This web site is a cooperative venture of Philadelphia and Baltimore Yearly Meeting folks to share with the world a spiritual formation program that many folks in USA Quakerism have used over the past 30 years. The materials presented are for readers to utilize. We ask that folks who take on the program share any resources you develop. One promise we ask of you: to let the Spirit, the Inner Teacher, the Light within be your guide and root in any of your involvement with this material.
An introduction from Betsy Meyer and BYM: The Baltimore Yearly Meeting Spiritual Formation Program invites its participants into a deeper experience of God’s presence through retreats, devotional readings, spiritual community and individual spiritual practices. There is nothing glitzy about the Program; it is plain and simple, but it nevertheless works spiritual transformation in its participants. It seems to work as if by magic, but it works because it is practical and manageable. Spiritual Formation provides a practical way for people in our busy culture to turn to God with their minds through spiritual reading, with their hearts through daily spiritual practices and with their human relationships through local friendship groups.
The Spiritual Formation Program is not particularly rigorous. It does not require a person to take a leave of absence from work in order to spend hours in prayer and meditation. However, it does require a degree of commitment. Participants attend retreat weekends at the beginning and end of the Spiritual Formation Program year (September through May). During the Program year, participants attend two meetings per month: (1) the monthly meeting of the local group to share reflections on a spiritual book that all have agreed to read; and (2) the monthly meeting of the friendship group, a subset of the local group — usually three to five people — who meet to share spiritual journeys and to support one another in spiritual practices. In addition, each participant is expected to devote at least 15 minutes per day to a spiritual practice. Those who make this commitment are rewarded with a closer relationship with God and an opportunity to form deep spiritual friendships.