Last night was the 3rd Quakerism class. We studied the pamphlet "Beyond Consensus: Salvaging Sense of the Meeting" by Barry Morley. I have to admit that only within the last year did I really begin to understand "sense of the Meeting" and what it meant; prior to that I had used that and consensus interchangeably.
One thing that was reinforced for me, in reading the pamphlet, is about waiting on Spirit to give a sense of the Meeting. Waiting is hard sometimes, especially if one has a desired outcome. For sense of the Meeting to work, we have to let go of ego and accept the will of God: Not mine, but thine. (I sure wish I'd understood that years back when Nashville Friends Meeting was in beginning the process of looking at the space needs of our growing community-we did, eventually, move into a larger building). On the other hand, if all are in unity, willing and able to put aside individual desires, I think sense of the Meeting can be a beautiful, spiritual and even efficient process.
Our Meeting for Worship for the Conduct of Business has been combined with our "normal" Meeting for Worship" in the last six months. I am enjoying and appreciating the opportunity to strengthen and deepen my awareness of Spirit in our community through allowing us all to learn to worship God by waiting and serving; I think it gives us a new dimension to worship.
Having read the pamphlet I was made aware of the need to allow Spirit time to let the process unfold as God wills. At the beginning of each of our combined M.f.W.f.t.C.o.B., the clerk announces that the Meeting will be held to 100 minutes (or something like that) of which, 20 are spent settling into silent contemplation of the query. We will have M for B on the 3rd Sunday. I am going to be aware of the flow of time and Spirit. I remember a vague sense of hurrying to get to all the items on the M for B agenda last month and I want to become more aware of the unfolding of the process.