6.21.2006

Convergent Travels

This summer, I put my money where my mouth is.

I think there is a growing movement within the Religious Society of Friends towards a greater unity. I think the renewal of classic Quakerism, with a deeper engagement of our traditions including our commitment to peace and social justice and our roots in the Christian stream, is breaking forth in many ways and in many places. I call this movement a convergence of Friends.

In March, I hosted an informal dinner for convergent Quaker bloggers after Quaker Heritage Day. In May, Chris M. and I led a discussion at San Francisco Monthly Meeting about blogging and the growing communication between Friends of different stripes.

In July, my family and I will be going to the Friends General Conference Summer Gathering for the first time. I'm looking forward to my workshop with Max Hansen. I've heard that the afternoon worship sponsored by Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns is rich and powerful. And Liz Opp, Martin Kelley and I will be leading a Monday night interest group. Here's the description:

On Fire! Renewing Quakerism through a Convergence of Friends

Excited by the renewal of classic Quakerism? Want to reclaim traditional disciplines and language that seem on the brink of being lost? Interested in new forms for a living faith? We'll share how we are communicating across Quaker schisms and addressing our spiritual hunger as Friends. Hosted by Friends from QuakerQuaker.org.


I'm hoping that this will be a chance for Friends to talk face to face about how we are finding strength and joy in being Quakers. There will also be afternoon discussions that are open to all Friends in the area sponsored by the Advancement and Outreach Committee of FGC. More details will be forthcoming soon, I hope.

After the Gathering, my family and I are going to Newberg, Oregon for the weekend. On Sunday, we will be worshipping at Newberg Friends Church. I look forward to meeting Gregg Koskela, Aj Schwanz, Cherice, Marta and Kathy in person. If we're lucky, we'll meet up with Peggy Senger Parsons and Johan Maurer sometime during the weekend as well. If you're reading this, and you'd like to join my proposed playdate/picnic in a Newberg park on Saturday, July 8, leave me a comment and your email or phone number and I'll send you more details when I have them. If you've never been to an evangelical Friends church before, well, me neither. Come on down. I think that one of the keys to convergence is being willing to travel outside our comfort zones - to just pick up and go to meeting for worship with a church from another branch of Friends. Remember we're all Quakers: you don't have to sign a theological statement of agreement before you come in to worship. In San Francisco or in Newberg.

And that's not all.

The first week of August is Pacific Yearly Meeting's annual sessions at the University of Redlands, in California. I'm still not sure if there will be a scheduled discussion group about Convergent Friends during the session or not. But on Saturday August 5, the evening of the last day of PYM, there will be an informal dinner in Los Angeles for Friends who are interested in cross branch communication at the home of Wess and Emily Daniels, similar to our dinner after Quaker Heritage Day. Again, if you'd like to come to that, leave me a comment and I will send you more details.

Each of these is a new experiment for me. It's more complicated with kids, and it's a little daunting for our whole family. But I feel so strongly that this is what God is calling me to do this summer. I ask that even if you do not feel called to these conversations or if the distance is too great for you to come, please hold each of us involved in the Light. Pray that we may recognize the work of God among us and see the next step before us.

Dear God, help me to walk cheerfully over the earth, answering that of God in each person I meet. Help me to know when I have had enough. Help me to know when my children and my husband have had enough. Help me to keep low and close to the Truth. Help me to know that thou art with me. Forever and ever, amen.

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robin,

It was quite a joy to meet you and your husband in San Francisco.

Can't tell you how thrilled I am about the interest group meeting at FGC. I stand in awe as I witness what just might be the most powerful move of the Spirit amoung Friends in over 100 years. Sure, there will be many hurdles to overcome in renewing our Faith, but it will be "not by power, not by might, but by My Spirit says the Lord."

I have asked Friend Martin to keep me informed of how this interest group plays out. Many of us in other Yearly Meetings applaud what is happening at the FGC Gathering. It seems that you are being led to bring the "convergent Friends" message to those of us outside of FGC (isn't that what convergent is anyway). My supprot and prayers are with you in this endeavor.

It is too late this year, but at next year's NCYM-Conservative perhaps someone could talk about this "revival" within Quakerism. No time now, but sometime I would love to share with you a conversation I had with a weighty birthright Friend in our Meeting about how the ideas of Conservative Quakerism are beginning to be revived.

Anyway, blessings to you and the Friends at the San Francisco Meeting. By the way, your Meeting proves that hospitality is not just a "Southern thing".

Love and peace,
Craig
Greensboro, NC
Friendship Friends Meeting
www.ncymc.org

6/21/2006 4:02 PM  
Anonymous wess said...

woooo.

6/21/2006 7:39 PM  
Blogger Gregg Koskela said...

I'll say it publicly: I'm so excited and honored that you and Chris M are willing to join us for worship...and even stay in our home! Come one, come all!

My prayer is that these face to face meetings take us to a deeper level of convergence.

6/21/2006 7:45 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Dear Craig,

It was so good to meet you. When you introduced yourself, Chris leaned over and said, that's him. I'm so glad our hospitality shined through for you.

Frankly, I am outside FGC - my yearly meeting isn't a member, I've never been to the Gathering before, but here I go - in two directions at once.

Hey Wess, woohoo to you too.

Gregg, your hospitality online and in person blows me away. Thank you so much.

6/21/2006 11:52 PM  
Blogger kathy said...

Robin, I'm so glad you're coming to Newberg in July. I have a Family Friends volunteer/kids get-together thing on the 8th from 11:00 to 1:00 or so but will do everything in my power to be available the rest of the time for whatever comes up. Make sure Gregg shares you with the rest of us!

6/22/2006 11:18 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Kathy, I do hope we will see you - maybe later on Saturday or early on Sunday.

So maybe I should ask Friends here which park we should go to in Newberg? Ideally for us, it would have a climbing structure (could be rocks or trees or a jungle gym), picnic tables, a grassy field and some relatively wild/untended space within sight of each other. Is that too much to ask? Three out of four woudn't be bad.

6/23/2006 2:19 PM  
Blogger kathy said...

Robin, that's not too much to ask. We have some great parks here and some of our homes have many of the features you're looking for. I'll talk to Gregg to see what he's thinking and catch up with you wherever you are on Friday night or Saturday afternoon. I'll be off to Vancouver Island in the morning. See you when we get back!

6/24/2006 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Aj said...

Yay: you're coming! I'm not sure Marta will be in town (she might still be in Thailand), but I know a bunch of folks who are so excited to meet you and the fam! There's a number of decent parks around, or we might go out and visit Tilikum (so cool). Plus, Gregg forgot to mention that he's got a pool. :) Thanks so much for doing this: it means a great deal.

6/27/2006 10:50 AM  
Blogger Gregg Koskela said...

Tilikum! Duh! That would be a GREAT place to take you. I'll get on that. And yes, we have an inflatable pool thing that has become the destination place of the summer.

If they won't let us in Tilikum, Jaquith Park is probably the best option, given your criteria. We'll get the word out...you're becoming a little bit like Elvis, you know, everyone wants to see you! :)

6/27/2006 12:19 PM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

Robin,

How can I express my gladness at your obedience to the call of the Spirit, including "putting your money where your mouth is"?

It sounds as if you are being a faithful servant, and I am glad to be a witness of one sort or another.

The gathering of Convergent Friends sounds important and incredibly nourishing. I trust I'll read more about it after the fact... and follow the links to other bloggers' reports, too.

Craig - If Way is open, you might consider asking Deborah Fisch at NCYM(C) sessions to share her perspective about how some Friends are returning to and/or looking at Conservative Quakerism for additional guidance. Deborah of course is the keynote speaker that is planned for your upcoming sessions...

Well, I am writing while traveling so will wish all of us well, however we spend our time this summer, including the upcoming weeks.

Blessings,
Liz, The Good Raised Up

6/27/2006 6:46 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

Robin,

Encouraged by Rob B., I checked out your blog, esp. re: FGC convergence stuff.
I'm a New England Friend, fired up about convergent stuff since preparing for and travelling to the World Gathering of Young Friends last year. (England and Kenya).
I'd love to hook up with folks around convergence at FGC. Sadly, with only one night of interest groups, the World Gathering of Young Friends interest group will be prevent me from joining y'all in the Convergent Friends interest group. It would be good for those groups to join up...
Maybe we can compare notes afterward.
This excursion to Newberg-- is it a day trip possibility for me? I wanted to worship with EFI WGYF folks in Tacoma on Sunday.

Thanks for being faithful and public with this message.

6/28/2006 2:20 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Hi everybody!

Thanks Liz for your words of encouragement and your general support of this blog! I am really looking forward to our time together next week.

To anyone and everyone who wants to meet up in Newberg - here are some further thoughts. On Saturday afternoon, I'd like to be somewhere that
1) my kids can just play happily all day and we could play with them at some points and chat with grownups at some points without having to be separated too much
2) is publicly accessible - so that people can come and go freely without imposing on anybody or paying admission (not more than a small parking fee, if necessary)
3) where we can bring deli-type sandwiches and/or afternoon snacks and other folks can bring their own lunch or snack or not, as they choose
4) we can name a little bit in advance, so that folks who might be driving down from Portland or up from Salem could figure out how to get there too.

I don't know what we'd do if it rains. Is that a very likely possibility? It's raining here today, which is unusual, so this possibility just occurred to me.

Thanks for your suggestions!

My last name is Mohr so if you're at FGC, you can leave me a note on the message board and we can look for each other.

6/28/2006 3:12 PM  
Blogger Gregg Koskela said...

Ok, I propose we meet Saturday afternoon at Jaquith Park in Newberg. It has picnic tables, a playground, and some trees/beauty stuff. Robin, you name the time, but it seems to me like noon-4 pm would be great.

If you're coming into Newberg on the main drag, 99W, go north on College St. You'll cross railroad tracks, and Jaquith park is on the left about a 1/4 mile past that. There's a Subway in Springbrook Plaza on the west end of Newberg, but even better is Pogy's...it's hidden behind a restaurant called the Yamhill Grill on the south side of 99W on the west side of town.

It could rain...but at this point, the forcast looks like sunny or partly cloudy in the low 80's.

The drive from Tacoma to Newberg on a Sunday is probably 3 and a half hours, for those interested in a day trip. We have three worship services at 8:15, 9:45, and 11:15 am. If you do come, please do come introduce yourself!!

6/29/2006 1:30 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Gregg, you are amazing. Thanks for everything.

See you all at noon-ish in Jaquith Park.

P.S. I've just been invited to speak to the teens at PYM about Quaker blogging. Chalk that up as another opportunity to talk about convergence!

6/30/2006 1:39 AM  

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