This session explores the Foundations themselves and their background, and gives group members an opportunity to look in detail at the text.
Resources needed: this plan and your notes; copies of the text of the Foundations (either printed from this website or found in Quaker faith & practice); for exercise 2A, copies of the other texts involved and highlighter pens; for exercises 2B, pens and note-making paper; for exercise 3, pens and note-making paper, and optionally large paper such as flipchart paper for joint diagrams.
Opening worship – 5 mins
Introduction – 5 mins
You may like to invite members of the group to say their names and share either why they have chosen to attend this study session, or something they are leaving behind to be with the group. It is also often helpful to say something about why you have chosen to offer this study session and what interests you about the content.
1: Exploring the Foundations – 20 mins
Read the Foundations aloud, followed by the brief description of the way this document was produced. Ask the group to reflect, perhaps in a worship-sharing mode, on how they imagine the authors of the Foundations would have felt.
Either 2A: Revisiting as a cycle – 30 mins
Several groups of Quakers have revisited the Foundations. Look at the ‘Eight Points‘ from the 1940s, and the BYM statement from 1987 (and perhaps today’s Principles for a New Economy). In pairs or threes, highlight similarities and differences between the documents before sharing your findings with the whole group. You may find it helpful to read our page on Revisiting either before or after this exercise.
Or 2B: Revisiting for ourselves – 30 mins
Do you agree with the ideas of the Foundations? Does the language of the Foundations speak to you today? Take ten minutes alone to think about and perhaps note down some changes you might make, before discussing them in small groups.
3: Links to today’s testimonies – 20 mins
Ask everyone to think of or jot down their list of testimonies. Which key words appear? Standard British Quaker lists today usually include Peace, Equality, and Truth, and may add Simplicity, Sustainability, Community, Social, or other terms. When you have identified a range of possible terms, consider which relate to the Foundations. You might like to draw a diagram of their interconnections.
Notices and closing worship – 10 mins