Living Faith: Frequently Asked Questions

“Living Faith”—what’s this all about?

Living Faith is a day-long gathering of Friends from throughout New England. The event is a chance for Friends to worship together, get to know each other, share the different ways we experience and live our faith, and build community. The next Living Faith gathering will be April 4th, 2020, at Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine.

Registration Is Open for Living Faith

What will the gathering look like?

Registration will open at 9:00 a.m., with the program beginning at 10:00 a.m. After some brief welcoming and orienting remarks, we’ll join together in intergenerational worship to help us center in the Life and Source of our living faith. Following worship, children will meet with the youth staff and start their concurrent programming. Adults and teens will attend one of three morning program offerings of their choice. All ages will come together at noon for a delicious lunch and fellowship. After lunch, children will rejoin their program and adults and teens will attend workshops (see list below). The day will close with waiting (unprogrammed) worship.

Can you give me an overview of the day's schedule?

Here's the schedule of the day:

  • 9:00 a.m.—Arriving, registration opens, coffee and conversation.
  • 10:00 a.m.—Morning Program begins
  • 11:45 a.m.—Lunch
  • 1:00 p.m.—Workshops
  • 2:45 p.m.—Break
  • 3:00 p.m.—Closing worship
  • 4:00 p.m.—Program ends

For parts of the day when we are not all together, children will participate in a parallel program led by our skilled youth staff on the theme of Living Faith.

What are the plans for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) ?

We are working to make sure that Living Faith is as healthy as possible for everyone involved. Given the unfolding situation of Coronavirus, we are taking several measures to follow best practices recommended by health professionals. We will make a final decision about holding the event, based on CDC and Maine Public Health recommendations by March 20th.

Additionally:

  • We will have several ways to greet people that don’t involve physical contact but do feel warm and welcoming
  • We will have hand sanitizer available throughout the event
  • We will work with our host site to make sure doorknobs and other common touch points are wiped down before our event and throughout the day
  • Implementing other public health practices as recommended.

If you have any particular concerns please feel free to contact Elizabeth Hacala, Events Coordinator, at [email protected] or (740) 478-2537.

Register for Living Faith

What workshops will be offered?

Friends from around New England have volunteered their time to offer interactive workshops on a wide array of how we are living our Quaker faith in New England. Workshops cover such topics as art and spirituality, social justice and witness, Quaker parenting, daily spiritual practices, and more. The list of workshops will be posted soon.

What if I’ve never been to a wider New England Quaker event before, beyond my home meeting?

Welcome! We are so excited to meet you. One of our primary goals for the Living Faith gatherings is that we create a warm, welcoming space to help grow and strengthen our vibrant regional Quaker community—including you.

We look forward to connecting you with other Friends from your area and around New England. There will be lots of structured as well as informal ways to meet people and make connections.

How is this a family-friendly event?

One of our gems as New England Quakers is our youth programs. Experienced staff members will be leading a youth program that will help younger Friends feel welcomed and connected, and give them the opportunity to explore their Quaker identities. The day will begin with a programmed worship accessible and engaging for children. Parents are welcome to join the youth program or fully attend the adult program as best works for their family.

Kids and families will have access to the dining room and lunch 10 minutes before everyone else so that parents can help their kids find food they’ll love and place to sit before it gets busy. We are meeting at Cheverus High School and will have access to their outside play area and indoor resources. Healthy snacks, a quiet corner for resting, and incredible youth workers will be available throughout the day to ensure the kids are having a great time.

I have/am a teen—what’s the teen scene like?

We are really excited to have tweens and teens at Living Faith. Tweens can choose to join the youth program or participate with older Friends. All of our workshops are open to tweens and teens. We are also hoping to create an informal hang-out space available throughout the day with snacks and games for those who may want to participate in some, but not all of the programs.  

We will also have one or two active Young Friends at the gathering to talk with other high-school-aged Friends about the Young Friends program and how they can get involved. Teens can also volunteer to help with the youth program, if interested. A group of Young Friends will be singing us into unprogrammed worship in the afternoon.

Register for Living Faith

What’s all this about experiencing "different" forms of worship?

Here’s a brief description of how Friends in New England worship, from neym.org:

We worship as a community with the understanding that all share the responsibility for ministry. We know that we need one another's help to be faithful. We gather in stillness to listen for how the Holy Spirit might speak within us or through the words of another. While most New England meetings (congregations) practice what we call waiting worship—in which we expectantly wait together in silence for inspired speaking or insight to arise—some of us also worship in ways similar to Protestant churches, with hymn singing, spoken prayer, reflection on Scripture, or a brief prepared message. We seek to embody a practical spirituality in our daily lives, where every interaction can be sacred, and where every person can be a teacher and friend.

We are blessed in New England with diversity in our Quaker traditions of worship. We welcome Friends to join in this experience together regardless of the tradition that is most familiar to them. Living Faith will begin and end with worship as a whole group.

Portland is far away from home for me; is hospitality with local Friends available?

If you let us know during registration that you need hospitality, we will to our best to connect you with both local Friends and Friends at convenient stopping points along the way to Portland to help coordinate hospitality if you are traveling from a distance. We hope this will be an opportunity for additional connection, fellowship, and strengthening relationship for many of us.

Register for Living Faith

I’m excited about the event, but I’m not a member of a Quaker meeting. In fact, I don’t know exactly how I relate to Quakers as part of my journey. Can I come?

Yes! You are most welcome to share this experience in exploring Quaker spirituality and community, no matter your previous experience or formal affiliation with Friends.

If you have specific questions you'd like answered, please don't hesitate to contact the planning team and we'd be happy to follow up with you by phone or email.

This sounds like an incredible day, can I do anything to help make it happen?

Yes! Please let us know if you are interested in helping with either gathering as part of the registration process. We welcome volunteers the day of, particularly those who are local or staying nearby overnight, to help with greeting Friends as they arrive. We’ll also have several jobs throughout the day assisting with logistics around lunch and will need some help with cleanup at the end of the day. We are also looking for a few Friends to join the planning committee for next year’s gatherings.

How can I contact the organizers with questions?

Email the Living Faith Planning Team, the group of New England Friends volunteering to organize this event, or call the NEYM office at 508-754-6760.

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

There will be on-site parking and we encourage Friends to sign up on the carpool signup list if they need or can provide rides for Living Faith.

There is an Amtrak station in Portland, less than 5 miles from the school. Buses do run from near the station to near the school.

I'm coming from out of town. Is there a way I can get help with carpooling or hospitality with Friends along the way?

Yes! The organizers are working to gather information from Friends seeking hospitality and carpooling opportunities, and those willing to offer these connections. Make sure to tell us about these hopes when you register. We'll follow up by email with more information as the event approaches.

Can I make changes once I've submitted my registration?

Absolutely. Once you've registered, you'll receive a confirmation email with a link to update or make changes to your registration. You can also email the planning team for help making changes, or call the NEYM office for more help at 508-754-6760.

Please be aware that space at the event will be given on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you are going to cancel your registration for any reason, doing so promptly will open space for other Friends in New England to attend.

How are the fees determined? What is this "Pay-As-Led approach" I've heard about?

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends is committed to making the life of our faith communities more accessible and removing barriers to participation whenever possible, and to offering wider welcome to those seeking nourishment in the Quaker tradition.

As part of this commitment, the Living Faith Gatherings will continue our experiment with the Pay-As-Led approach to event fees used for the past several years to support NEYM Annual Sessions.

Here's how it works (with your help, and the guidance of the Spirit):

During registration you will be presented with four options for payment:

  • Called to Equalize: This fee helps support the attendance of others at NEYM events through equalization. This donation is in addition to all the costs covered by the Traditional Fee.
  • Traditional Fee: calculated to cover direct costs for the event (including food, childcare, insurance, etc.)
  • Complete Cost: calculated to include direct costs and the additional costs of staff time related to planning and running the event
  • Limited Income Fee: A rate half of the complete cost and offering a guide for those who can't pay as much this time due to their circumstances, but want to pay a set price.

Note: There is a similar set of three tiered options for children. We deliberately keep the cost for children low to facilitate the participation of families with young children. Parents can opt to pay $0 for children as well, if needed.

We then ask you to prayerfully consider your available financial resources and the value you place on this opportunity to gather with the wider spiritual community of New England Friends.

Based on this personal reflection, we invite you to pay what you feel led and able to pay to attend the event—that's it.

If you are indeed unable to pay anything at this time, you will have an option to pay $0 to attend this event, as with Annual Sessions. For those with greater financial resources, you're invited to make a tax-deductible contribution to support others' attendance at this and other New England Quaker events by visiting neym.org/donate. Please mention "Equalization" in the memo field. 

To read more about New England Friends' experiment and experience with Pay-As-Led approach, check out this recent article in Friends Journal.