Is bible study common in Quaker meetings?  My husband is trying to start one in our meeting, but there is not much of a tradition of bible study in our meeting and there is some reluctance among the leadership to initiate one.  The process to decide to do or not to do seems overly complicated.  Is this something observed in a number of meetings?

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If a session (regular or one-time) is to be promoted/offered by the meeting, it usually needs to be at least vetted by an appropriate committee or the whole meeting during Meeting for Business.  This is for an obvious reason: the meeting is putting its name and reputation behind the session content.  Any approval of something for Quakers can take a little while.  First, it can take a bit of time until the appropriate committee or whole meeting meets in order to discuss it.  Then, of course, Quaker process requires a sense of the meeting to be arrived at before the session would be approved.  This may seem overly cumbersome - but after years of enduring this Quaker process myself - I have come to know it is a good thing and am grateful for this wonderful characteristic of Quakers.

If a session is more private in nature - but is using the meetinghouse facilities, generally someone can offer this without seeking the whole meeting's approval - but it needs to be clear that it is a private offering not sponsored by the meeting.

Most larger liberal Quaker meetings do offer Bible study either weekly or monthly.  Smaller meetings may or may not - depending on the interest. It might be hard to find enough interest for regular Bible study at a small liberal meeting.  But even just 2 0r 3 Friends could make a go for it. 

I suggest framing it more as a Bible "sharing" than "study".  Liberal Friends generally are not attracted to sessions that are (1) too heady, (2) too intellectual or doctrinal, (3) require advanced reading or preparation.

We started a weekly adult sharing around various spiritual passages several years ago, called "Circle of Friends".  We at first thought we might just confine it to passages from the Bible, but then thought it would be better received if we opened it up to spiritual passages from all sorts of spiritual material - Christian or not.  It has been immensely popular, attracting more Friends to our meeting.  It has helped our meeting to more than double in size in just a few years.  The person facilitating this weekly session simply pulls together the passage (usually from the internet), emails it out to the meetings email list, and reiterates that no preparation is ever needed, and no prior attendance is needed.  The material has come from Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, and modern material.  I can't over-express how this weekly session has helped our whole meeting go deeper spiritually.

Hello, Sherry Chermler!  If a proposal for a Bible study doesn't meet with a favorable response in your meeting, you could also look for a meeting where it would be more welcome.  Or even start a Bible study that is not restricted to one meeting.  Janice Ninan at Collins would be a good person to discuss this with.  Meeting For Worship: Sundays 11:00 A.M. 2345 Main Street Collins, NY 14034 ( 716) 532-1393. Sunday Worship at 11 AM PastorJanice Ninan (716) 532-4730.

Friends of Jesus has Bible study before every Meeting for Worship.

Friends Meeting of Washington has a monthly Bible study group following the Friendly Bible Study method from Friends General Conference.

But yes, as Howard says, the process of discernment (whether an individual's leading or a Meeting action) does tend to take a few months, whether it's about starting a new program, repainting, or building an addition (ok, that last would be more like "a few years").

Sherry Chemler: This is to apologize for not spelling your last name correctly.  Bill Rushby

Thanks for the reference Mackenzie!  Its a good place to start.



Mackenzie said:

Friends of Jesus has Bible study before every Meeting for Worship.

Friends Meeting of Washington has a monthly Bible study group following the Friendly Bible Study method from Friends General Conference.

San Francisco Meeting has Bible study first and third First-days before Meeting for Worship. We are presently studying the Book of Numbers.

I like the idea of having a small-group Bible study, preferably rotating from one home to another.  The Mennonite churches I have attended do it that way, and the results are very good IMHO.

Thank you all.  I'm compiling your suggestions to pass on to my husband who can then share them with whatever committee ministry and counsel assigns it to.  Lets hope the value of the project and the process shine through.

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