with Betsey and Darren Kenworthy
“Let your life speak, and trust that your children will learn by your example.”
~Richard Lawrence Smith, A Quaker Book of Wisdom
Answering that of God in a child is a special opportunity, a gift, and a weighty responsibility. We need particular attentiveness to our own fears, hopes and temptations, for children are especially sensitive and vulnerable. But by the same token they will answer a clear heart with a tender one. In their tenderness we can find ourselves reawakened to our own. We invite you to join us in forming a pop-up sacred community to explore how to prepare ourselves, and our Meetings, to welcome children. Our guiding query will be “How do we help children learn to build and maintain sacred community?”
Participants will explore in small groups their fundamental concerns related to Quaker youth so we can begin on common ground. We will hold our concerns in the Light during waiting worship. We will deepen our openness to each other through worship sharing on queries regarding our formative spiritual experiences, our hopes and fears for the youth of our Meetings, and positive and negative experiences we have had working with young people. We will also have the chance to become childlike through exploration of activities we might share with children at various stages of development. Can we feel the presence of God through finger painting? Can we develop empathy and playfulness through small group role playing?
We invite anyone who has a concern for welcoming young people into their Quaker Meeting to join us. We hope you will come away with greater clarity of the challenges and opportunities, a broader and more enlivened sense of the possibilities, and greater awareness of the work among Friends in helping children of all ages grow into their most authentic spiritual selves.
About the program facilitators:
Betsey Kenworthy has been focused on working with children and young people throughout her life. As a public school teacher and a Quaker, she has found walking along side youth to be a great blessing. She has been active in
Multnomah meeting since 1978 and worked with children and Junior Friends in many capacities at the local, quarterly, and yearly levels.
Darren Kenworthy grew up in, and is now a member of Multnomah Monthly Meeting in Portland Oregon, where he has played an active role in the youth programming, both as a youth and an adult.