[saymaListserv] Re: sayma Digest, Vol 21, Issue 7

Geeta Mcgahey mcgahey at yancey.main.nc.us
Mon Oct 4 16:32:21 JEST 2004

Perry, Steve, Kit, Larry, Chuck, Free,

Thank-you for your thoughtful comments on the Quaker Sweat Lodge Experience 
on the SAYMA list serve.  I know that many friends are eagerly awaiting 
word about the discernment at the meeting on Saturday.

I have been on the workshop committee for the past three years as we 
approved this workshop.  It has not been without difficult discernment 
because the logistics are complex and some among Friends are very opposed 
to any ritual other than meeting for worship either on chairs inside or 
chairs outside.   FGC has welcomed several semi-programmed meetings into 
its fold, but many monthly meetings have difficulty with hymn singing, let 
alone any other programming.

It seems that the Quaker Sweat Lodge Experience serves as a ritual that 
pulls its young participants together.  Ritual and bonding are crucial for 
support in our fractured culture.  Many of our young Friends are isolated 
in schools with very different beliefs.  They want opportunities for 
communion other than our traditional forms of Quaker worship and business, 
but within the concept of being Spirit-Guided and non-creedal.

The listening on this subject has been deep.  However communications either 
oral or written cannot capture the depth of sitting together  in the Divine 

The challenge remains how can these Friends who have grown in a 
participatory way of doing business in the Divine Presence have an 
opportunity to not only feel listened to but feel a part of the decision 
making.  Most of us are trained and seasoned in Yearly Meetings and many 
find it difficult to trust decisions to representatives.  When I first came 
back to FGC Gathering after a long absence, I was horrified to see members 
of the HS program smoking.  I saw it as a health protection issue which 
needed a top down solution.  I was labored with and have come to see the 
importance of their participation in discernment as the problem has been 

We, the FGC Gathering Committee worker bees, are often told that there are 
areas where we have no input, the LRCP decides.  When many friends do not 
know who or what this is, there is great possibility for 
misunderstanding.  Many Friends focus just on their MM.  Some participate 
in YM and others in FGC gatherings.  There is no reason not to be thankful 
for a new opportunity to introduce a wider circle of Friends to LRCP so 
they can learn about the process that Friends are come to serve on this 
pivotal committee and the types of discernment which it makes.


This is a difficult discernment and transparency is crucial.

At 12:00 PM 10/4/2004 +0000, you wrote:
>Kit Potter respectfully requests:
>1) Cease to speak authoritatively of that which we do not have in the full
>story - let us not risk increase of harm or negativity
>But how are we to have the full story unless someone who knows informs us.
>Perry Treadwell has helpfully given us a chronology, but very little else.
>For what it's worth.
>Larry Ingle
>Chattanooga Meeting

"If you really want to do something for freedom and justice, then it is 
best if we do this without rage or hostility. With inner tranquility and an 
honest readiness, we can work hard for thirty, forty years" -
The Dalai Lama XV

Geeta Jyothi McGahey
300 Dharma Way
Burnsville, NC 28714

mcgahey at yancey.main.nc.us

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