More on Quaker Discernment.

by Christine Sine

We held our first discernment meeting Tuesday with our MSA team. It was an exciting time which we felt drew us both closer to each other and also closer to God. We were particularly encouraged by the fact that this process gave everyone in the MSA team a sense of ownership and drew us together as a team that is focused on Christ rather than on our own agendas. We see it as an opportunity to mentor each other and to integrate our spiritual practices with our work. Our greatest struggle was a concern that this would slow us down and make it harder to accomplish concrete goals. We were also concerned at the extent to which outside pressures distract us from God’s purposes. To be honest as I reflected on this I realized that we are probably not wasting time at all – in the long run we are probably saving time. The more time we spend focusing on God and God’s agenda the more effectively we will be at doing things that have eternal value.

Here is a summary of the process we used. It was developed by Bruce Bishop – one of the authors of Practicing Discernment Together.

Centering

(Recognizing the presence of God)

Gathering silence before the meal/meeting

Relating

(Checking in with each other)

Briefly checking-in: Something we are looking forward to this week, something we’re not so excited about

Receiving

(Attending to God, listening)

Prayer of Examen on your experience of God this last week: Consolations and Desolations

Ruminating

(Considering the fruits of the prayer, looking for direction and threads)

Listening to one another, considering how God is moving in our personal lives

Reflecting

(Given what we’ve heard and shared, what is God doing among us or calling us to?)

Noticings and reflections and implications of where God is active

Responding

(With this focus on God and God’s activity, we do the business at hand)

Looking at our business agenda in this spirit of attentiveness

*Business*

including recentering as needed to keep ourselves attentive

Returning and Closing

(offering ourselves and our efforts to God)

Noticing God-movements and shifts during the meeting

Reflecting on where God seemed to be active

Prayer

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