Annual Session 2016

Discernment and Action in Spiritual Community


Sometimes people understand “God’s will” or “God’s plan” as something imposed on us by God, something we must discover and decipher. I understand it differently. I feel that God’s path for our lives is constantly being developed. It rises within us and is something we develop in partnership with God as we learn to see and understand more clearly. With this seeing and understanding, we find the courage to step into the future.

- Nancy Bieber, Decision Making and Spiritual Discernment

In our Quaker communities, discernment provides the spiritual basis for finding the pathways for our service and action. As our roots grow deeper into the ground, finding a spiritual source, our limbs and branches grow too, reaching out to each other and the world, bearing fruit. If our roots weaken, our harvest diminishes. If our branches weaken, so do our roots. When our inward and outward lives nourish each other, we thrive best and have more to offer each other and the world, both as individuals and communities. Younger Friends and diverse newcomers are more likely to be drawn in, bringing new life and helping sustain our beloved communities and our Quaker witness.

You are invited to come, explore, and experience these dynamics in community with other Friends at Annual Session. Come grow your life, then your Meeting, and then share with the world, so that it may share with you. We will consider these queries together:

  • What paths to spiritual growth have we found?
  • In our spiritual lives, how do worshiping and ministering interact?
  • How does worship guide our ministry?
  • How does our ministering feed and test our spirit?
  • As we extend our ministry, what else develops? What costs result?


Nancy Bieber (Pre-session Retreat Leader)
Christina Repoley (Tuesday Evening Plenary)
Lauren Brownlee and Jen Cort (Wednesday Afternoon Plenary)
George Lakey (Friday Carey Lecturer)