The Clearness Committee: A Communal Approach to Discernment in Retreats


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by Parker Palmer. Center for Courage & Renewal. Accessed April 14, 2017.

No one knows discernment better than Quakers and no Quaker has a more appreciated voice on the topic than Parker Palmer. Palmer, founder and senior partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal has long been a highly regarded speaker, writer and activist. In 2011, he was named an Utne Reader Visionary for being one of “25 people who are changing your world.” In this online article, Parker describes a two hour Quaker practice called a “clearness committee” and instructs the reader in how to conduct this meeting for the purpose of discerning an important decision or resolving a dilemma. His writing style is compelling and readable. The step-by-step approach of the article, along with additional clearness committee resources, including videos, will aptly equip leaders from any faith tradition in how to conduct a clearness committee with success. This process can be instructive for individuals, as well as leaders of teams who are seeking to discern the will of God and the best way forward.

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