WT-2: Worshiping Together, Youth & Adults: Intro & Request for Questions & Issues

Please Give Us Your Questions and Issues about Youth and Adults Worshiping Together.

Richard Fuller here. I am a member of the First Day School Committee, the committee responsible for the oversight of our First-Day education of our children.
(We recruit teachers, help them with lesson plans, if needed, decide each year what age-groupings of kids in classes make sense for that year, keep on top of child-safety issues and a bunch of other stuff.)

We work with Ministry and Counsel to coordinate when and how the children and adults worship together on First Day (Sunday) morning.

Since the 1980s, children have been part of adult worship starting at 11 AM, and they left the meeting room about 11:15.
Last spring First Day School and Ministry & Counsel committees agreed it might be better for the children’s experience of worship if they came in at 11:45, so that they could experience meeting for worship after the adults had settled in to a deeper state of waiting.

Of course, a couple of Quaker committees cannot “decide” what all the Quakers in a meeting will do. We ARE the relevant committees to initiate that decision, but we need to consult with everyone affected by the change, or at least allow everyone who will be affected the opportunity to raise concerns and make suggestions. We need to listen and we need to take what we hear into account.

And many suggestions WILL be needed. This will be a big change, requiring many arrangements. FDS & M&C committees are excited about how this will bring adults and youth of the community together, but we need YOUR input to make it a successful experience, one that gives our children & youth a better understanding of waiting silently in worship for the movement of the Divine.

There has been MUCH discussion already, of how this will work, but it has been scattered among committees and small informal groups. What I hope to do here on the TCFM website is to

  • Provide a place where EVERYBODY can see how the discussion is developing
  • Encourage people to comment here (at the bottom of most WT pages) or to email or speak to us on as many of the issues as they have opinions about
  • Offer a place that outlines the discussion and invites input for folks who don’t have other avenues of input, like committees they are serving on.

I see the WT pages on this website as a supplement to meetings and informal conversations, but also as a place of record, where we summarize our current thinking, a place where people who may have missed an important meeting can catch up.
I encourage you to follow the discussion here, and to comment, but also to come to the “Worshiping Together” table during the Fellowship time, or to talk to members of Ministry & Counsel and/ or the FDS Committee, or to email me at richard.osbo.fuller(at)gmail.com.

On the WT-3 and WT-4 pages we are listing all the issues and questions we can think of, plus proposing ideas and naming CURRENT PLANS, where we have them.

In the language of Process Work, we need to map the “field;” we need to recognize as many of the elements of the situation as possible, before we can make changes that will benefit the community as a whole, rather than just some parts of it.

My plans for how this web-assisted discussion will work

I am posting a series of WT (Worshiping Together) articles devoted to

  • WT-2: This introductory post, or page
  • WT-3: Current Plans, Proposals & Issues related to how we imagine the flow of children and worship on any given Sunday, once the process is well established.
  • WT-4: Preparations we as a community may need to make to achieve the goal of a rewarding inter-generational worship experience.
  • WT-5: Open issues, concerns, exceptions, things to be mindful of. As we approach general agreement about “how are we going to do this,” I imagine this will be a place to record and keep track of “paths not (currently) taken.” If we agree on a course of action over the objections of some, let those objections be recorded here, with proposed alternatives, if possible. Then if things develop the way the objectors feared they would, we have a record in community memory, and perhaps some suggestions about alternative ways to proceed. This will be a place to stockpile dissenting opinions, and outstanding issues that we will do well to remember as we encounter the realities of the process as it unfolds. I will also use this area to archive all comments made on all the issues.
  • WT-6: Jokes about what is happening, or might happen.
  • WT-1: Current Status Updates – When you come back to these pages after having been away, you can check here, rather than having to review all the pages.

I need to emphasize this is an experiment, like all of life. Many of us have ideas of how this will work, but it will take trying things to know what really works. And if something isn’t working for some folks, they need to comment here or bring those issues to the “Worshiping Together” table in the Fellowship room or to talk to someone on the FDS or M&C Committees.

My imagined role as “discussion-shepherd”

I will update these WT posts as the discussion continues and as an eventual consensus develops. I will regularly add inputs from meetings, and reports of informal conversations.

YOU –all of us– are ENCOURAGED to share your thinking.

The main contact people are:
Richard Fuller (FDS Committee)
Caroline Fahrney Kirchner (Parent, FDS teacher)
Heather Ferguson (Parent, M&C member)
Marybeth Neal (clerk, FDS Committee)
Tom Stoffregen (Parent, designated M&C contact)

Talk to us face to face after worship. Call us or email us.

Comment here. At the bottom of most of the WT posts is a comment area. Please contribute ideas relevant to that WT topic. I will assimilate the substance of the comments into the WT framework where it can be seen in context, and then I’ll move the original comment to the WT-5 area.

Please post comments not only on your own ideas but ideas you hear from others. This web discussion area is supposed to reflect and represent the larger face-to-face conversation.

Please email your ideas to Richard.osbo.fuller (at) gmail.com. I will assimilate the substance of your thoughts into the WT-3 and WT-4 where it can be seen in context, and then I’ll place your message –your words– in the WT-5 area, unless you prefer otherwise.

There is a corollary to my request for ideas: If you are speaking to a Friend about “Worshiping Together” and you are saying something that you DON’T want quoted on this website, please state that clearly. If you talk to me, I will automatically be doing my best to summarize what you say here. I am encouraging all of us to report what they are hearing. We assume this is a community-wide conversation where everybody has the opportunity to know what is being said. If you are saying something that is not for the ears of the whole community, you have a responsibility to be clear about that.




Outline of the WT posts on the TCFM website:

  • WT-1: Current updates to Worshiping Together process
  • WT-2: Introduction to the “Worshiping Together” process
  • WT-3: Issues related to how we imagine the flow of children and worship on any given Sunday, once the process is well established.
    THIS IS THE MAIN PAGE FOR YOUR BEST THOUGHTS
  • WT-3-OLD: “WT-3” will always reflect the current thinking. To keep WT-3 as uncomplicated as possible we will remove ideas that have been discussed and set aside. Friends who want to see what WT-3 looked like BEFORE the current version can go to WT-3-OLD.
  • WT-4: Preparations we as a community may need to make to achieve the goal of a rewarding inter-generational worship experience.
  • WT-5: Open issues, concerns, exceptions, things to be mindful of. As we approach general agreement about “how are we going to do this,” I imagine this will be a place to record and keep track of “paths not (currently) taken.” If we agree on a course of action over the objections of some, let those objections be recorded here, with proposed alternatives, if possible. Then if things develop the way the objectors feared they would, we have a record in community memory, and perhaps some suggestions about alternative ways to proceed. This will be a place to stockpile dissenting opinions, and outstanding issues that we will do well to remember as we encounter the realities of the process as it unfolds. I will also use this area to archive all comments made, after they have been incorporated into the body of the work.
  • WT-6: Jokes about what is happening, or might happen.

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