We’re planning some unusual activities for the weekend. A few that are in the works:
— We plan to convey lots of information on meeting renewal, but lecturing isn’t the best way to present information. So we’re preparing a mini-library. We are collecting scores of documents that speak to the nuts and bolts of meeting renewal. Some of these are published, excerpts from books, etc., and some are documents from committees and meetings around the country. Some are website links. We’ve cataloged them so you can quickly find what you want. We’ll have time together and during free time to explore the library.
— We’ll talk about how to know what facts are true of particular meetings, how to research this. In your meeting, what “facts” are there which Friends see differently? What might you do to resolve this?
— For those coming to the retreat, we will put you in contact with a Friend somewhere around the country with a story to tell about renewal at their meeting. You’ll have the opportunity to interview them. The success story which you will bring to the group plus 39 more from other participants, that’s a powerful way to begin our time together.
— “Renewing our meetings” — “Welcoming newcomers.” They’re the same thing, or at least they could be. There is one radical question that we could ask of each other, week after week, which would connect the two: “What was worship like for you today?” We will practice this question together over the weekend, and see where it takes us.
— We’ll look at some conceptual tools for understanding meetings. M. Scott Peck’s Stages of Community is a useful framework from The Different Drum. Also Tom Gates’ Pendle Hill pamphlet #371 Members One of Another. Both of these frameworks provide a place for us to consider: where are we in our journey? Where is my meeting as a corporate body?