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Conversation Circle, Quaker Religious Education in the Home and Small Meeting

Last updated on 20/01/2020

Children’s religious education is vital to the growth of Friends meetings although maintaining RE capacity can be challenging in small communities. Quaker meetings in North America are often small with a preponderance of older Friends, yet our way of worship offers the quietude, balance and wisdom so yearned for by families who seek to raise well-grounded children in these turbulent times. In this conversation, seasoned Quaker religious educators share insights on how small meetings can offer a deep experience for children in the manner of Friends, even when families attend sporadically or when there are few children across a wide age range. We will also explore how families can teach Quaker faith and practice at home. Learn creative ideas, ask questions and share your experience. Registration is required:

Tuesday, January 21, 1:00 pm ET: Register HERE

Thursday, January 23, 8:00 pm ET: Register HERE

Facilitators:

Windy Cooler, Sandy Springs Meeting, BYM

Sita Diehl, Madison Friends Meeting, NYM

Conversation Starters:

Mary Snyder (Paullina Meeting, Iowa YM Conservative), editor and contributor for Religious Education in the Home and Small Meeting (FGC, 1986). She has been passionate about religious education (RE) for many years. After becoming a convinced Friend in college, she settled in Menomonie, Wisconsin with her family. She completed a master’s degree in elementary education, which informed much of her RE work. Based on her family’s frequent participation in FGC Junior Gatherings, Mary became active in the FGC Religious Education Committee and served for a time as Clerk. She now lives part time in Wentworth SD and part time in Minneapolis MN. 

Allyson Jacobs (Chappaqua Meeting, NYYM) has experiences in both small and large meetings with varying types of religious education. She would particularly like to have a discussion about how to ‘be’ a Quaker family at home and the importance in encouraging children to get involved in Quaker activities such as camps and weekend retreats. 

Kri Burkander (Princeton Meeting, PhYM) became a convinced Friend in middle school and was a frequent attender of PYM’s Middle School and Young Friends events through high school, where she met the man who is now her husband. Their experiences in the Young Friends program, and as staff in FGC’s high school program, serve as a critical touchstone for their relationship and inform the way they parent their children, now 10 and 12. She served as Lake Erie YM’s Youth Program Coordinator for 5 years, and also served on FGC’s Religious Education committee. She carries a concern for nurturing youth involvement in every aspect of Quaker community and has presented several workshops at Pendle Hill and in various YMs regarding how to support youth in smaller meetings. 

Christie Duncan-Tessmer (Chestnut Hill Meeting, PhYM) has been involved with nurturing the spiritual lives of children in the Quaker community in a variety of ways.  She’s taught First Day School and worked as the FDS Coordinator of her meeting, worked for Junior Gathering at FGC as staff and a volunteer, and served as the Children’s Religious Life Coordinator at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting where she is now General Secretary. She is especially concerned with developing multigenerational community that includes all ages in meaningful worship, fellowship, fun, learning and ministry.

Queries:

  • How can a small meeting offer a deep Quaker experience to children and their families even when they attend sporadically or when there is a wide age range?
  • In what ways can a small meeting support children’s spiritual growth and sense of community?
  • How can parents weave Quaker faith and practice into home and family life?
  • What resources can families use to teach Quakerism at home?

Resources: