How does your meeting attend to the religious education and spiritual formation of Friends at every age?
Today I want to share an invaluable resource that can provide much needed curriculum ideas for Friends of all ages, inspiration, and most importantly: community for teachers.
An independent non-profit, the Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC), seeks to support the growth and vitality of religious education for all Friends, across branches and generation. In a recent video-interview co-founder Melinda Bradley explains some of the history of this newish and exciting non-profit resource from her office at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, where she serves as their new Youth Engagement Coordinator.
In 2014, QREC formed when individual religious educators in four yearly meetings reached out to support each other’s work and ministry. Recognizing others might like to join them, these Friends planted seeds which fell on fertile soil and sprouted a tree that keeps growing. Over 400 practitioners from 22 yearly meetings have joined hands under the QREC tree in an international community of practice. QREC is an incorporated 501(c)(3) organization and works in partnership with other Quaker organizations and granting groups.
Query: Does the current committee structure at your monthly and yearly meeting prioritize religious education as a means to spiritual formation for every Friend, at every age? How can reaching out to the broader Quaker community help you as an educator or as a Friend seeking religious education?
How do we support innovative strategies for being in community and the ministry of Friends who are called to serve us? Are we willing to consider new ways to expand our possibilities as Friends?
With thanks to the generosity of the Shoemaker Fund, QREC has published a revised, bilingual edition of Quaker Meeting and Me: a children’s guide to Quaker meeting for worship (La reunión Cuáquera y yo: Una guia para los niños a la reunion para la adoration) for programmed and unprogrammed meetings. Free copies are still available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
QREC’s other contributions to the lives of Quaker meetings include:
- Four annual collaborative gatherings, each year bringing together over 30 religious educators to share ideas and skills and build support for our community of practice. 2017’s gathering brought together over 40 Friends from across the US, Mexico and Bolivia at Quaker Hill Conference Center in Richmond, IN.The 2018 gathering will be August 17-19 at Powell House in Old Chatham, NY.
- A website www.quakers4re.org, which will soon be updated with an interactive Resource Library allowing evaluation of materials and collaboration among Friends. The platform will offer a space for sharing Spanish language materials. QREC has an active Facebook page www.facebook.com/Quakers4RE, and Twitter account @Quakers4RE, where resources, questions and ideas can be shared and discussed.
- In collaboration with FWCC, QREC developed and collected RE materials for adults and youth, in both English and Spanish, to accompany FWCC QuakerSpeak videos and World Quaker Day at www.quakers4re.org/FWCC-QuakerSpeakCurricula.
- A series of six videos on supporting the spiritual lives of children and welcoming families in our meetings. The videos can be viewed at quakers4re.org/videos.