Need a workshop idea, a way of building community, material for religious education? Faithful Voices can be the answer. Each person featured lived his or her deeply held beliefs, leaving a legacy in writing and deeds. Each script includes a brief biography and is followed by queries. About half the subjects are well known Quakers including Margaret Fell, Rufus Jones, and John Woolman, an fellow travelers such as Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Suitable for groups of any size and age from 12 on up or mixed ages, the material is read aloud twice so that everyone both speaks and listens. No preparation is required. Queries are provided for discussion. The ebook version is available in mobi (for Kindle readers) and epub (for all other ereaders).
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Thanks so much for Faithful Voices, a brilliant idea! You have put the essence of these people’s spirit and ideas into poetic-dramatic form in a lovely way. The result is inspiring.-- Howard Zinn
Reading these scripts aloud, in my workshops on "Art and Spirit", really brought us to the heart of the matter. We entered into the vision, struggle, process, frustration, and social movement of each "faithful voice," and found ourselves experiencing the stories as participants rather than as spectators. Don't just read this book silently--speak it, live it, and let yourself be touched by the witness and vision revealed! - Arthur Fink, photographer
Upon first hearing, the Faithful Voices of Ed Schwartz are soothing and simple; there is a spontaneous flow to the lines. But it is not long before the readers and listeners understand the deeper meanings of the dialogues. One is almost effortlessly drawn into the lives of the subjects, with intimacy and humanity. A group that embarks on a reading of the works will find the experience uplifting and rewarding; participants will find themselves left with a sense of having been brought closer to one another. A wonderful way to spend an evening! -- Mark Fraser, Co-director Woolman Hill
Using one of Ed's scripts is like taking a magnifying glass to a tiny moment in history. The cubistic effect of having many people read small bits of the story at a time enhances this sensation of focus. The thought-stream of an individual or the relating of an incident becomes present to the participating group in an original manner that is effective. These scripts are probably useful both by themselves with no preparation whatever (the way we have mostly utilized them in West Falmouth), or in context with educational events where other types of study are being used. They are a gentle positive way to introduce useful themes in Quakerism, so that many age levels can get something good out of them. - Eric Edwards
These readings will be useful for organizers of adult forums and education classes, and for informal social groups seeking to share personal views and experiences about the link between the inner life and the outward life of activism. The queries that accompany each reading evoke the kind of discussion and sharing that enriches the community life of every meeting. I've seen Ed's choral dramas work in a variety of venues for adults in our own meeting---sitting around someone's living room, a forum after meeting for worship, a group looking for inspiration at a peace and social order meeting.
I think that two things happen during these choral dramas. One, when reading, I concentrate on my role in the group of participants by contributing my unique voice, with its identifiable intonation. Two, I respond emotionally to the drama of the story and the poetry of the lines. For a total experience, it's important to be both a reader and a listener because something wonderful happens when I hear different voices reading consecutive lines. In other words, the value of the readings lies in feelings that go far beyond an intellectual analysis of an activist's life. This also means that my responses to the queries at the end of each reading can begin at a deep, human level, in the safety of the community of participants. It’s this melding of artistry and community experience that makes participating in choral dramas a unique, powerful experience for me and for my meeting. -- Louise Luckenbill