Teaching & Retreat Ministry

While living in West Chester (PA) I regularly taught classes for other meetings in the area.  These classes were mainly taught under the auspicdes of the Philadelphia YM adult religious education program.  The first classes that I taught were an introductory program about Quakerism called Quakerism 101.  I later developed classes on Quaker Testimonies and Gospel Order. 

Format of classes.  Most of these classes consisted of about 6-7 classes on weekday evenings, immediately following worship or on a Sunday afternoon.  In all cases I would provide a curriculum to participants with brief readings (usually consisting of excerpts from Quaker writings in the Philadelphia YM book of discipline) along with a series of reflection questions on the week's subject.  Then in class I would introduce the subject briefly followed by a spirited period of discussion and worship sharing on the subject.  I led at least twenty such class series.

Retreats.  In addition, I often have been invited over the years to lead either one day or weekend retreats.  These have often been meeting retreats.  At times they have been for Young Friends groups or Quaker retreat centers.  Some of the topics of these retreats include:

·   On Leading & Being Led: exploring Quaker practices of shared discernment

·   Members of One Body: what role do we want membership to play in our meeting communities?

·   Deepening the Spiritual Life of the Meeting

·   Dealing with Conflict within the Meeting Family

It is my intention to retire from my full-time teaching position at University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Nursing in May 2012.  It is my hope and intention to be able to resume more active teaching among Friends at that time. If you would be interested in my leading a program of some kind in your meeting, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

When I was actively engaged in this work prior to moving to New England, Middletown Meeting (Concord QM/Philadelphia YM) minuted its support for my gifts of teaching ministry among Friends.  If and when it becomes possible for me to re-engage more actively in this work, I will request clearness from my current meeting (Mt Toby) concerning a similar minute of support.

List of places I have led courses & retreats

I am in the process of uploading onto this site the resources I have developed over the years for use in these classes to make these available to others.  See the page on Teaching Resources.

If any such programs are planned, they will be listed on this site under events.

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Quote that speaks to me

Death Cannot Kill What Never Dies

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They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it.  
Death cannot kill what never dies.  
Nor can spirits ever be divided that love and live in the same Divine Principle; the Root and Record of their friendship.
If absence be not death, neither is theirs.  
Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still.  
For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent.
In this Divine Glass, they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure.
This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.
 - William Penn, More Fruits of Solitude, 1702.

Note: This passage was quoted by J.K.Rowling as the epigraph of her novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Braithwaite on Outreach

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Men & Women with a Message of Power

It is as a "religion of life" that Quakerism will be presented in the future and is being presented now.

Its distinguishing note will be its resolve to bring all this human life of ours under the transforming power of spiritual life.  It will stand out against all divisions and compartments that separate the sacred from the secular, the sanctuary from the outward world of nature, the sacrament from the days' common work, the clergy from the laity. 

It will tell of a Christian experience that makes all life sacred and all days holy, all nature a sanctuary, all work a sacrament, and gives to every man and woman in the body fit place and service.  Its concern will be to multiply men and women who will have a message of power because they are themselves the children of light.  It will claim the whole of man's life, and the whole of life, individual, social, national international, for the dominion of the will of God.

William C. Braithwaite and Henry T. Hodgkin, The Message and Mission of Quakerism (Philadelphia, Winston, 1912), 25-26.

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