Quaker Decision-Making as Spiritual Practice
How learning how to clerk helped center my spirit this Advent
Prior to Advent, I spent a November weekend at Pendle Hill, the Quaker retreat center outside of Philadelphia. I wanted to learn about the Quaker decision-making and clerking process—not only to understand it better, but also to see what I could incorporate into my job at FCNL.
When I asked my Quaker colleagues to recommend a workshop for a Presbyterian like me, they suggested, “Clerking: Serving the Community with Joy.”
They were right. I learned a lot from the workshop—not just from the workshop leaders, Arthur Larrabee and Steve Mohlke, but also from the 43 Quaker clerks who joined me in attending.
Personally, it was a welcome assignment—after several weeks of board meetings, Annual Meeting, dealing with deadlines, Thanksgiving, and planning for the new year, I needed to quiet my being as I prepared for this season of waiting: Advent.
Quaker decision-making is a spiritual practice. Pendle Hill affirmed in me the need to be more intentional in incorporating spiritual practices in my life.
Although our days at Pendle Hill were packed, there was ample time for quiet reflection. In the silence of Quaker worship, I came away with two values that I realized needed to be better incorporated into my life, not only for Advent but throughout the year: simplicity and spirituality.
I left feeling that I needed to keep my life, and the way I live it, as simple as possible. Simplicity washes away the tensions and stresses of daily life. It provides clarity amid the complex management and organizational growth issues I deal with at FCNL
Quaker decision-making is a spiritual practice. Pendle Hill affirmed in me the need to be more intentional in incorporating spiritual practices in my life. Hopefully, my life will then become an intentional form of worship, not only during Sundays, but every day of the year.
Already, I am finding that these values are helping me through this season of hope and preparation.
Let me end this meditation with a prayer by Rev. Peter Marshall, former pastor of my church and chaplain of the Senate: “We pray for the bifocals of faith...that we may see the despair and need of the hour, but also see, further on, the presence of our God working out God’s plan in the world that God has made.”