Holiness in our Midst: Session 63

Holiness in our Midst


Writer’s note: The “Four Quaker Questions” are frequently-used ice-breakers in small groups. They are: 1) Where did you live between the ages of 7 and 12? 2) How did you heat your home then? 3) What or who was the center of human warmth in your family? Why? 4) When, if ever, did God become more than a mere word to you? If you ask participants these questions in a group setting, leave plenty of time for answers, because they call forth deep and strong emotions.

Following is my answer to Questions 3:

The center of warmth in my family between 7 and 12 was the family table each evening in Urbandale, IA, a suburb of Des Moines. Days were hectic with work and school, but at supper time we slowed down. We shared stories from our daily lives while savoring tasty meals. (The recipes were from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook.) My father had remarried the year I was 9. My siblings, Jill, 5, Jerry, 8, and Janet, 13, and I were still coming to grips with the death of our mother two years earlier. In addition to moving from a farm setting, we acquired overnight a step mother, an older step brother, Arthur, who had just joined the Navy, and a step sister, Jean, who was in high school. Adjustments were required on all our parts, but our blended family came together with love and laughter as we passed around the spare ribs or pork chop casserole. On Sundays, we had pot roast that simmered in the oven while we were at church. When we got home, we added carrots, potatoes and onions while we changed clothes and anticipated another family time of togetherness. A testimony to our shared meals is the fact that the family table is still important to each of us as a symbol of security in our lives.

STORY CIRCLE PROMPT: Ask the group to answer one or more of the four Quaker Questions.


  1. Read the above reflection.
  2. Write expanded answers to the four Quaker Questions as an exercise in self-understanding.


  1.   Read aloud Session LXIII.  
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

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