Opportunities in Spring 2010

Whenever I’m going to an interesting Quaker gathering, I try to write about them on my blog to encourage others to come. There are two such opportunities coming up in the next few months.

The first event is the Annual Meeting of the Section of the Americas of the Friends World Committee for Consultation. This year it’s being hosted by Baltimore Yearly Meeting, at a camp near Reistertown, Maryland, a little northwest of the city of Baltimore. The dates are March 17-21, 2010. Registration is still open through February 22. For local Friends, there are opportunities to attend the evening sessions without registering for the whole thing or staying overnight. The website has more details.

As long time readers of this blog know, my appointment as a representative of Pacific Yearly Meeting to the Friends World Committee for Consultation has been a great gift to me. The opportunity to travel each year to a different part of the Quaker world has opened many new doors. This all began four years ago when I was invited to help lead a workshop during the sessions about convergent Friends, with Wess Daniels, Shawna Roberts, and David Male. You can read more about these prior events – click on the tag FWCC at the bottom of this post for more of my blogposts.

The second is Quaker Heritage Day on April 10, 2010. Every year, Berkeley Friends Church hosts a day long seminar with a well known Friend (or two) on a topic that connects Quaker history with our contemporary practice. This year the speaker is Carole Dale Spencer, author of Holiness: the Soul of Quakerism, from Northwest Yearly Meeting. Here’s part of the description from the flyer:
“Holiness is an idea that has been more divisive than uniting for the Society of Friends. Yet it was unmistakably important in the experience and faith of the first Quakers. Carole Spencer maintains that holiness, while neglected by many Friends today, provides an ‘ongoing thread that serves as the common denominator of normative Quakerism’. Nor was holiness solely the domain of nineteenth-century revivalist Friends. In fact, we can see various aspects of holiness in the lives of Quakers throughout our history and in each of our divergent traditions. What's more, understanding holiness as a ‘spiritual quality in which human life is ordered and lived out as to be consciously centered in God’ opens the way for us to see the possibilities for our own lives, whether we might consider ourselves to be evangelical, liberal, mystical, or some other kind of Friends.”
The program opens with breakfast and a book table at 9:00 with the speaker beginning at 9:30 am, lunch break at 12:45, and closing worship begins at 3:00 pm. The event is technically free, although the suggested donation is $20 with lunch, $15 without. Child care is available if requested before March 21, 2010. (I’ve already put in my request for two boys, ages 8 and 11.) The registration form is now online or you can call 510-524-4112.

I can clearly trace the origins of the phrase convergent Friends to a dinner party after QHD in 2006 that radically changed my understanding of the Quaker world. I met Wess and Emily Daniels, Max Hansen, Margery Post Abbott and Peggy Senger Parsons. I wrote about that experience in Friends Journal in the fall of 2006. You can find more of my blogposts about previous QHD events by clicking on the QHD tag at the end of this post.

One thing that I have treasured in addition to the regular conference experience of these gatherings is the opportunity to meet with local Friends, readers of this blog, writers of other blogs, local Friends who are interested in meeting Friends across the Quaker spectrum, and random guests of the Holy Spirit who have joined us each time. I have called these convergent dinner parties, and there have been several that I have attended over the last four years.

I believe there will be one in Berkeley in March (email me at the address in my profile if you’d like more details as they become clearer).

I’m certain that there will be a convergent gathering on March 21, 2010, in Baltimore, hosted by Friends of the Old Town Friends Fellowship. (You can read more about them at their website.) I’ll be joining them for their regular Bible study at 5, semi-programmed worship at 6 and potluck dinner at 7. Rachel Stacy and Kevin-Douglas Olive are part of the hosting group. I think that Martin Kelley is likely to show up and Tatiana is still looking for a ride from the Eastern Shore. If you'd like to know more, leave a comment here or email me directly.

If you can make it to any of these, COME! It will be fun.

[An early version of this post had the wrong date for the convergent dinner in Baltimore. March 21 is correct.]

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Blogger Bill said...

Carole Dale Spencer delivered the Quaker Lecture at Western Yearly Meeting this last year. What she has to say is significant. I recommend reading her book (Holiness: The Soul of Quakerism). It's reading level is moderately difficult, but worth the effort.

2/18/2010 8:58 AM  
Blogger Bill Samuel said...

Did you mean March 21 on that last event?

2/18/2010 2:52 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Why yes, I did mean March 21. I've fixed that now.

I have Carole's book, and I'm reading it, slowly, but nodding in agreement along the way. I'm really looking forward to meeting her.

2/18/2010 5:18 PM  
Blogger BrianY said...

Hi Robin--

Thanks for the plug. We're hoping to do a moderately better job re: QHD promotion in cyberspace this year than last, but you've done a great job right here.

Thanks also for the link to the Seton Hill Friends group; Rachel Stacy was a classmate of mine at ESR and I'm glad to see she's flying the convergent flag in Baltimore.

And re: Carole's book, it was her (Woodbrooke/U Birmingham) PhD dissertation and then published with minimal editing, so it can be a bit dense. Definitely rewarding, though. Now that Wipf & Stock has reissued it, it's a lot easier to find than it was a couple of years ago, but it will be on the book table at QHD for any Friends who don't yet have a copy.

2/18/2010 5:57 PM  

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