In the Quaker tradition of Midweek (Wednesday) worship, we at the Friends House are excited to bring you MIDWEEK: Experiments in Faithfulness. This is a weekly, one-hour, facilitated spiritual practice with Quaker flavor and an experimental ethos. Each week, a guest facilitator will engage us in a unique spiritual practice that is meaningful to them, and that we can bring into our own lives. Check out our line up to see details about our facilitators and the practices they offer.

All of our practices will be held on Zoom. For some MIDWEEKs we will be experimenting with offering hybrid programming from Zoom and live from Beacon Hill Friends House in Boston. 

 

ACCESSIBILITY: We offer closed captioning for these events. If you have additional ways we can make these events more accessible for you, please let us know on your registration form! 

 

** This program is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC ** If you’d like to support this initiative and all of our work, you can do so here.

 

Questions? Contact our Program Director, Jen, at program@bhfh.org. 

Thank you for this soul-stretching series and the delightful geography-defying opportunity to be among Friends.
– Martha Penzer, Burlington, VT

Missed a MIDWEEK? Curious about these practices?

WATCH OUR SHORT MIDWEEK VIDEOS

In addition to these live events, we’re also offering shorter recordings of these spiritual practices. Each video is about 10-20 minutes long, and includes the entire explanation of the practice! So join us live or join us later! 

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Register for an upcoming practice:

September 15, 2021
LJ Boswell | heArt Filled Racial Justice: Creating a Personal Mandala

Racial Justice work can feel challenging in many different ways. What is it you most need to remember at this moment?  What gifts and strengths do you bring? What is it you are challenged to do? What does faithfulness look like for you in regards to racial justice? What do you need to renew? Through a heart-centered guided meditation, take the time to reflect on these and other queries. Then accompanied by centering music, create a personal mandala you can later use to remind yourself of your own journey towards racial justice. 

 

LJ Boswell is white, a spiritual director, Quaker, educator, interfaith chaplain, social justice activist and artist. As such, LJ nourishes curiosity and creativity in order for us to process, heal and come alive! For more info: lj@spiritheals.me | www.spiritheals.me

 

Interested in going deeper? Join LJ in these upcoming courses for BHFH: 

1) HeArt Journaling drop-in sessions

2) HeArt-filled racial justice (two series)

September 22, 2021
Egan Millard & Jeff Edenberg | The Poetic Spirit of Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver (1935-2019), the most widely beloved American poet of the 21st century, used the natural beauty of Cape Cod as a source of spiritual insight. We’ll read her poetry, share what it evokes in us, and use creative exercises to enter the meditative space she creates.

 

Egan Millard is a poet and journalist. His poetry has been published in anthologies in Alaska and New England. Currently, he lives in Boston and works as an assistant editor and writer for the Episcopal News Service.

 

Jeff Edenberg is the Residency and Operations Director here at Beacon Hill Friends House.

September 29, 2021
Susannah Larry | Listening to Trauma Survivors in Scripture

Often, readers of the Bible can become overwhelmed by the violence of the text, especially if they are trauma survivors themselves. But what if we could refocus our reading of the Bible to center the voices of trauma survivors, especially those who have experienced sexual violence? Join Dr. Susannah Larry as she explores how we can re-read Scripture attuned to the wholeness of survivors of sexual violence, both in the Bible and in our world.

 

Susannah is Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and author of Leaving: Silence: Sexualized Violence, the Bible, and Standing with Survivors. She has three young daughters and lives in Elkhart, Indiana.  

October 6, 2021
Keira Wilson | Foundations In Community - Living Authentically Together in a Challenging World

In this MIDWEEK, Keira will offer us practice in understanding our personal positionality (how who we are/our identities show up differently in different communities and contexts), finding power in being our own change-maker, and learning how small steps can build a habit of radical self-love – and the foundation of our community in Quakerism.  

 

Keira Wilson acts as a civic boundary spanner and career coach at Grinnell College, building creative spaces and leveraging service with community through a futurist and feminist lens. She believes we learn who we are through a tenacious pursuit of self-knowledge, the letting go of fear to offer our unique form of generosity, and living genuinely through challenging spaces. Utilizing Quaker values in her work, Keira is a host for The Dinner Party, navigating conversations on grief, co-clerk for FGC’s 2022 Gathering, and community engagement coordinator of Philadelphia’s Vaudevillian New Year Brigade. You can connect with Keira at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/keira-wilson/

October 13, 2021
Shulamith (Barbara) Clearbridge | Developing a “Regeneration of Joy! Plan”

Ask yourself, What nurtures my spirit? What daily practices do I need to do to develop my spiritual muscles? What’s standing in my way? Developing a “Rule of Life” has helped people for hundreds of years to get specific and serious—though with joy and hope and a light touch—about becoming the person they want to be.

 

Instead of a Rule of Life, call it “Way to an Exuberance of Life!” or “Guide to Inspiration” or “Celebration of My Gifts.” Or perhaps “Regeneration of Joy Plan,” “Plan for Delighting in God!” or “Guide for Transformation.” Call it whatever makes it attractive to you. Your Rule should not be dry, dull, or onerous, but something that you love to do, that inspires, transforms, and empowers! Through examples, discussion, and time for contemplation, figure out what you need and what is taking priority away from that. Begin a plan to have room in your life for what’s essential to your spirit—and therefore to your joy. For the contemplation portion, have handy a journal, or art materials, or whatever helps you think about or visualize your life.

 

Shulamith has taught workshops all her life. Since becoming a Quaker, she has done so for monthly and quarterly Meetings in Vermont, Seattle, and the Philadelphia and Chicago areas, for New England Yearly Meeting, for FGC, and soon at Pendle Hill. Shulamith is an interfaith spiritual director. Learn more about Shulamith at www.FeelingMuchBetter.org

October 20, 2021
Ryan Higgins-Newman | The Masks We Wear

In this midweek practice, we will be considering the masks we wear. By masks I mean the ways we show up or perform that covers up our “true self.” Our masks are formed out of pressure and may well serve a purpose. In considering our masks we will reflect, name, and discern whether and when we can remove them.

 

Ryan Higgins-Newman is a Quaker, fundraiser, and Friends House resident and board member. He holds a Master of Theological Studies from BU School of Theology, where he focused his studies on Religion and Conflict Transformation. Professionally, he works for MIT as a development and events assistant. Personally, he finds joy and value in listening deeply to other people (and baking bread!).

October 27, 2021
David Cramer | A Field Guide to Christian Nonviolence

Christian nonviolence is not a settled position but a vibrant and living tradition that includes mystics, feminists, liberation theologians, civil rights activists, realists, and more. In this midweek practice, we will reflect on the words of a number of persons within the broad stream of Christian nonviolence and consider how nonviolence connects us to the heart of God.

 

David Cramer is teaching pastor at Keller Park Church (Mennonite Church USA) in South Bend, managing editor at the Institute of Mennonite Studies, and sessional lecturer in theology and ethics at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. He writes at Anabaptist Revisions on Patheos. You can learn more about his upcoming book at: http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/a-field-guide-to-christian-nonviolence/389590

November 3, 2021
Jen Higgins-Newman | Re-writing the Lyrics of Praise

Do you have a hymn or other song of praise for God/the Divine that you love, and feels worshipful to you, but the lyrics give you pause? 

 

In this MIDWEEK, Jen will introduce folks to new versions of popular Christian hymns that offer us different language than traditionally sung, and will lead us through a creative opportunity to re-write the lyrics to a song that means something to you. 

 

Jen Higgins-Newman is a Quaker, theologian, writer, activist, and currently the Program Director at Beacon Hill Friends House. Another fun fact: Jen used to lead worship for Evangelical congregations, and finds that singing still makes her feel in touch with the divine. 

November 10, 2021
Blaine Saito | Reflections on Creation

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen 1:1).

“This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.” (Gen 2:4)

 

In Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible, there are two versions of creation. They do not follow the same timeline, they share different accounts of how the Earth and humans were created, and they may even contradict each other. So, if we take the Bible as an integrated whole, what do we do with what appears to be two different accounts that don’t work well together? Rooted in Jewish tradition and theology, this MIDWEEK will help us explore ways of making meaning of these two stories.

 

Blaine G. Saito is a current resident of the Beacon Hill Friends House, and serves as the Treasurer of the organization. He enjoys the wonderful communal living at the House and its diverse programming based on Quaker values, broader pluralism, and social justice. Blaine is currently an Assistant Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law, where his research focuses in the area of taxation. Outside of that, Blaine enjoys choral music, swimming, and attending to his Jewish spiritual life.

November 17, 2021
Derek Lamson | Praying the Occupation Without and the Monsters Within

In this MIDWEEK we venture into the unusual — the story of the Gerasene Demoniac found in Mark 5:1-20. This story is the most embellished episode of an exorcism found in the book of Mark, is filled with military imagery (the demon calls itself “legion” a Roman military term), and is not a commonly discussed text in Quaker circles.

 

Derek Lamson will guide us through the story that has been meaningful in his own spiritual life and is the foundation of his new graphic novel project: Mark V: The Opera, which will be published by Barclay Press in about a year.

 

“I look forward to meeting you all and doing some digging into the story of the Gadarene Demoniac as a fable for our times and ourselves. You might want to re-read this before we meet, and maybe we’ll even let our own demons out for a short trot …”

 

Derek is a Christ-centered, progressive, Oregonian Quaker. He says he’s a guitar player and scribbler with a side-hustle as a school teacher … and in a good light he really is that handsome! You can connect with Derek at https://www.dereklamson.org/

 

June 23, 2021
Phoebe HR | Bringing Work Home with Us

In a best-case scenario our day jobs can be a source of spiritual renewal, deeper connection to our bodies and surroundings, and a medium through which to serve our communities. But more often than not, our pay-the-bills jobs also create bitterness, resentment, hurt, and spiritual blockages. Without attempting to offer any cure-alls for the ways capitalism and the ethic of American Individualism harm us and limit our connection to the divine and our spiritual communities, Phoebe will be using this MIDWEEK to share her practice of building personally meaningful labor into her daily routines, and to create a dialog about the work that renews and impassions us when we are fatigued beyond the help of resting.

 

Sometimes self-care is working more, and sometimes working more is just learning more, living more, and listening more deeply!

 

An agricultural worker and occasional digital artist, Phoebe was raised at Friends Meeting at Cambridge and in the NEYM youth programs before attending Guilford College. She has worked in livestock, vegetable, dairy, and timber production as well as doing food systems education and activism. 

June 30, 2021
Christopher A. Greene | Preliminaries to Meditation

In this practice, Christopher will guide participants through a brief introduction of the origins of “meditation” as it has been received by the U.S. during the 20th century; issues with the translation from “dhyana”; the context of the term, and how it is meant to be understood from it’s Vedic/Hindu origins in Yoga. The practice itself involves sitting, pulling our senses inward, and then being with, and observing, the fluctuations of our mind in an intentional fashion.


Chris Greene is a Spiritual Director and founder of an independent counseling practice that offers integrated coaching, therapy & spiritual direction. His practices weave together principles and practices from psychological counseling and performance/athletic coaching with wisdom from spiritual traditions with the intention of inner well-being and spiritual development.

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Check out our recorded MIDWEEK spiritual practices for this year!