Holiness: The Soul of Quakerism

September 27th – 29th, 2019

with Carole Spencer

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“Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking voice, to which we may continually return… Here is the Slumbering Christ, stirring to be awakened, to become the soul we clothe in earthly form and action.” ~ Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion, 1941

During this weekend, we will examine a concept/experience called “holiness”, which includes all that has been central to the Quaker tradition in its inception, but often neglected or misunderstood today. Holiness in early Quakerism referred to a mystical and transformative experience of union with God.

In this workshop we will explore the nature of holiness as it has been described, interpreted, and lived out by a variety of Quaker figures across time and cultures, and what meaning holiness might have in the secularized, polarized, pluralistic and interfaith world we live in today. Spiritual seekers from all branches of Quakerism, those who desire to understand and appreciate the varieties of Quaker spirituality, and those who hope to find threads, themes and values that can still unite us within our diversity.

The program will consist of lectures and discussion, group activities, contemplative practices and centering worship.


Carole Dale Spencer recently retired as Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality at Earlham School of Religion where she taught courses on spiritual formation, prayer, Christian mystics, mysticism in the Quaker tradition and others topics related to spirituality. She continues to teach part-time at Portland Seminary at George Fox University. She has facilitated many classes, workshops, and retreats at Quaker meetings and retreat centers related to Quaker history and spirituality. She regards holiness as the unifying thread within the evolution of Quakerism and is eager to explore understandings of this ancient and mystical term with spiritual seekers across the wide spectrum of Quakerism today.