2017 ESR Spirituality Gathering

A Part of the Willson Lecture Series

Words and Realities: Language and the Inward Landscape

March 11, 2017
Featuring Keynote Speaker Brian Drayton

PDF of Keynote Lectures

Lecture I Video

Lecture II Video 

PDF Brochure

Brian Drayton, a plant ecologist working in science education, is a recorded Quaker minister who has long encouraged Friends' unity and witness, drawing on resources for individual and community life found in early Quaker writings.  His retreats and workshops focus on his concern to encourage Friends in Gospel ministry. His writings include A language for the inward landscape (co-authored with Bill Taber); On Living with a Concern for Gospel Ministry  (Quaker Press, 2005); and various pamphlets including Pendle Hill pamphlets. Brian is a member of Weare (NH) monthly meeting in New England Yearly Meeting.  He and his wife Darcy Drayton, an artist and teacher, have two sons and two grandchildren. 

Lecture I - A Language for the Inward Landscape: Resources from Our Tradition

In his first lecture, Drayton will explore aspects of traditional Quaker spirituality through key words and phrases from Friends' writings of the past. For those attending his workshop, this time will prepare participants for a session based on selected brief texts illustrating challenging ideas and experiences. 

Lecture II - Our Speaking and Our Identity 

In Drayton's second lecture, he will consider the following queries: How does a dialogue with traditional Quaker language help us discover our own spiritual identity?  What happens when classic Quaker terms have different meanings (or no meaning) when spoken by 21st century Quakers?   


Exploring the Inward Landscape - Brian Drayton 

In this workshop, participants will be led to explore Quaker spirituality, as well as their own spirituality, through the use of short selections from historic Quaker texts.

Experiment with Light - Dan Mudd 

Cultivating our relationship with the Light has been a central principle of Friends. Howard Brinton noted that “the Light is a source of truth, a source of power to act on that truth and a source of unity with God and with one another. This enables (a process) by which we are reconciled with God and with all creation.”

How might we access this process so that the Light, our deepest Wisdom, becomes a more present companion in our spiritual journey? You are invited to join us as we explore a meditation practice that has been used by Friends. We will work with Experiment with Light as developed by British Friend Rex Ambler. This Experiment is a guided meditation which enables each of us to open to the Light. Part of this practice is sharing the experience as a spiritual community. In this workshop, we aid each other by a form of sacred listening and, when asked for, supporting discernment. Join us for this very Friendly Experiment with Light. Based on Light to Live By, written by Rex Ambler.

Dan Mudd is a member of Pima Monthly Meeting. He serves as a Spiritual Director and is an ESR M. Div. student. The Light has led him to practice meditation and lay dream work. He facilitated a lay dream work group for nine years and has given workshops on Experiment with Light at Pima Monthly and Intermountain Yearly Meetings. Dan and his wife Jaimie are co-leaders in Couple Enrichment.

Spiritual Assessment - Mining One's History and Environment - Eva M. Abbott 

Engaging in God-talk, whether in chaplaincy or with one’s neighbor, can be an awkward, stilted, and brief conversation. The search for (and discovery of) the numinous or life purpose and meaning is difficult for most of us to articulate, yet one’s religious and spiritual heritages (or absence of them) are often significant sources of attitudes, behaviors, coping skills, and strengths. The Spiritual Genogram and Ecogram offer two ways to engage others in a conversation about one’s religious tradition and its impact. They offer a narrative approach to building rapport and trust, concretizing the ethereal, developing a spiritual vocabulary, and probably most important, recognizing and accessing personal and familial strengths. If you are or will be working with individuals facing life challenges, these assessment tools may help them understand how their crisis has been shaped by religious heritage and how they might shape its outcome.

Eva Abbott spent 25 years working in social services with the elderly and with families and children involved in the child welfare system. Her mentors and masters in counseling held her in (mostly) good stead until she was asked to initiate a pastoral care program for the elderly in New Orleans.  Unsure how to offer spiritual care, she wisely enrolled in the Earlham School of Religion where she is again learning that the Spirit offers the care and her role is to listen and stoke the holy fire.


Exploring the Landscape within Our Body through Yoga Practices - Steve Cleaver 

We often journey seeking holy places. We visit churches and temples and admire spiritual places in the world. But how often do we journey into the landscape and the world of our own body? How do we establish sovereignty and sanctuary there? In this workshop we start to explore awareness of our bodies though asana and then journey within through a practice of yoga nidra. While this is an active workshop, all are welcome and there is no prerequisite other than the willingness and desire to explore the landscape within your own being. 

Steve Cleaver is a 200 RYT and has trained in Pranayama. He has been teaching yoga for over 15 years and leads Mindfulness classes at Richmond Friends School and Journey Yoga. He is a graduate of the Earlham School of Religion and the author of the award winning novel, Saving Erasmus. His website is www.stevecleaver.com.

Sacred Space: Create, Collaborate, Commune - Hoot Williams

Sacred Space is an idea that germinated at Pendle Hill during my year as Hospitality Intern, out of a desire to explore collaborative pathways into spiritual practice, worship, and devotion. This workshop allows us to experience creative community-building - here and now. After a time of connecting with each other, we will dig into and examine the language of the heart by learning and practicing the principle of positation as a group. By introducing positation as a spiritual discipline in community, we empower the creative agency and autonomy of every one moved by the freedom and liberty that is a blessing of the Spirit. “May Your language of Love guide us to live lives transformed through a rich vocabulary of deeds.” - Hoot Williams

Hoot Williams is a social entrepreneur, a multi-disciplinary change agent, musician, and mystic. As an internationally credentialed Alcohol & Drug Counselor, Hoot has created a bi-vocational ministry of hospitality and recovery while working toward his M.Div here at ESR since 2011. Currently, Hoot hosts over 100 guests each month at his five Airbnb listings in Philadelphia. He looks forward to graduating from ESR this May with an emphasis is Christian Spirituality. This summer, Hoot will open his home in the Catskills region of New York as Hoot’s Roost, a spiritual retreat center and model tiny house village. With a growing network of Friends and collaborators, Hoot is creating safe and compassionate communities of hospitality, home, and heart. www.hootsroost.com




8:00 am Registration & Breakfast
8:40 am Optional Worship
9:00 am Welcome and Lecture I
10:45 am Break
11:00 am Workshop Session
12:30 pm Lunch
1:45 pm Lecture II
3:30 pm Closing