November 19, 2018
In just two more weeks, more than a thousand Friends from across the country will start a thirteen-week study of the book of Luke. In that first week, they’ll read a reflection from Margaret Fell on the Magnificat. They’ll consider together the significance of angelic appearances in Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth. They’ll discuss the ever-present tension of faith and doubt – sometimes troubling, sometimes creative, sometimes both – as illustrated in Zechariah’s response to the promise of a child.
And they’ll engage the Scripture as Friends have been doing for centuries by thinking about how their own experience intersects with the text and what that might mean for their local faith community as it seeks to bear light in the world. Questions like the following might guide and shape that engagement:
- What does it mean to be favored by God?
- What choice, made when you were young, has changed or set the course for your life?
- Are there certain places, times, or activities that make it easier for you to experience God?
These small groups, Bible studies, and Sunday school classes are using Illuminate, a Scripture-study curriculum that we’ve been producing in one form or another at Barclay Press for longer than I’ve been alive. Back in 1943, Adelaide Barker had a concern for “publishing sound, spiritual and evangelistic Friends Bible School literature.” That concern eventually resulted in the cooperative efforts of Evangelical Friends Church – North America (EFC-NA) yearly meetings to set aside money for the development, printing, and distribution of Adult Friend quarterly Bible studies, which were redesigned and re-released as the Illuminate Friends Bible study series in 2011. Today, those materials are used in Friends churches and meetings in EFC-NA, Friends United Meeting (FUM), and beyond.
Illuminate is the only Bible study curriculum written by Friends and for Friends, and if you’re not familiar with it yet, send me an email. I’d love to mail you a free sample copy!
P.S. Seeds of hope is the three-year campaign to fund the ministry of Barclay Press by developing new titles, supporting small churches, and balancing the budget. In order to stay on target to meet our goal of $162,000 by December 31, 2020, we need to get to $54,000 by the end of this year. As of this morning, we have raised $38,074 in gifts and pledges.