convergent friends

Proposed Schedule for Convergent Friends Retreat

Posted on: February 11, 2009

This is our proposed schedule for the upcoming Convergent Friends retreat at Ben Lomond Quaker Center (February 20-22, 2009).
Reclaiming the Power of Primitive Quakerism for the 21st Century


4:00 – 6:30                   Registration

6:00 – 6:30                   Dinner Set-up

6:30 – 7:45                  Dinner and Cleanup

8:00 – 9:30        Introductions, Definitions and Warmups

10:00                           Quiet Time


7:30                            Early morning worship (optional)

7:30 – 8:00                  Breakfast Set-up

8:00 – 9:00                  Breakfast and Cleanup

9:30 – 11:30              Reclaiming Some Traditional Practices

11:30 – 12:00            Semi-programmed Worship

12:00 – 12:30               Lunch Set-up

12:30 – 1:30                 Lunch and Cleanup

1:30 – 4:00                   Free Time

2:00                        Intergenerational walk in the woods: Labyrinth or Waterfall

3:00                             Snack

4:00 – 6:00            Lessons from Convergent Friends in the Past

6:00 – 6:30                   Dinner Set-up

6:30 – 7:45                   Dinner and Cleanup

8:00 – 9:30            Tools for the Future


7:30                             Early Morning hike (optional)

7:30 – 8:00                 Breakfast Set-up

8:00 – 8:45                 Toast, Juice, Coffee, and Tea — and Clean up

9:00 – 11:00         Extended Meeting for Worship

11:00 – 11:30              Brunch Set-up

11:30-12:30                Brunch and Cleanup

12:30 – 1:30                Final Cleanup and Pack-up

1:30 – 2:30                Closing Discussion


5 Responses to "Proposed Schedule for Convergent Friends Retreat"

I won’t be able to get to the gathering, but I’m curious as to what is intended in the “Reclaiming Some Traditional Practices” segment. Are the traditional practices to be discussed traditional Christian practices, perhaps including some which Quakers have generally eschewed, or traditional Quaker practices, or both, or what?

Interesting question, and actually one that Robin, Wess and I might answer somewhat differently if we were each write a manifesto about what kind of traditions Friends might reclaim.

But in this particular session, we’re planning on focusing on the Christian testimony on plainness as understood by Friends. So traditional Quaker, yes, but not walled off from Christian practices.

I’m glad you’re following along with this and hope we get to meet someday soon. Wess and I are scheduled to lead a Philadelphia area workshop in the fall. Maybe we can get you up for that? All of your faithful online organizing over the years is definitely one of the pieces that have made this conversation possible. Later that afternoon we’ll be talking about Convergent Friends from the past and when we link the past to the present you’ll be one of the chains!

I can’t make it but if I were coming here’s a really brief version of what I would say.

Convergent Friends is trying to find itself at the moment. It will find a clear identity soon or it will disappear into the ether.

What Convergent Friends identity cannot be is a younger hipper more American version of FWCC. We already have a body whose purpose is remain strictly neutral while fostering communication among various branches of Friends. We do not need to reinvent this wheel.

What CF could be is an outreach organization that specifically looks to evangelizing the Evangelicals. Quakers have a specific and very viable version of Christianity that will strongly appeal to many open-minded Evangelical Christians who have never heard of Quakerism.

@RichardM: I really like that image of evangelizing the Evangelicals! That’s kind of what Fox and the early Friends were doing, after all.

I don’t particularly care if “Convergent Friends” lives or dies as a phrase but I don’t see it needing to organize in the formal sense at all. The big-staff, formal membership Quaker organizations were products of the 20th Century and I’m not sure they’re needed in the same way anymore. That doesn’t mean they’ll disappear, but they will have to change and whether particular institutions like Friends World Committee for Consultation (or even the Quaker “brand” itself) are able to adapt is an open question.

Not to be trite, but I think the key to relevance will be loving God with all of our might (read: listen to the Spirit’s direction) and loving our neighbors as ourselves (not hoarding our message or worrying too much about our internal Quaker sensibilities). It might look like evangelizing the Evangelicals.


I agree with you about big staff organizations. I personally lean towards having all Quaker organizations be staffed by unpaid volunteers. I know that can’t work for things like schools but NCYM-C has no paid staff and I like it that way. CF should continue to be a movement in this sense and should avoid turning into a bureaucracy. But my point was that I think the focus could profitably shift to evangelizing the Evangelicals.

Early Friends took their message to other Christians and tried to convince them them that our version of Christianity was the authentic one. Christ has come to lead his people, you are the people, so listen and he will lead you. The same simple message will work today if it is addressed to the equivalent audience of our time.

At least, that’s what I think.

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