The Church has long recognized that life presents choices, chances and challenges and that it can be difficult – or better stated, befuddling – to navigate through them. Most of us know those large questions of life that can feel beyond baffling: What opportunities should I seize and which should I let pass me by? What challenges should I try to unravel and which aren’t worth the time? Why do I stay “stuck” around a particular question? And in the end, how will I know that my life has mattered at all?
The Quaker community has long held that each of us has an inner wisdom about such questions, that our souls know the answers but that our lives are too crowded and too busy for us to hear them. So centuries ago, the Quakers devised a practice, known as the Clearness Committee, to help individuals tune out all the other voices in their lives and listen to their own. This practice is a structured, safe and confidential, often one-time, experience for a person to do her or his own discernment in the company of a small group. It is not a time to seek advice or counseling; it is instead a time to receive the questions of others to go deeper into yourself.
The Advocate will begin offering a ministry of Clearness Committees in the fall of 2013. If you have interest in participating as an individual seeking clarity around a question, situation, problem or opportunity in your life, please let Nathan Kirkpatrick know (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you would like to know more about the Clearness Committee process or what it means to ask for a Clearness Committee, you are invited to informal conversations after the 5 o’clock liturgy on September 8 or October 6.
Because there is a significant time commitment involved (3 hours per Clearness Committee), we are limited in the number of committees we can offer, but we will do our best to accommodate as many people as possible over the course of the 2013-2014 academic year.