Just Launched: Introducing the Quaker Tradition with Gary Gillespie and Sarah Bur

Interior of the Arch Street Friends Meeting House in Philadelphia, built in 1805. Public Domain.

We just launched Introducing the Quaker Tradition with Gary Gillespie and Sarah Bur For Individuals and For Groups.

The Religious Society of Friends, informally known as Quakers, emerged as a Christian Protestant denomination during the English Civil War in the 1600s when many different approaches to the Christian experience were formed. Many Quakers moved to North America, where they were able to thrive in some colonies (most famously Pennsylvania) but were persecuted in others (notably the New England colonies).

Today, Quakerism takes a unique space in the American religious landscape. It is rooted in Christianity but when you ask if Quakers are Christians today, the answer varies. Quaker.org, a website run by the nonprofit Quaker organization that publishes the Friends Journal, writes, “Most Quakers believe in… something. It’s when you ask if that something is ‘God’ that the answer becomes more complicated.” Across the world, Quakers range from groups that would describe themselves as Christians to groups that make no representations about what exactly their members believe.

What unifies the Quaker experience? Most Quakers emphasize listening. Contemplative prayer focused on discerning the word of God for the world, the meeting, and the individual is central to the religious Quaker experience. Likewise, Quakers practice nonviolence and value simplicity, especially in worship. Quaker meetings also tend to emphasize inclusiveness. In the U.S. Quakers have historically advocated for equality and justice; for example, many Quakers were abolitionists and later, passionate advocates for racial justice during the Civil Rights Movement.

In this class, Quakers Gary Gillespie and Sarah Bur describe the contemporary American Quaker experience. They discuss basic history, beliefs, values, worship style, and other important elements of Quaker life and worship today. This course is ideal for anyone interested in learning more about different ways of approaching Christian faith and worship.

Upcoming Live Course: Vital Signs of Faith with Kate Moorehead Carroll

We are hosting a new Live Course: Vital Signs of Faith with Kate Moorehead Carroll. Kate is Dean of St. John’s Cathedral in Jacksonville, Florida and author of eight books, including Vital Signs of Faith, the book to which this course is a companion. (Participants do not have to read the book for the course, but they will probably find the experience richer id they do.)

From the book Vital Signs of Faith.

I try to get a check-up each year. Each year, my doctor discusses various issues with me. She asks me if I am exercising regularly. How is my diet? She tells me that as a middle-aged woman I need to lift weights because my bones are beginning to decline (she uses much more impressive language like impending osteopenia). She talks about the coming of menopause, checking for breast cancer and other issues. It is a detailed exam, and I am grateful for her thoroughness. I am truly blessed to have medical care.

Why do we not examine our spiritual health with the same intention? I believe it is time for faith leaders to provide our people with ways to measure, nurture, and develop the life of the spirit. Just as we care for our bodies, so we must learn to care for our hearts, minds, and souls. The physical life and the spiritual life are both vital. One influences and impacts the other. Why do we spend time on our bodies alone and not also on our souls?




In this class, a faith leader is going to do exactly what she calls for in her book: discuss ways to measure, nurture, and maintain healthy spiritual lives with the same care doctors urge in caring for our bodies. Each class will develop a section or topic of particular interest and will include opportunities for discussion and questions.

Here’s how it works: The course will meet in four sessions on Wednesday nights at 8:00 p.m. E.T. from October 26 through November 16 in a Zoom classroom to which participants will receive a link. Course materials will be available on an online ChurchNext course. We will also post recordings of the class meetings on the course page, so don’t worry if you can’t attend every class meeting. You can take this course with others from your congregation or on your own.

The course costs $35. If you buy Kate’s book for the class, use the discount code “Vital Signs” when you register, and you will get 50% off the course.

Sign up here today! We look forward to seeing you on October 26.

Just Launched: Reflections on Lambeth 2022 with Bishop Eugene Sutton

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, gives the sermon during the Closing Service of the 2022 Lambeth Conference in Canterbury Cathedral in the United Kingdom. Photo: Richard Washbrooke for The Lambeth Conference. Sunday 7th August 2022

We just launched Reflections on Lambeth 2022 with Bishop Eugene Sutton For Individuals and For Groups.

Originally scheduled for 2020 and postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the most recent Lambeth Conference finally was able to meet in late July and early August of 2022. All bishops in the Anglican Communion are invited to attend the Lambeth Conference, where they pray and reflect on scripture together and discuss issues of importance to the global church.

In this class, Bishop Eugene Sutton, who attended his first Lambeth Conference in 2008, offers his perspective on the 2022 Lambeth Conference. First, he offers an overview of what exactly the conference is and why it matters. Second, he discusses the current place the conference holds as an Anglican Church authority. Third, he talks about the main issues discussed at the 2022 conference. Fourth, he addresses the question of why it matters that the Lambeth Conference and other meetings between members of the global Anglican communion continue to happen.

Major themes Bishop Sutton engages include:

  • Why the Lambeth Conference is essential.
  • The nature and extent of the Lambeth Conference’s authority.
  • The major issues that divide the global Anglican communion and how they were handled at the 2022 conference.
  • The major issues that were discussed at the 2022 conference.
  • The necessity of maintaining a global perspective on issues facing the Anglican Communion.
  • The importance of meeting with other members of the global Anglican communion regularly.
  • Tensions that define the Anglican Communion experience across the board (e.g. the tension between our reverence for tradition and our openness to new ideas.

The Anglican Bishops attending the Lambeth Conference pose for their group photograph during the 2022 Lambeth Conference at the University of Kent in Canterbury, United Kingdom. Photo: Neil Turner for The Lambeth Conference. Wednesday 27th July 2022

Bishop Sutton’s video lectures include:

  • Historical Roots
  • Lambeth and Moral Authority
  • The Issues
  • Why Meet?

We hope this class teaches you about the place of the Lambeth Conference in the Anglican Communion today and about how they are approaching issues of importance to the global church today.

For a course preview, please click below.