For many years, Marcelle Martin was a teacher of college writing classes. In 1986, her ministry began to focus on supporting people in their spiritual life, and in 1996, she co-facilitated her first weekend event at Pendle Hill, the Quaker retreat and study center located in Wallingford, PA. In 2003 she became an adjunct teacher at Pendle Hill and for four years lived on campus as the resident Quaker Studies Teacher. She was a core teacher of the Way of Ministry Program, co-sponsored by the School of the Spirit. Marcelle has traveled widely to facilitate programs at retreat centers and Quaker meetings across the USA. She was the 2013 Mullen Writing Fellow at Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana an for a year worked in the Office of Religious Life at Earlham College as Coordinator of College Meeting for Worship. Currently she devotes full time to writing, teaching, spiritual direction, and facilitating workshops and retreats. Her book, Our Life is Love: the Quaker Spiritual Journey was published by Inner Light Books. In this book she examines ten elements of the spiritual transformation experienced by the first Friends and by Quakers in our time. Marcelle is following a leading of the Spirit to nurture the vitality of Friends meetings and other communities by teaching practices that open people to the direct experience of God active within and among them. She is a member of Swarthmore Friends Meeting (PA), which recognizes and supports her ministry.
Topics of her classes, workshops, and retreats have included: The Spiritual Journey, Exploring Prayer, Listening for God’s Call, Being Spiritual Companions to One Another, Discernment, Clearness Committees, Nurturing Faithfulness, Experiment with Light, Contemplative Prayer, Mysticism, Healing, Forgiveness, Quakerism, the Way of Ministry, Prophetic Ministry, and the Lives and Teachings of Inspired Women and Men.
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A collaboration between Woolman Hill Retreat Center,
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, Hilary Burgin and Marcelle Martin
August 30, 2019 to May 3, 2020
Nurturing Faithfulness is a multi-generational faith and leadership program designed to help Friends explore ways to meet God more deeply, hone methods of discernment, reach for fuller faithfulness, and ultimately bring these gifts and strengthened abilities home to their local meetings and beyond. The program is structured to set in place support, encouragement, and accountability. It includes three weekend residencies from August 2019-May 2020 at Woolman Hill, as well as a short mid-course retreat organized by regional groups. Between residencies, participants will engage in online learning and discussion, and connect once a month with local (or virtual) Faithfulness Groups, as well as with a care committee based in their local meeting. The class members will become a community of practice so as to support each other in providing and receiving spiritual nurture to and from local meetings in lasting ways.
In this video, past participants speak about their experience.
Information webinar: January 22, 2019, 7:15 pm
Our Quaker tradition is a path that, when lived deeply and faithfully, can have a tremendous transforming and healing effect on the world. Our hope is to seed deeper worship and faith through this program, as well as greater spiritual vitality and more radical faithfulness in our local meetings. The program is designed to help educate, equip, and support those following a leading, ministers, elders, leaders and all those who hold a concern for deeper spiritual grounding and courageous faithfulness. Participants will be given specific guidance, practice, and support in deeply sharing their Quaker faith and faithful witness, first in their own meetings/churches, and then in the larger world. Participants will undertake projects and ministry to bring new spiritual deepening, religious education, and other opportunities to their meetings and to other groups. In this program we are also concerned to interrupt domination because of race and class in our Quaker processes.
Details of the Program
The Nurturing Faithfulness (NF) program includes a total of ten overnights—four at the first residency, three at a mid-course weekend, and three at the closing weekend, plus a short mid-course retreat organized by regional groups. In addition to practices that help open the heart to the power of God, the program will also teach skills in discernment, methods to offer and find spiritual support, and ways to ground one’s faithfulness, ministry or witness in one’s home meeting. Participants will form local Faithfulness Groups that foster spiritual openness and accountability, and which support Friends over time in meeting God more intimately in worship, in daily life, and in service or witness. Faithfulness Groups of four to six people agree to come together for a two hour meeting once a month for mutual help in faithfully discerning and follow divine guidance. These local groups can include some Friends who do not enroll in the program. The members will discern together and carry out teaching and ministry to help deepen the worship and faith of their local meetings as well as to support meeting members and one another to grow in courageous faithfulness. Each participant in NF will also form a care committee which includes at least two members of their home meeting. This committee will meet with them periodically to discuss their learning in NF and help them find ways to share it with their meeting.
After acceptance into the Nurturing Faithfulness program, both before and between residencies, participants will read assigned texts and watch short videos, then discuss them online. Participants will connect with each other in online webinars about once a month. They will form local Faithfulness Groups based on the guidelines and introductory materials provided by the program, participating monthly in such a group for the rest of the program. Each participant will connect with a mentor who will accompany them throughout the program.
The teaching team for Nurturing Faithfulness will include Hilary Burgin and Marcelle Martin as the core teachers.
Hilary Burgin is the Executive Director of Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS). Previously she served as the Boston City Coordinator of QVS and the Young Adult Engagement Coordinator of New England Yearly Meeting. In her work, Hilary has had the opportunity to support young adults engaged in the never-ending questions of living an integrated life. Additionally, she has worked with Quaker meetings on welcoming and outreach. Hilary grew up in Acton (MA) Friends Meeting and in New England Yearly Meeting, attended Oberlin College, and became a Bostonian in the fall of 2010.
Marcelle Martin was the resident Quaker Studies teacher at Pendle Hill for four years and has traveled widely among Friends to lead classes, workshops, and retreats related to the Quaker spiritual life. Requests for a program like this rose after Marcelle was invited to travel in the ministry in New England in October 2016, to share about her book, Our Life is Love: The Quaker Spiritual Journey. She is currently working on the manuscript of another book, A Guide to Faithfulness Groups.
Two elders will serve on the teaching team, including Janet Hough. Xinef Afraim will be the guest teacher at the first residency, and Jay O’Hara at the third residency, adding richness with their particular perspective and expertise.
A series of intentional invitations to engagement and activity for the home meetings will increase the likelihood that the meeting will embrace the participant’s journey as part of their own venture in the Light. This parallel path for the local meeting will begin with the application process and will encourage careful discernment requesting a letter of affirmation witnessing to the applicant’s Living journey in the Light. This could come from the local meeting or other Friends.
To have the greatest positive impact for New England, we need to have a strong, diverse, and fairly large class. We especially hope to include young adult Friends and Friends of color. We believe this will make for a richer and more diverse program. To make the program accessible to all who would benefit from the program and contribute to the overall experience, there is a sliding scale fee. We also hope we can find sufficient scholarship assistance for those who cannot afford even the more modest fee. Those in need of financial support will be encouraged to seek some partnership in funding from their meetings and other bodies.
The program is designed for 24 participants. Through April 1, priority will be given to members of NEYM for early applications. Afterward, it will be open equally to Friends from other Yearly Meetings. We believe this Nurturing Worship, Faith, and Faithfulness program will benefit not only the actual participants, but a much wider circle of Friends.
Dates of Residencies at Woolman Hill
August 30 – September 3, 2017 (Friday through Tuesday, Labor Day weekend)
December 12 – 15, 2017 (Thursday through Sunday)
April 30 – May 3, 2018 (Thursday through Sunday)
Actual cost: $2,500 per participant. There is a sliding scale fee, with the average cost being $1,800. In addition, we hope significant scholarship assistance will be available.
For more information go to the Woolman Hill website.
Live online information webinar with the core teachers (via Zoom): January 22, 2019, 7:15 pm
Blog post about Marcelle’s visit to Haverford College while serving as Friend in Residence, September 2013.
Marcelle travels to lead workshops, retreats, and conversations about the Quaker spiritual journey and many aspects of the spiritual life. For more information, you can contact her by leaving a reply at the bottom of this page.