Julie Webb, South Australia Regional Meeting
After attending the Meeting for Learning Retreat in 2006, I was one of six Adelaide Friends who decided to study Quaker Basics together as one of our projects for the year. We met once a fortnight, starting with a shared meal and then discussing a small section of the course. We started with one of the more experienced Friends as facilitator but she soon relinquished that role as we discovered that as our relationship developed we did not need the same direction. We often joked about how long we could make Quaker Basics last so we could keep meeting.
The following year we heard that Victorian Friends wished to lay down their work on the AYM Meeting for Learning Committee (now called Quaker Learning Committee (QLA), to avoid confusion with Meeting for Learning). It seemed the natural thing to offer to take this on, under the care of South Australian Regional Meeting.
During our six years on the QLA Committee, we continued to meet fortnightly as well as going away for three working weekends. The weekends always included a silent period, often from after an evening meal until the following lunchtime. This silent time became a valuable and essential part of our time together and when we have been away on holidays with larger groups of Friends, a silent day has always been a feature of our time together in community.
Over the last few years our regular gatherings alternated between meetings for business and meetings for spiritual nurture, always starting with a meal together. Often we were trying out learning materials which we later purchased for QLA, to be made available for loan to interested Friends. These include Engaging with the Quaker Testimonies: a Toolkit, as well as material from the Kindlers in Britain and Parker Palmer in the United States.
We now have four active members on the committee, all of whom are clerks or assistant clerks of Adelaide Local Meeting or SANTRM. It is becoming more difficult for all of us to meet regularly and after six years we all felt that it was time to lay down our involvement on the QLA committee and to give others the opportunity to carry it on.
Although we did not realise all our dreams for QLA, we did what we were able, given the ups and downs of our lives as individuals and as part of the wider circle of Friends.
Again we ask ourselves, “What next?”