Nurturing Worship, Faith, and Faithfulness (NWFF) is a collaboration between New England Yearly Meeting, Woolman Hill, and Marcelle Martin, author of Our Life is Love: The Quaker Spiritual Journey.
An Informational Webinar about NWFF, presented by Core Teacher Marcelle Martin, was held May 10th on Zoom. To see the recording of the Webinar, Click HERE.
NWFF is a multi-generational faith and leadership program designed to help Friends explore ways to meet God more deeply, hone methods of discernment, reach for fuller faithfulness, and ultimately bring these gifts and strengthened abilities home to their local meetings and beyond. The program is structured to set in place support, encouragement, and accountability. It includes three weekend residencies from August 2017-May 2018 at Woolman Hill, as well as a short mid-course retreat organized by regional groups. Between residencies, participants will engage in online learning and discussion, and connect once a month with local (or virtual) Faithfulness Groups, as well as with a care committee based in their local meeting. The class members will become a community of practice so as to support each other in providing and receiving spiritual nurture to and from local meetings in lasting ways.
Our Quaker tradition is a path that, when lived deeply and faithfully, can have a tremendous transforming and healing effect on the world. Our hope is to seed deeper worship and faith through this program, as well as greater spiritual vitality and faithfulness in our local meetings. The program is designed to help educate, equip, and support ministers, elders, leaders, and Quaker pastors from Meetings and Friends Churches, and all those who hold a concern for deeper worship, faith, and faithfulness. Participants will be given specific guidance, practice, and support in deeply sharing their Quaker faith and faithful witness, first in their own meetings/churches, and then in the larger world. Participants will undertake projects and ministry to bring new spiritual deepening, religious education, and other opportunities to their meetings and to other groups. In this program we are also concerned to interrupt domination because of race and class in our Quaker processes.
The teaching team for NWFF includes Marcelle Martin as the core teacher, LVM (La Verne) Shelton, Janet Hough, and Anne Pomeroy as elder/mentors, along with guest teachers Xinef Afriam (first residency), Callid & Kristina Keefe-Perry (second residency) and Noah Merrill (third residency). The elder/mentors will hold the program in prayer, be present during the residencies, provide support and feedback to Faithfulness Groups, and serve as one-on-one mentors for participants between residencies.
Bios of teaching team members
To apply, submit the above form (with a letter of support) as described in the form.
We welcome applications at this time from Friends in any Yearly Meeting.
The early application deadline of May 31, 2017, has passed (up until then, priority was to be given to members of New England Yearly Meeting). There are still spaces open, so all are welcome to apply.
Participants are encouraged to come in pairs or trios from the same monthly meeting, but priority will be given to allow as many NEYM meetings to be represented as possible. Friends with a recognized gift or leading to nurture worship, ministry, and faithfulness in their meetings will be given special encouragement to attend. Scholarships will be available, especially to support the attendance of young people, Friends of color, and Quaker pastors. Priority will be given to participants from New England Yearly Meeting through the early application deadline (May 31, 2017). After that, the program is equally open to Friends from other regions of the country.
In accordance with the NEYM Child Care Policy, childcare will be provided and/or reimbursed for the residencies. Please contact us as far in advance as possible to discuss specific arrangements.
This cost includes meals and lodgings at Woolman Hill for three residencies (9 days and nights), honorarium and expenses for the teaching team (including guest teachers), administrative expenses, publicity and teaching materials, technology for videos and webinars, and child care costs.
Actual cost – $1,900 per participant
Paying this amount or higher will cover costs and help fund scholarships.
Average cost – $1,530 (made possible by grant funding)
We hope most participants will pay this amount or more. We are very grateful for grant funding
already approved that allows us to offer this rate.
Limited income – $1,000 (or less, depending on grant funding)
We are happy to arrange a payment plan in installments.
We do not want finances to be a barrier for participation. We also hope people will take seriously the expense of running an extensive program like this (including teaching team preparation and facilitation, facility use, teaching materials, publicity, administrative and staff time, etc.). We ask each participant to consider what is appropriate for their personal budget, taking into consideration the value of the program. For those who can afford to pay the actual cost or higher, this will enable us to offer more scholarship support to those with more limited financial resources.
We have received three grants that allow us to offer a reduced registration fee and scholarship assistance for participants who have limited financial resources. We also strongly encourage participants to apply directly for financial assistance. Possible sources include:
1. Bogert Fund (applications due March 1)
2. Lyman Fund (applications due March 15 and September 15)
3. Obadiah Brown Benevolent Fund (applications due April 15 and September 15)
Information about the above funds is available at: https://neym.org/quaker-grants
4. Monthly and quarterly meetings
(For information about Salem Quarterly Meeting funds (due March 31), see an explanation here.)
We strongly encourage meetings to consider financially supporting participation by individuals from their meeting, as we believe that an individual’s participation will be a worthwhile investment for the entire faith community. (We know of at least one monthly meeting whose Meeting for Business approved paying for one registration to NWFF noting that it has been their experience that when one Friend undertakes a significant spiritual formation opportunity, the whole meeting benefits.)
The Nurturing Worship, Faith, and Faithfulness (NWFF) program includes a total of nine overnights—four at the first residency, three at a mid-course weekend, and two at the closing weekend, plus a short mid-course retreat organized by regional groups. In addition to practices that help open the heart to the power of God, the program will also teach skills in discernment, methods to offer and find spiritual support, and ways to ground one’s faithfulness, ministry or witness in one’s home meeting. Participants will form local Faithfulness Groups that foster spiritual openness and accountability, and which support Friends over time in meeting God more intimately in worship, in daily life, and in service or witness. Faithfulness Groups of four to six people agree to come together for a two hour meeting once a month for mutual help in faithfully discerning and follow divine guidance. These local groups can include some Friends who do not enroll in the program. The members will discern together and carry out teaching and ministry to help deepen the worship and faith of their local meetings as well as to support meeting members and one another to grow in courageous faithfulness. Each participant in NWFF will also form a care committee which includes at least two members of their home meeting. This committee will meet with them periodically to discuss their learning in NWFF and help them find ways to share it with their meeting.
Reading, Reflections, and local Faithfulness Group formation (starting summer 2017)
After acceptance into the NWFF program, both before and between residencies, participants will read assigned texts and watch short videos, then discuss them online. Participants will connect with each other in online webinars about once a month. They will form local Faithfulness Groups based on the guidelines and introductory materials provided by the program, participating monthly in such a group for the rest of the program. Each participant will connect with one of the NWFF elders/mentors who will accompany them throughout the program.
Initial 5-day residency (four nights) (Labor Day weekend 2017)
During the initial residency at Woolman Hill Retreat Center, Friends will explore Quaker and Biblical storytelling, vocal and intercessory prayer, and other practices that can help revitalize the worship experiences of local meeting communities. Participants will learn ways to help one another be more attentive and receptive to the presence and guidance of God/Christ/Spirit during meetings for worship, and in their faith community. There will be instruction and practice in skills to deepen prayer, worship and faithfulness. Participants will practice becoming more attentive to subtle movements of the Spirit, more aware of ways we resist God’s Light, and more available to give and receive support in faithfulness. Participants will hone their skills in mutual listening, discernment, and accountability and be given instruction and feedback in the Faithfulness Group process. We will consider how our community worship and faithful responses to the movements of the Spirit help make manifest divine reconciling and healing power.
During the residency, at least one Faithfulness Group will be for Quaker pastors and other members of programmed meetings, to support one another in exploring ways of leading worship services in their meetings. The residency will also provide opportunity for Friends from programmed meetings and unprogrammed meetings to teach and learn from each other ways to revitalize the worship experiences of both forms of Quaker worship. The first residency, intended to be a retreat as well as learning experience, will include a period of Grand Silence, an extended meeting for worship, and a programmed worship service that incorporates new learning from the residency.
Study, reflection, writing, and discussion between residencies.
Participants will continue to share their reflections, questions, prayers, and experiences online and in optional regional discussion groups. Between residencies, local Faithfulness Groups will meet once a month. Starting after the first residency, Faithfulness Groups will support their members in exploring particular forms of ministry to nurture the worship, faith, and faithfulness of local meetings, and members will provide accompaniment to one another in this ministry. Participants will write and share reflection papers on these experiences and receive feedback from other participants and from their assigned elder/mentor.
Mid-course residency (three nights) (December 8-11, 2017)
At Woolman Hill Retreat Center, participants will participate in meetings for worship that practice and teach ways to a deeper faithfulness in our meeting communities and daily lives, as well as in outward witness and service. There will be teaching on the stages of call, the nature of leadings, and skills and tests of discernment. We will consider how best to support calls and leadings to nurture the spiritual life and faithfulness of our meetings, and also calls and leadings that take Friends beyond the monthly meeting to wider Quaker bodies and non- Quaker settings. We will learn ways to anchor our leadings and ministries in our local meetings and help each other take next steps. Through sharing experiences of receiving and following leadings and on individual and corporate discernment, an evening panel of Friends will illustrate both the commonalities and the diverse ways that the Spirit guides us. A guest teacher would speak at and facilitate a session on gospel ministry.
Study, reflection, writing, and discussion, local retreat day (February or March) and accompaniment between residencies.
Participants will continue to share reflections, questions, prayers, and experiences online. In addition, local Faithfulness Groups will organize a regional retreat (in February or March), gathering from Friday evening through Saturday afternoon to worship together, have Faithfulness Group presentations, and find ways to help each another nurture the worship and spiritual life of their meetings. They will plan practical accompaniment of the ministry of some of their members.
Final weekend residency (May 4-6, 2018)
The program will conclude with a final weekend residency. This will be a time to be deeply gathered by the Spirit in both programmed and unprogrammed worship, to reflect and share learning, consider next steps in faithfulness, plan ongoing connection, and bless and send each other forth.
Possible Part II Program
This NWFF program may become Part I of a possible two-part program, each taking place over the better part of a year. NWFF would serve all Friends who wish to grow in intimacy with God and who feel called to help deepen the worship experiences and faith life of their meetings. Part II would be suitable for Friends who have identified a call, leading, or ministry that takes them beyond their meeting, and who have gained some community recognition and support for this. The second year program would build on the Faithfulness Group model and the learning of the NWFF program. Part II would continue deep exploration and practice of the Way of Ministry, in 2-3 residencies combined with online programming and local group work.
(For admission to Part II, equivalent preparation would be accepted in place of NWFF.)
QUAKER PRACTICE OF SURRENDERING SELF-WILL
Watch a Quaker Speak video with Marcelle Martin sharing some of what she has learned about the experience of early Friends and their concept of self-will.
Please contact nwff @ woolmanhill.org.