convergent friends

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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

Friday

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

Saturday

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

Sunday

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

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picture-1Robin Mohr, Martin Kelley and C. Wess Daniels will be leading a (convergent Friends) workshop this coming February 20-22, 2009 at the Ben Lomond Quaker Center. You’re all invited. Here are the details:

Who is this program for? 

  • Are you seeking a deeper understanding of our Quaker heritage and a more authentic life in the kingdom of God on Earth, radically inclusive of all who seek to live this life? 
  • Do you think that some Quaker anachronisms are silly but you’re willing to experiment to see which ones still hold Life and Power?  
  • Are you not sure what you believe about Jesus and Christ but are willing to wrestle with this question?  
  • Are you quite clear what you believe but you’re willing to listen to others who are still struggling? 
  • Are you willing to listen and speak across the artificial boundaries and at the same time to respect the real differences and diversity that exist between and within Quaker institutions? 

What will this program include? 

The weekend will include time to share some of our spiritual journeys in small groups and in writing. We will listen deeply and lovingly to one another, as we speak courageously and gently about our own experiences of the Truth. We will explore what we can learn from each other’s stories, what it means to worship in Spirit and in Truth in the postmodern age, and how to share a lived faith as we serve all creation. We will walk in the redwoods, sing and laugh, have extended waiting worship, and eat together. We will experiment with some traditional Quaker practices and develop some tools to take home, to help us be the change we wish to see in our meetings, churches and the world. Expect inclusive and Christian language. 

To make this retreat accessible to families with young children we will be offering child care during the times that adult programming is in session, if we are notified by February 1. Download the registration form at the bottom of this post.

What is the cost for this program?   

The cost is a suggested sliding scale of between $140 and $220 per person, based on your discernment of your financial status. Nobody will be turned away because of inability to pay the fee. The fee includes the program, accommodations, and six meals.  There is an additional fee for child care. 

For more information on childcare, food, transportation, etc, please download the registration form here. Or other Questions?  Call or email us at Quaker Center. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. 

About the facilitators:

The three facilitators of this weekend are well known Quaker bloggers. They have led conversations with convergent Friends at picnics and dinner parties, the FGC Gathering, Friends World Committee for Consultation Section of the Americas, and Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative). They have written about the renewal of the Religious Society of Friends in Friends Journal, Friends Bulletin/Western Friend and Quaker Life.  

Robin Mohr is a member of San Francisco MM, Pacific YM. Her blog is called What Canst Thou Say? at http://robinmsf.blogspot.com. She coined the term “convergent Friends” in November 2005. 

C. Wess Daniels is a member of the Evangelical Friends Church, Eastern Region. He is now pursuing a PhD at Fuller Theological Seminary in Los Angeles on issues related to contemporary culture, missiology and renewal in Quaker meetings. He blogs at www.gatheringinlight.com

Before becoming an independent web developer, Martin Kelley worked for a number of years with Friends General Conference and Friends Journal. One of the earliest Quaker bloggers, he still writes www.quakerranter.org and since 2005 has published the Web-based Quaker magazine, QuakerQuaker.org. He has a passion for looking afresh at Friends’ testimonies, language and practices.

Download the registration form here.

On gatheringinlight I’ve posted a description of the convergent Friends workshop I’ll be doing in June. You can read over there for a more detailed explaination of the why’s and how’s. But I did want to post that description here as well.

Convergent Friends Workshop FAHE June 2008: 

“To seek through meeting together and dialogue between the various strands of current Quakerdom new life and light under the leading of the Holy Spirit–something that might be called ‘convergent’ or ‘emergent’ Quakerism?”

St. Louis 1970 ‘Future of Friends’

Description of Convergent Friends:

Convergent Friends is best thought of as a conversation among a variety of Friends from every branch, and more technically, it can be thought of as a hermeneutic from which Quaker theology and history is read in light of today’s cultural transitions and challenges. It rejects the idea of being called a movement, organization or something that indicates institutionalization.  It has no official ties and operates more as a meta-community for Quakers.  On one hand, convergent Friends appeal to the important role of tradition in shaping the spiritual and moral lives of the people within that particular historical community.  In this way it is a conservative sensibility because it takes seriously the primary texts, virtues and practices of those who started and profoundly shaped the Quaker tradition. This means that while not all convergent Friends are Christian, all are willing to wrestle with and acknowledge the importance of Quakerism as a part of the Christian narrative.  On the other hand, it sees faith (and the church) as always emerging, never a static entity. Thus, these Friends seek to engage the questions of contemporary culture for the purpose of bring the whole of life under the worship and mission of God. In this sense, these Friends have had a specific affinity to the emerging/emergent church conversation because their theologians have sought to disengage the church from the secularizing affects of modernity, while engaging the questions and issues that revolve around late-modernity, or post-modernity. 

Description of the workshop:

This workshop is a basic introduction to the convergent Friends conversation a brief history on the formation of this group, what they do to spread their message, what that message is (and why it is important) will be discussed. The workshop will consist of a short presentation, followed by interactive group discussion on this topic. You do not need to know anything about convergent Friends to participate.

Purpose of the workshop:

This workshop sets out to help people become acquainted with who the convergent Friends are, how they came about and what it is they do. The hope is that there will be some basic connections with concepts like emerging church, postmodernism, blogs, social networking, tradition and practice. An  excitement about the possibilities not only of the future of the Quaker church, but also of its present – that is what people are already doing to help reinvent the tradition – should be communicated. Finally, one should be able to walk away with some imaginative stirrings about new and old ways to connect their everyday life and worship.

Outcomes/Objectives:

  1. To be able to identify some of the key questions and issues convergent Friends are dealing with.
  2. To know a basic history of how this group came about, and understand their uniqueness within Quakerism.
  3. To recognize new ways in which the Quaker tradition is spreading.
  4. To discover ways in which we can become involved with convergent Friends.

The Four Converging Areas:

These four areas operate as the very broad categories of which convergent Friends have traversed. On the one hand, these should not be seen as wholly separate groupings, rather, they often operate together, informing one another and enriching the conversation. On the other hand, it is the fact that there is a plurality of gifts and interests within this group of Friends, no different than the rest of the church. Some Friends emphasize different aspects of these features, picking up on those parts they are most interested and gifted in. This allows for a diversity of voices and ministry among the convergent Friends. I would note, as far as I know, those who consider themselves convergent Friends, acknowledge the need for all four of these aspects, even if they don’t focus on particular ones.

  1. Emerging Church – Mission/Culture 
  2. Conservative – Tradition/Practice
  3. Friendship – Ecumenicism/Theology/Community (theology is the basis for our need to work together, it is also the (un)common language that we have).
  4. New Media (blogs, social networking, etc) – Community/Outreach
If you’re going to be at FAHE, my presentation is on Sunday at 9:30-10:45 in the Art Room (which I’m happy to have!). 

On Sunday, April 27, Robin Mohr will be in Greensboro, North Carolina. This day marks the end of the annual meetings of both Quakers United in Publishing and the Representative Body of North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative), which both happen to be in Greensboro this year. She would love to have dinner with anyone else interested in convergent Friends. You can read more about her trip and send her an email via her blog.

EDIT [Jan 30] – Thank you everyone for the support the cost is covered for the year!Our domain is up for renewal and I was wondering if anyone wanted to pitch in a buck or two to help cover it this year?  It’s $10 a year and I don’t mind paying for most it but a little help is nice as well.  Let me know if you’d like to chip in.  We can do it through pay-pal.

Robin recently announced a convergent Friends get together in Indiana this April, if you’re going to be there for FWCC you should check it out. 

If you haven’t seen it yet, you should check out QuakerQuaker.org. Martin Kelley, the mastermind behind the project, has updated the site, and added some great new features to the global Quaker blogging community.