What was QuakerQuest?
QuakerQuest offered a model of outreach for Quaker meetings, inviting Friends to share the story of what it means to be a Quaker today in their local communities, in their meeting, and in their lives. Though the program ended in 2015, many things about the QuakerQuest program are helpful in showing the importance of sharing the unique voice of each individual meeting.
In the process of preparing for QuakerQuest outreach, meetings often experienced deep spiritual sharing and took steps toward being more welcoming and inclusive of newcomers. QuakerQuest was a transformative experience for both long-time Friends and those newcomers who stepped in the door for the first time. QuakerQuest helped meetings discover that merely thinking about welcoming newcomers, of getting ready to receive them, and of preparing to integrate them into the life of the meeting, gave new life to a meeting.
Meetings who went through the QuakerQuest process participated in two workshops - the Full Day Workshop and the Half-Day Preparation Session - in preparation for hosting a series of public outreach events. For many meetings, getting ready for QuakerQuest outreach sparked the development of inreach opportunities, new welcoming practices, improvements to the meeting house, and a strengthening of programming for children and families.
What made the QuakerQuest so Powerful?
QuakerQuest taught Friends many things about how to become a vital meeting. These include:
- There is great power in storytelling. QuakerQuest encouraged meeting members to share their beliefs and spiritual journeys with each other and as a form of public outreach. Listen to Friends from Albany Meeting reflect on sharing their faith stories with QuakerQuest (2.5 min video)
- The deep questions from QuakerQuest sparked conversations and invite meetings to explore what it means to be a Friend to each other, to newcomers, and to Spirit. Hear Minneapolis Meeting's reflections on these questions and conversations (3 min video)
- The experiential nature of the QuakerQuest workshops allowed Friends to take risks, have fun, consider new possibilities, feel energized, try new ways of being, and share joy. Because the whole meeting participated in QuakerQuest workshops and outreach sessions, not just a few individuals, the impact was transformative.
- QuakerQuest encouraged meetings to think creatively about publicity and becoming better known in their local communities. Check out some examples of Quaker meetings getting the word out!
- In addition to outreach, many Friends deeply long for grounded worship, deeper personal connections, opportunities for exploring their spirituality, and to respond to the needs of newcomers with grace and welcoming. Read about the ways that five meetings responded to their QuakerQuest experience to deepen the life of their meetings. (PDF)
- QuakerQuest workshops were grounded in possibility, optimism, and spiritual transformation. Friends left the workshops feeling empowered to make changes and to envision a different future. Thanks to the Quaker Quest process, meetings and individuals found that deep conversations and sharings had begun, faith had been deepened, connections with others in the meeting had been strengthened, and growth had happened—spiritually and, often, numerically.
- After leading more than 100 workshops throughout the U.S. and Canada, the QuakerQuest community collected a wealth of shared knowledge about how meetings have addressed concerns or implemented creative solutions around outreach campaigns, strategies for welcoming newcomers, and ideas for building spiritual community. The You Are Welcome Here! booklet shares some of these great ideas around becoming welcoming communities.