Last fall, we had a powerful discussion at Eugene Friends in SCYMF’s quarterly meeting on “Who is God calling us to be?” Here are elements that kept coming up in the discussion:
- radical hospitality to others, especially young people, marginalized people, those who are hurting
- the implications of following Christ
- the ways we treat each other – with integrity, respect, grace, joy
- celebrating what we have done so far
- discerning the work yet to be done
We are inviting you and your church – and SCYMF individual members via video conference – to hold a threshing meeting before February 16th to reflect on the question “What is God calling us to do?” A threshing meeting will help you know how the Spirit is moving in you and others in your church about the theme. It will also enrich the discussion when we are gathered as a yearly meeting for Quarterly sessions February 16th at West Hills Friends.
We’re offering queries that you can use open up the topic:
- What really pulls at your heart? What about SCYMF makes you smile?
- What/how do we work together? … and with others outside of SCYMF?
- What do we already know how to do?
- What are we – SCYMF – doing better together than we would as individuals, or than as individual churches? Do any specific ministries, services, activities, or spiritual nurture come to mind?
- Who needs those things that we can do?
- What do we bring from where we were before SCYMF? What do we miss from where we were?
- What do you wish we could/would do? What are we in the process of learning? What do we need to learn?
Traditionally, a threshing session is held in open worship – all who are gathered listen to the Spirit regarding a question or issue; no decision or minute is required. We encourage you to guide your church in the threshing process with a format that inspires you, that welcomes a variety of styles, and that gets everyone participating.
Here are some ideas:
FREE WRITE: Start the threshing meeting with free writing. Provide paper and pens and ask participants to take 10 minutes to write down everything that comes to mind on the queries. No self-censorship, just keep the pen moving. Afterward, they might share with a partner or small group some of what came up in their writing, then bring some of those responses to the whole group.
VISUAL EXPRESSION: Provide a table with various art supplies like markers, crayons, collage materials. Invite participants to create a visual response to the query using shapes, color, doodles. Art skills not required! Consider offering three-dimensional materials like clay and playdough, or natural materials like stones, pinecones, etc. Children’s toys like blocks and dolls can also help us to see and create in new ways. Then share in small groups. Learning about your sense of the query comes in explaining the process of creation in response to it (rather than having a finished product). — Or ask participants to work in small groups, and use the materials together to create a response, then share it with the whole gathering.
GALLERY: Write each query on the top of one large easel-size sheet of paper and post them on different walls or in different sections of the room. Each participant has a marker or crayon. In companionable silence, the participants move around the room to each query and “talk back” to it, writing comments and questions to the query or to others’ responses. When time is up, give folks time to return to all of the sheets and see how the “conversation” continued after their comment. — As a next step, group the participants and give one sheet to each group. Ask them to discuss the responses to the query. What do they notice? What do they wonder? Then each group shares a summary or highlights of their discussion.
PARTNER LISTENING: Everyone finds a partner, ideally someone that they do not know well. The facilitator reads one query. One partner speaks to the other on the query for 3 minutes, the other listens and holds space. Then switch roles. Afterward, move to find another partner with whom you listen/share using the same format.
We hope you’ll be creative. If a format energizes you as the facilitator, then that energy will be passed to the group. If you’d like to talk more about any of these suggestions — or brainstorm others — please get in touch with Promise Partner (North Seattle) at firstname.lastname@example.org
. She’d love to support you!
If you are an independent member of Sierra-Cascades and/or live at a distance from a church and would like to participate, please email Jim Teeters at email@example.com
He’s a member of East Hill Friends. He has a special concern for gathering individual members for this question and for fellowship and worship, too.
Questions? Suggestions? Ideas? Contact Judy Maurer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Discussion Task Force
Judy Maurer, Clerk (Camas) - email@example.com
Sarah Katreen Hoggatt
Promise Partner (North Seattle)
Julie Peyton (West Hills)
Sue Scott (Eugene)
Jim Teeters (East Hill)