2016 Theme: Gifts of the Living Presence

It is the tradition of the Conference that women write a 1-2 page reflection paper related to the conference theme, prior to attending the conference. Click here for more information on and due date for writing papers.

Please consider using the following thoughts in writing your paper:

Quotes for Reflection:

Naming the different parts of the gifts:   Thursday

…the first gleam of light, “the first cold light of morning” which gave promise of day with its noontide glories, dawned on me one day at meeting, when I had been meditating on my state in great depression.  I seemed to hear the words articulated in my spirit, ‘”Live up to the light thou hast, and more will be granted thee.”  Then I believed that God speaks…by his spirit.  I strove to lead a more Christian life, in unison with what I know to be right, and looked for brighter days, not forgetting the blessings that are granted to prayer.
   ~ Caroline Fox, 1841, from Quaker Faith & Practice: The book of Christian discipline of the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britian, 26.04

We are All ConnectedFrom Romans 12:5-8, NIV

So also we are many persons. But in Christ we are one body. And each part of the body belongs to all the other parts. We all have gifts. They differ according to the grace God has given to each of us. Do you have the gift of prophecy? Then use it according to the faith you have.  If your gift is serving, then serve. If it is teaching, then teach.  Is it encouraging others? Then encourage them. Is it giving to others? Then give freely. Is it being a leader? Then work hard at it. Is it showing mercy? Then do it cheerfully.

Naming the gifts to be shared:   Friday

We know ourselves as individuals but only because we live in community.  Patricia Morrison SpeakingLove, trust, fellowship, selflessness are all mediated to us through our interdependence.  Just as we could not live physically without each other, we cannot live spiritually in isolation.  We are individually free but also communally bound.  We cannot act without affecting others and others cannot act without affecting us.  We know ourselves as we are reflected in the faces, actions, and attitudes of each other.
   ~ Janet Scott, Swarthmore Lecture 1980

From Hebrews 10:23-25, NIV

Let us hold firmly to the hope we claim to have. The God who promised is faithful.  Let us consider how we can stir up one another to love. Let us help one another to do good works.  And let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us encourage one another with words of hope.

Naming the Joy of the Gifts:   Saturday

…Hope, peace, and encouragement is not enough to depict my religion.  When my spirit is Erin Eichenburger Singinganimated by my religion and is aware of the inviolable Truth prevailing, my heart dances for joy and gratitude and sings the praise of God!  Every moment is a mystery.  Even this body of mine, what a mystery it is, whose heart is beating incessantly without my knowing, and whose lungs breathe ceaselessly without my knowing!  This air is God’s, the light is God’s, we are his.  I am living with all the universe, and all the universe is living with me, in God.
   ~ Yukio Irie, 1957, from Faith & Practice: A Book of Christian Discipline, Philadephia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, 157

Romans 15:13, the Message Bible

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!


Reading the Bible with Friends

…Surely, one of the most moving days in my worship group was the day after we’d had a particularly Western-style argument that hadn’t gotten us any place.  After the argument the leader asked, “How would Friends like to structure this tomorrow?”  In a touchingly quiet voice, a Kenyan woman said, “I would like an evangelical…”  The next day, we sang several hymns together, picking out unfamiliar tunes tentatively, hearing each other’s voices, as we tried to blend ourselves into something that sounded like music.  Then, we took turns reading the Book of James in our different voices, different accents, and different languages.

As we read those remarkable and moving words, a magical thing happened that I hadn’t experienced for many years.  It had something to do with people reading the Bible together, the way those timeless words can take us outside ourselves and center us on what really counts.  Marge AbbottSomewhere along in there, we also began to hear each other in different ways, as we laid aside our opinions and really listened.
   ~ Melissa Kay Elliot, 1991, from Faith & Practice: A Book of Christian Discipline, Philadephia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, 258

From Acts 2:1-4, King James

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

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