A case study for consideration

The case study (presented below) is an adaptation of real and challenging circumstances experienced by a small and emerging Meeting. The names are fictional. 

Consideration of the following questions may help to shed light on this concrete ’case’ and may also offer food for thought for spiritual nurturers within other meetings:

  • How do personal friendships and relationships of different kinds impact the life of a small Meeting?
  • How do we incorporate people with strong personalities and/or special gifts (including those that might be seen as 'disabilities') into the life of a small Meeting?
  • How do we find a balance between energetic outreach and intentional inward spiritual deepening in our Meetings?
  • What experience do you have around similar issues? What guidance might you be able to offer the individuals and/or the Meeting?

A small Quaker Meeting is growing in numbers, with new attenders gradually becoming more committed. There is considerable energy and focus around outreach. 

One of the core members of the Meeting, Frida, becomes good friends with a spiritually gifted and rather outspoken person, Beth, who meets Frida's long-ignored needs for deeper spiritual friendship and guidance. The intensity of the friendship, Beth's growing interest in becoming part of the Quaker Meeting, Frida's concern that the Meeting needs to focus on deepening its spiritual life -- all of these create an inner conflict in Frida and threaten undue and premature focus on Beth's role (actual and potential) within the Friends’ community.