What is a nice little Quaker organization like us doing with online learning? Well, someone asked us to start it up. And someone came to us with an idea for a course. And we tried it. And we liked
Quaker Studies is a small adult religious education program in the area around Boston Massachusetts. It's a joint effort of Beacon Hill Friends House in Boston and the local quarterly meeting, Salem Quarter. We've been doing local courses and workshops since 1993. Now we're moving into online learning, and welcoming folks from all over to join us. We're doing this because we've long wanted to offer courses convenient to people living farther away. And as we started, last year, we realized that online learning broadens the range of courses we can offer.
Online courses can let us dig deeper. The Formation of the Richmond Declaration of Faith and FUM
, which will be using The Transformation of American Quakerism: Orthodox Friends, 1800-1907
by Tom Hamm as a text, is one example. In this six week course with Andrew Wright we will try to understand how the ways American Quakers thought about themselves, theology and Quakerism changed during this turbulent century. Many of us have read the Richmond Declaration (with mixed results) but how well do we understand what those Friends who wrote it were talking about? This course starts October 11 and registration is required.
Online courses can let us invite folks who'd like to try out, or try again, to do so comfortably. So, some of us love the Bible, some have had trouble with it, and some just haven't gotten there yet (but are willing to try.) It's not quite like anything else we've learned to read. Five Ways to Read the Bible
is a short course, suggesting approaches to Bible reading which are congruent with Quaker understanding and (we hope) more inviting than just chewing your way through it. (Shameless self-promotion - I'm one of the leaders. Phil Fitz is joining me and we expect to have fun with this!) This course starts October 1. Click on the name of the course to learn more and to register.
Now there are 2 questions everyone asks. So here are the answers:
You can sign up if you are not in New England. You can sign up if you are not Quaker.
Courses do have weekly segments so you are expected to participate every week, but they are "asynchronous" - a long word for "there are no scheduled chats or lectures, so you can participate at any time during the week" (If future courses include scheduled events we will emphasize that in the descriptions.)
And that's the way it is...