Quaker Quest Belfast ’09

A Spiritual Path for Our Time

Four consecutive Wednesday evenings

From 30th Sept 2009

Quaker Quest Explores the Quaker way

It has actually happened!

We shared our individual and common insights through presentations, discussions, questions and an experience of Quaker worship.

Quaker Quest, an outreach programme tried and tested in the Britain Yearly Meeting ,took place in South Belfast Meeting this autumn.

Each evening the host or hostess introduces 3 speakers for the evening. Each speaker speaks on the chosen topic for up to 6 minutes and then the meeting breaks into small discussion groups. Following the discussion groups, each speaker gives another short talk on a more personal level on the same topic. There is an opportunity for questions and finally a Meeting for Worship lasting about 25minutes.

The topics covered were :

  • Quakers and the Spiritual Path
  • Quakers and Worship
  • Quaker Faith in Action
  • Quaker Values

Quaker Quest was jointly organised by South Belfast and Frederick St Meetings with support from Lisburn Meeting. Speakers, group facilitators, hosts, welcomers and caterers were drawn from these Meetings. A big effort went into publicity, from a leaflet drop in the local area, to posters and radio interviews and new road signage provided by the City Council.

After a lot of planning and effort we wondered if anyone would come to find out about the best kept spiritual secret! We need not have worried attendance was large the Meeting House buzzed with conversation, the hospitality was generous and the welcome warm. On the first night there were 90 people and on succeeding evenings 70 or so. Each evening there were between 35 and 45 visitors or Questors.

The Speakers were chosen to reflect the diversity of views within our Society, questions posed by Questors ranged from, What Quakers believe about original sin to how to join our Society?

Considering that many present had never attended a Meeting for Worship, it was striking that the time of Worship was settled and reverent. The presence of God was evident.

Prior to the 4 evening sessions, 2 Friends from BYM came to train us in the process, this was open to all and even sceptical Friends became enthused and committed.

Successful or not?

Judging by attendance and appreciation expressed yes. At a deeper level, we may never know the extent to which people were encouraged and challenged spiritually. More recent members and attenders of our Meetings found it very helpful and since QQ there have been a small number of new attenders.