Healing Ritual: Quaker Perspectives

Quakers in Pastoral Care and Counseling Retreat
April 17, 2021
12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Quakers have a history of rejecting elaborate religious ceremonies out of a belief in spiritual equality and concern for religious persecution. Further, many converted Friends come to Quakerism to heal from traditions where ritual is utilized to force beliefs or experiences enlivened by spontaneity and renewal.

This Quaker responsiveness to Spirit leads us to ask: what might ritual offer us for this moment? The pandemic of Covid-19 has brought massive disruption and a time to reexamine habits of individual and social life. In this historical moment of shifting norms, we see how ritualized daily life is.

What is ritual today for Friends? We will reflect how it is embedded in human life, encourages healing, and calls forth personal and social transformation. How might we employ ritual to heal from the traumas of our era? How can we use ritual in our own spiritual lives, and how can we share ritual in our spiritual caregiving?


11:30 a.m. – Optional opening worship (30 min)

12:00 noon – Welcome and Plenary 1: “Ritual and Reflection” (45-minute presentation with 15-minute Q&A)

1:00 p.m. – Small group break out session (45 min)

1:45 p.m. – Meal Break

2:45 p.m. – Plenary 2: “Ritual Care and Faith”

3:45 p.m. – Small group break out session (30 min)

4:15 p.m. – Closing--large group

Plenary speaker Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm is Alvin F. Brightbill Professor of Preaching and Worship at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Indiana. Dawn’s teaching and research combine her skills and knowledge of liturgical and ritual studies with theopoetics, spirituality, and peace and justice studies, including feminist hermeneutics and homiletics. Recent writing projects include Preaching Prophetic Care: Building Bridges to Justice, co-edited with Phillis-Isabella Sheppard and Ron Allen (Pickwick Pub., 2019). In 2020, she completed a certification in Spiritual Direction from Oasis Ministries and co-teaches Earlham School of Religion’s Spiritual Direction course. Dawn is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren, is a musician, and served three years as a hospital chaplain early in her ministry.

Registration: $50 / $10 Student online at