The Steering Committee of the Quaker Universalist Fellowship met in a video conference last October 25-27. This is the second year that the Steering Committee has met virtually. We have found that teleconference allows efficiency of time and reduces markedly our carbon footprint.
Yes, we miss times of live fellowship and sharing of meals and walks in nature, but also find a remarkable companionship in our teleconference meetings, including worship together. We continue our interest in the uses of technology and best practices going forward.
During our time together in October, we affirmed that our focus is on Quaker faith and practice underneath a broad theological umbrella. Overarching questions are:
- How do we manifest the interaction between faith and practice?
- How do we make the transition from faith into practice, making the “and” into an ongoing process of discernment that moves between the two?
We developed five general areas in which to focus, with queries. These are the areas that are the most alive for us, and for which we have the most sense of S/spirit-led clarity:
- What are the universal spiritual underpinnings of justice?
- What is true justice, as contrasted with legalistic or retributive justice?
- How do we make justice manifest in the world?
- What is right Quaker engagement in the economic realities of our neighbors and world?
- How do we look beneath appearances, beyond ideologies, to discern the real consequences for living beings of today’s global economic changes?
- How do we act to manifest real justice in the economic sphere?
- How do we use and teach the Quaker way of waiting worship based in silence as a method, a spiritual discipline, for exploring our concerns and discerning the way forward?
- How do we engage children in the exploration of these themes?
- How do we help parents and families, the “first responders” in this matter?
- How do we provide opportunities for children to see the adults giving witness?
- How do we nurture engagement across the generations?
Language and positions:
Quaker universalism challenges us to reexamine the notion of “fundamentalism,” “evangelism” and “conservative vs. liberal” labels that reinforce cultural, religious, and political divides. How can QUF invite and mediate discussion by people across the spectrum?
- What in our history and traditions would we like to conserve? What do we want to liberate?
- What are the fundamentals of our faith and practice to keep in view? How do we share our faith and practice with others (a form of evangelism)?
- How do we relate to “liberals” and “conservatives”?
- How do the teachings of Jesus relate to fundamentals, conservation and liberation?
- Quaker universalism reframes the term “evangelism” as being willing to express one’s faith publicly. What is our “good news”? How do we express our faith?
- How can universalist Quakers engage in the business of evangelism in ways that are true to our faith and practice?
What is the role of QUF in exploring the transformative themes above?
We invite you to join with us in exploring these themes through conversations in our Blog, our Newsletter, and our new experiment with live online Quaker worship (for details see Global Meeting for Worship).
Even more importantly, these themes can be explored though active engagement with each other, our F/friends, and by participation in our communities, be they local or wider.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Gail Rogers, Clerk