Worship Sharing (or Worship-Sharing) is a Quaker group process that “provides an opportunity to reflect deeply on a topic, to build community with others, and to feel the movement of the Spirit within the group.” [PacYM Faith & Practice (2001), p. 206] Based on a format called “Quaker Dialogue” developed by Rachel Davis DuBois, the practice has evolved to become a staple element of PacYM’s Annual Sessions since the 1960’s. For many, Worship Sharing is a deeply enriching experience and a highlight of Annual Session.
Worship Sharing groups at Annual Session consist of 6 to 9 Friends who meet daily in open worship, speaking to prepared queries as they are led. These are the guidelines currently in use:
Worship Sharing Guidelines
The queries are to remind us of some common experiences. It is usually better to pick one to labor with rather than to try to speak to all the queries provided. If we are moved by the Spirit to speak on something else close to our hearts, we should follow the Spirit.
We come knowing that we will gather in stillness – to listen, to be still, to share.
We speak from our own experiences and feelings. Experience, like taste, is real and complete; it is not a subject of discussion, but a window into another life.
We speak for ourselves out of the silence. We do not answer, debate, disagree, or try to solve someone else’s problem.
We speak once on each round; we may pass or delay our turn.
We listen compassionately, striving to understand the feelings of the person speaking, whose experience and reaction may be very similar or very different from ours.
We take time in the stillness between speakers to hold what we have heard in the Light.
We notice the time to be sure everyone has time to share. The convener will remind us if we lose track of time while speaking or when it is time to close.
We remember that everything said is confidential.
When the sharing seems complete and everyone has had the opportunity to speak once, we may have time to add to our own earlier contribution, some second thoughts or non-judgmental discussion, still maintaining a worshipful spirit.