TRM Spiritual Review, October 2016

Zélie Gross describes an Australian Quaker example of using AI for spiritual review.

This grew out of a single evening’s workshop on AI with a dozen or so from Hobart Friends in 2015. They wanted support with eldership and oversight and I suggested they undertake a spiritual review using an AI approach.

To give them the experience of an AI process and an opportunity to learn a bit about AI, I took the group through a mini-4D cycle having agreed an example but real Definition topic: ‘Encouraging regular and committed attendance at meeting for worship’. And I left them with some resources to help them plan their review process.

13 months later, Tasmanian Friends implemented their spiritual review, which I think shows that they have absorbed some key AI principles, both from the very little input I was able to offer, and from the experience of undertaking their review. I’m so pleased!

Twenty-one people gathered from Devonport, Launceston and Hobart in the Hobart Meeting House for a non-residential weekend workshop.

The aim was to have a spiritual review of Tasmania Regional Meeting (something which was last done 16 years ago), using the Appreciative Inquiry method.

Working through the four stages of the process we found much that we value and love about our meeting. We Discovered that fellowship and spiritual discovery with like-minded companions were highly valued.

When invited to Dream what might be, responses ranged from the little and practical to projects which would reach out into the world; from nurturing and caring for our aging members to interesting and encouraging our children; from getting to know one another deeply to making our meetings for worship for business more spiritually exciting.

In the third phase, Design, the small groups considered what each one could do to realise any of the dreams which had been named. Many spoke of fellowship – small groups for worship, learning or eating; mentoring and spiritual partnerships and groups, working together and more. The time and the effort required is worth it in terms of community and spiritual richness.

To bring the process to a close after Meeting for Worship on Sunday the Deliver phase gave us a model of three pillars of the Meeting:  Action, Spirituality, Fellowship. Each leads to and from the other, enhancing and fed by the other.

People expressed that they enjoyed taking part in the workshop and left after lunch uplifted and inspired.