Come As You Are: Reading the Bible with Friends

with Stephen Matchett

Register now.

View program brochure.

Learn why the Bible has been and is so important to Friends; how the Quaker conception of the place of Scripture in our devotional life differs from what some may think of as the “required” Christian view.

Experience the spiritual synergy of group Bible reading, that moment when the text opens up and reveals a fresh illumination of the Spirit. Each of us will bring a unique perspective to whatever passages we choose to read, and together there can emerge something new, stirring, surprising and even inspired, whether from an ambiguous parable of Jesus, a troubling tale or challenging admonition from the prophets, or a beloved chestnut you thought you knew backwards and forwards. Expect the unexpected.

We will spend time in worship; Bible reading and reflection in large and small groups; and many opportunities to  learn from one another and from the Spirit that animates the texts. We are hoping for a whole range of people: those new to Friends, curious about Quaker views on the Bible; people looking for a “way in” to reading the Bible, or who struggle with their relationship to Scripture; people with substantial acquaintance and love for the Bible, who relish engaging with others over the texts in an open and non-didactic framework; in short, anyone who seeks an open encounter with the Bible in a setting that encourages listening for what the Spirit has to say to us through its words today. Bring a Bible if you have one, in any translation; pen and paper for journaling or other writing; and an open spirit.


Stephen Matchett, a member of San Francisco Monthly Meeting, is a Quaker by birth and by convincement. Once an appellate criminal defense lawyer, he now spends much of his time facilitating conflict resolution workshops in prisons and in the community with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP). Over the years he has had an active traveling ministry among unprogrammed Friends, offering presentations on early Quaker writings and on Friends’ beliefs, and following a leading to support and encourage contemporary Quakers’ (re)acquaintance and engagement with the Bible. He regularly convenes Bible study at College Park Quarterly and Pacific Yearly Meetings, and led a Bible workshop at Friends General Conference’s summer gathering in 2013. This is his third time presenting this activity at Quaker Center.