on Gathering in Light

Image Happily, I’ve re-connected with my writing life with the help of my good friend, C. Wess Daniels, at his blog Gathering in Light, by writing about teaching Quaker worship to children. It’s an article that is focused on those new to Quakerism and who bring children who may also wonder what’s going on in the silence and what they can do to participate or, at the least, go beyond thinking of it only as “boring.”

It’s been interesting to realize that after working at a Quaker school for ten years, I’ve become accustomed to teaching worship as a skill. After attending Quaker meetings for more than 15 years, I think there is a “way” that (unprogrammed, liberal) Quakers have with worship that looks, from the outside, like meditation or, to children, pretty strange. Those of us in urban areas with urban lives can bring children who are stimulated by a host of things in our community that are exciting and stimulating, so sitting for an hour with adults saying things out of silence can seem detached or out of context. Building context, understanding routines and patterns in Meeting for Worship, and seeing beyond the words takes and adult (or at least a skilled, spiritually literate teen) presence to guide them. It’s not about the silence, it’s about the waiting and listening, we might say, but that’s pretty abstract and kids need concrete (or at least minimal) symbolism until around ages 13 or 14 to make meaning out of experiences.

I hope this helps–let me know after you read it!