Quaker Religious Education Collaborative: Beginnings

Thirty-three Friends gathered at Pendle Hill in August 2014 from Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, South Dakota, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Washington DC. We met face to face in a community of practice sharing our passion for the work and exploring how we can continue to support Friends religious education programs and materials. 

The major underpinnings the gathered group confirmed:

  • Religious education for Friends is about taking people to their Inner Teacher.
  • Each Quaker Meeting grows in its own way.
  • Whatever we do must be theologically and geographically inclusive.
  • Meetings need families, and families need religious education.
  • Religious education is for children of all ages.
  • From infant to elder, all of us are teachers and all of us are learners.

Our intentions going forward:

  • Continue to build an international online community of practice.
  • Create an online repository of Quaker curricula and teaching/learning resources that could be freely available to everyone.
  • Establish a fluid structure that would allow us to raise money to pay for a website.
  • Support the set-up of small, virtual working groups around religious education topics.
  • Gather the RE community of practice together again in 2015.
  • Offer an RE Institute in the USA withing the next four years.

The contact list for QREC has grown to almost 100 Friends from 15 Yearly Meetings in 3 countries.  We welcome Quaker First Day School teachers, parents, and other Friends to join us on this journey.  See the contact email below.

As a follow-up to our Pendle Hill gathering, we post these documents:

QREC Press Release 2014

The press release is a reflection on the Pendle Hill gathering and next steps for the Collaborative, and is being sent to Quaker publications and yearly meetings in the US, Canada and beyond to Friends around the world. Please pass it on!

Circles of A Shared Vision

The first four pages were received from the "Listening Circles" that were gathered between April-July in various parts of the US, and the "circles" page was a starting point for conversation at Pendle Hill about how to organize this collaborative network. Listening Circles are continuing to gather.

Listening Circles

Brief directions for facilitating a Listening Circle.

QREC Vision Vocabulary

One product of a visioning session at Pendle Hill.

Exploring a Shared Vision

We report a summary of a threshing session which focused on three questions.  Why do we need an RE organization?  What purposes and constituents would an RE organization serve?   Where would we want to be in five years?  in 100 years?

Small Group Work

“Small Group Work” attempts to capture the reports from the groups who met to focus on specific pieces of the vision for collaboration.  This is both a reporting and an invitation.   Using available technology, the steering group would like to facilitate these small groups continuing their work together where there is interest and energy.  All are welcome – you don’t need to have been at Pendle Hill to join this discussion, nor are you limited to the group you worked with there.   If you’re interested, please be in touch.

Emergent Work Among Friends

A list of cutting-edge work in progress with contact information for the Friend to encouarge collaboration between our gatherings.

RE Web Resources 

By no means complete, this list is the start of an annotated list for use by Friends.. One hope is to have links to these and other sites on a QREC website. If you have a suggestion to share, please contact the Collaborative to add to this living document!

To reach the steering group for the Collaborative, please use this email:

quakercollaborative4re@gmail.com (link sends e-mail) 

We look forward to being in touch with more news in the coming months.

In faith and friendship,

Beth Collea, Wellesley Monthly Meeting, NEYM

Marsha Holliday, Washington Friends Meeting, BYM

Melinda Wenner Bradley, West Chester Friends Meeting, PhYM

Liz Yeats, Friends Meeting of Austin, SCYM