This text was contributed by Ed Dommen. Thank you Ed!

The session brought together participants from all over francophone Europe and Quebec. The discussion was lively, solidly grounded and well-focused.

One outcome is that some terms seem ripe for adoption by GMM, in particular

Culte = Meeting for worship

Secrétaire = clerk. Note that ‘secrétaire’ is an epicene word. For some time this word was avoided because in English Quakers use ‘secretary’ for a remunerated post and ‘clerk’ for an unpaid one. At present there seem to be no paid secretaries in francophone Quakerdom, so there would be no confusion in ‘secrétaire’, which actually is already in widespread use.

Recueillement, se recueillir = centre down. The participants were at one that the term is a good name for the centring down phase of meeting for worship, but not for the whole duration of the meeting for worship. Indeed that practice is already noted in the Quaker Glossary. The word has further meanings as well which are not peculiar to Quakers. Since the term is in any case not part of the nomenclature of official functions, no action is required by Monthly Meeting.

Suggested future Spiritual Deepening sessions on the subject

There is much that deserves further consideration.

• ‘Concern’, an essential but knotty Quakerese term, was not even mentioned; it needs to be put in the agenda of a future session.

• Diacre (≈ overseer) is the standard term among French Protestants for a social worker in the Church. In the Spiritual Deepening session of 17.03 there was some support for this familiar term, but also reservations because of its liturgical connotations.

Incidentally, participants with US connections brought up the fact that in the US the word ‘overseer’ was used to name a particular function in the slave economy. In the French slave economies of the Caribbean the corresponding term was ‘commandeur’. It crossed no-one’s mind to suggest that word to name the Quaker function of overseer !

Some participants argued that there was no need to assign a function name to individual members of a committee, they could be described as ‘members of’ the committee. Others felt the resulting phrase would be cumbersome.

The word needs further discussion.

Friends are reminded that a Glossaire Quaker or Quaker Glossary is available online. It is updated whenever the need is signalled to the editor. The current editor is looking for a successor. Any volunteer is invited to contact Ed via the Switzerland YM website.

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