In the Quaker Education session of May 2016, Friend Bruce Dienes created a workshop called “Roots and Fruits of our Quaker Faith.” We started by creating individual statements of faith, inspired by John Woolman’s statement about his belief. According to Woolman,
“There is a Principle which is pure, placed in the human Mind, which in different Places and Ages hath had different Names; it is, however, pure, and proceeds from God. It is deep, and inward, confined to no Forms of Religion, nor excluded from any, where the Heart stands in perfect Sincerity. In whomsoever this takes Root and grows, of what Nation soever, they become Brethren.”
We considered a number of other inspirational sources too — from Descartes to Nellie McClung.
Bruce asked us to consider if there was a root of our faith — the bottom line, the origin of other beliefs, the most basic idea we stand on. He then invited us to consider what nourishes that root, and what springs forth from it — in other words, what parts of our lives grow out of that principle. He also provided a variety of supplies we were invited to use to manifest our own “plant” in the Quaker “garden.” From blank paper and words and colouring pages and pipe cleaners, the components of our spiritual “ecosystem” became visible.