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Preparing for Yearly Meeting through worship sharing

Would your meeting like to prepare for Yearly Meeting by sharing your experiences and thoughts with each other? Jessica Metheringham, from Yearly Meeting Agenda Committee, offers some suggestions.

Worship sharing is where a group shares thoughts and feelings on a particular subject during a period of Quaker worship. Image: © Jane Hobson for BYM
Worship sharing is where a group shares thoughts and feelings on a particular subject during a period of Quaker worship. Image: © Jane Hobson for BYM

Yearly Meeting will be held at the end of April 2023. That may seem like a long time from now (it's only January!) but time steadily creeps on.

We're asked to come to Yearly Meeting with hearts and minds prepared, and different people have different ways of preparing. Personally, I value worship sharing with other Friends. This is where members of a group share their thoughts and feelings on a particular subject, specifically within the structures of a period of Quaker worship.

How to run a worship sharing meeting

The following will help you with worship sharing. However, these aren't strict instructions, and you may be more accustomed to a slightly different arrangement.

Worship sharing can work with as few as three people, or as many as 15. If you have more than 15 people then it's probably best to divide into smaller groups.

  1. Decide ahead of time which set of prompts (see below) you'll be using, and print them out or send them round before the worship sharing starts.
  2. Arrange for one person in each group to be a timekeeper.
  3. Participants sit in a circle and worship together. After a short period, the timekeeper should invite contributions.
  4. Friends speak when ready. Each person speaks to their own experiences, thoughts and feelings, as guided by the prompts used. Friends should take care to leave a space between the contributions, only speak once, and be mindful of the length of their ministry.
  5. When all Friends (or all who wish to) have spoken, the timekeeper draws the session to a close, and the group finishes with a period of worship. Some groups may also wish to add a less structured chat over tea and coffee.

Prompts to use

Truth and integrity

  • What do you mean by truth and integrity?
  • How can our local meeting work with those of other churches and/or faiths to nurture truth and integrity?
  • How could I work with politicians, the 'democracy sector' and other concerned citizens?
  • How much do I currently talk to my neighbours about truth and integrity in society and in politics? Should I or could I change this?

Revitalising our Quaker communities

  • What does a thriving meeting look like – and what are the signs that support is needed?
  • Is there something your Quaker community would like to do, but needs help or inspiration?
  • What sort of outreach works best, and how can we do more of it, either as a local or area meeting?

Structuring our Quaker meetings

  • Where is the energy among Quakers today? Is it in the right place?
  • Are Quaker meetings welcoming?
  • What are your experiences of the current Quaker structures? Have you found them to be rewarding or frustrating?

Find further preparation materials and information about Yearly Meeting 2023 in Preparing for Yearly Meeting 2023 (PDF).

Book now for Yearly Meeting 2023