New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

Bringing the Work of Parker Palmer to New England Friends

May 30, 2018

Dear Friends,

I am delighted to finally be able to share with you something that has been very alive and life-giving for me over the past few years. In this time, I have connected deeply with the work of Parker Palmer and the Center for Courage and Renewal (CCR)—the organization that puts many of Parker's ideas into action. This year I have had the tremendous opportunity to learn from and be mentored by Parker and other leaders from the CCR as I have been training to be a facilitator for this model of work. I have completed part of my training, but am still a Facilitator-in-Preparation. In the upcoming year I will be mentored by a more experienced facilitator while I work to begin bringing this work to my local communities.

For those of you who are not familiar with Parker Palmer, he is a Quaker writer, teacher, and activist whose focus has been on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality, and social change. Parker developed his ideas for Courage and Renewal work during and after his experience of  at Pendle Hill for 11 years in the 1970s; elements of Quaker thinking and practice are integrated into this work.

The core of this work, as I have experienced it and intend to lead it, is a deep inner searching for the leadings of the inner light/the soul. This search requires solitude, but is also bolstered by community as we honor and hold space for the light we see in others. It requires vulnerability, but also generates a  source of grounded strength, or courage, from which to go forward. It is incredibly generative, rich, and life-giving for the individual, and in so being also enriches and deepens the sense of community among participants. I have been Quaker my whole life, and I have found over the past few years that I have been as moved in Courage and Renewal programs as I am in Meeting for Worship.

I am really excited to share this work with you, Friends! I would love to explore ways in which I can bring the Courage and Renewal model of retreats and programs to you in ways that complement and enrich the deep spirituality that already exists for Friends in this community. I have several ideas of types of retreats and programs that I could offer at monthly meetings or within the wider Yearly Meeting, if there is interest, but I also would love to hear what you are thinking about and hear what is alive for you and your communities at this time. I invite any of you to contact me to open a conversation—to learn more about this work, to think about how this work might dovetail with initiatives in your meeting or in your wider community, or to brainstorm ideas of programs or retreats you would like to see happen. You can reach me by email or telephone 207-737-9781.

I look forward to our conversations, and to connecting with many of you in the coming years!


Liana Thompson Knight
Durham (ME) Friends Meeting


New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]