Some Thoughts about Gatherings (these notes were prepared for sharing with students and staff when the Friends School was introducing Gatherings in 1998 by Stephanie Farrall and later by Andrew Gibson)
Feeling at home in Gatherings
A time to look forward to; we each come into the silence in our own way, at our own level; no beliefs are imposed; careful choice of the name Gathering
Gatherings are an opportunity
To be still, to still our bodies and our minds; to be quiet, to ‘centre’; to reflect; to wrestle with questions; to think about what is important to us, what has meaning for us; to allow thoughts to rise, to deal with them or set aside for later; openings/solutions may come as we quieten down; to listen to sounds outside, to someone speaking, sharing a thought, an insight, with the Gathering, to the ‘still, small voice within’ (‘promptings’); to connect with our inner selves, deeper selves, with each other (a ‘gathered silence’), with God, Spirit…however we name or cannot name; to value the inner, the intangible, the inexpressible; to think of those we know are ill, in need of support; to pray, to worship; to give thanks; to share on a deeper level
It helps to:
come in quietly; sit comfortably, close your eyes – and not be embarrassed about it; relax your body; relax your mind; breathe steadily – listen to your breathing, lead into our own silence by inwardly ‘counting your blessings’, or repeating a verse, a prayer, an affirmation we have found helpful, inspiring; remind ourselves that we are each responsible for the Gathering, for the quality of the stillness and the quiet.
Silence – Speaking
The whole Gathering may pass in silence; but it is possible that out of the silence we may be led to speak, to share a thought, an insight. We may have something to share which will be of value for others to hear.
To keep in mind:- leaving a space, silence, after someone has spoken, so we can all listen and reflect on what has been said; speaking with the Gathering, not at.
Gatherings are a gift – a resource. We can take the stillness with us into other parts of our lives, now and throughout our lives.
Compiled by Katherine Purnell for QLA website, June 2014