​Groups 1, 2, 3 will be gathering in our main Zoom location for this event, which we used in the morning session:


​​​One tap mobile

​​​+13017158592,,93765834129#,,,,*256955# US (Washington DC)

​​​Dial by your location

​​​        +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)


​​Group 4 will gather at this Zoom location:

​​Join Zoom Meeting


​​One tap mobile

​​+16465588656,,92701827140#,,,,*318121# US (New York)

​​Dial by your location

​​        +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)


​​Group 5  will gather at this Zoom location:


​​One tap mobile

​​+13017158592,,98204337723#,,,,*644172# US (Washington DC)

​​Dial by your location

​​        +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

Join Details

Once you register, you will be able to join the event.