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Threshing Session: Keep Virtual Option after COVID?

April 25, 2021 @ 9:00 am 10:30 am

Ministry & Counsel would like to invite you to a threshing session focused on our potential adoption of regular hybrid worship once the pandemic restrictions have ended.  This virtual session is scheduled for 9 am on Sunday, April 25.  We will use the Zoom link for Sunday morning worship, which is repeated below.

At some time in the future, we will once again be able to gather in person for worship together in our Meeting house.  The issue we are considering in our threshing session is whether we might offer an option for Friends to attend this worship virtually.  While most Friends would be sitting in worship indoors in the Meeting house, other Friends could join worship via Zoom.  If we were to offer this virtual option, then we would need to install and manage new technology in our Meeting house.

In our preliminary discussions within M&C, the concept of bringing technology into our physical worship space has generated both concern and support.  Could we preserve the quality of in-person worship while more readily including in worship our Friends who are experiencing barriers of distance, transportation or health?  While we have not yet found unity within M&C, we felt it was time to bring the discussion to the larger Meeting community.

For our threshing session (or sessions, if needed), we are not looking to discuss our temporary adoption of “worship on the lawn” once weather conditions and easing of pandemic restrictions allow.  Rather, we will thresh whether we might provide an option for virtual attendance at our meetings for worship once we are again gathering inside our Meeting house.

What is a Quaker threshing session?  The following explanation on the FGC website might be helpful as you prepare:
https://www.fgcquaker.org/cloud/madison-friends-meeting/resources/what-threshing-session

To summarize:

  • A threshing meeting or threshing session is defined as “a meeting at which a variety of different, and sometimes controversial, opinions can be openly, and sometimes forcefully, expressed, often in order to smooth the passage of business at a later meeting for worship for business.
  • No decisions are made at threshing meetings. The aim is simply to move towards clarity and a greater understanding of an issue and to separate the ‘grain of truth from the chaff’.
  • The facilitator/moderator is responsible for making sure that everyone present has a chance to speak and air their views.

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