Honestly, when I think of all the efforts I have made to have intelligent 21st century discussions about being a Quaker, and to find some kind of fellowship somewhere, anywhere, online whatever.   .  Back to square one I go.   .   wandering around the Internet, or from one Friends Meeting or conference or book or whatever to another in the 21st Century,   just going back to George Fox, wandering about in the 17th century until, at last, I understand again,  "There is One who can speak to Thy condition, even Christ Jesus."  And that's all I have to say about that.

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I remember someone once saying to me "why do you go to meeting/church when many of them are no better that non believer's "......my response was "I go there to worship God and He works through the imperfect". I still belive that's true, none of us are perfect but thankfully things become balanced when we join together and wait on the Lord. Thanks Laura for reaffirming that too me.

Laura, you might look into New Foundation Fellowship (nffquaker.org) as we also have found Fox and first Friends to be relevant. We'll be having a conference next July in Wyoming, and I hope that you will consider attending. 

Hi Patricia, well, you may know me by a different name but I did go to New Foundation gathering one year in Wyoming the year the great wind came up and chased us from our picnic. Thank you. I guess right now I have adjusted to the solitude and realize that endless discussion is just going in circles and I can go straight to my Teacher from here on out.


Hey there's an old joke about that.  When a church-goer asked a friend why she didn't go to church, the woman replied, "There's too many hypocrites".  He reassured her saying, "There's always room for one more." !
Shane Moad said:

I remember someone once saying to me "why do you go to meeting/church when many of them are no better that non believer's "......my response was "I go there to worship God and He works through the imperfect". I still belive that's true, none of us are perfect but thankfully things become balanced when we join together and wait on the Lord. Thanks Laura for reaffirming that too me.

And what I also mean is I am going to fast indefinitely from fancy talk.

That's a good on Laura, put a smile on my face!





Laura Scattergood said:


Hey there's an old joke about that.  When a church-goer asked a friend why she didn't go to church, the woman replied, "There's too many hypocrites".  He reassured her saying, "There's always room for one more." !
Shane Moad said:

I remember someone once saying to me "why do you go to meeting/church when many of them are no better that non believer's "......my response was "I go there to worship God and He works through the imperfect". I still belive that's true, none of us are perfect but thankfully things become balanced when we join together and wait on the Lord. Thanks Laura for reaffirming that too me.

Hi Laura...  

In years past, I have experienced many of the same emotions you have after many meetings for worship among Liberal Friends.  Unfortunately, Quakers don't have the same luxury as people of some other faiths do as far as being able to pick and choose among many local parishes/congregations/churches.  If we were Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist, Unitarian, etc., if one church wasn't feeding us spiritually or with good fellowship, there likely would be several others a little farther away we could attend that might give us what we crave.  There just isn't enough density of Quakers in most places to offer the same opportunity.  If we're lucky, there might be another Quaker meeting of the same type/stream that we could drive to - but in many parts of the country, it's even more unlikely to find a choice of Quaker meetings one can attend of different streams (Liberal, Conservative, Evangelical).  As a Friend with Conservative or Evangelical leanings in a geographic area where only Liberal meetings/yearly meetings are, it can seem lonely.  I'm sure the reverse is true as well - if you're a Friend with Liberal leanings in an area dominated by Friends of a different stripe, I'm sure it can feel similarly isolating.

That said, what to do.  I think you're definitely on the right track to lay it all before the Lord and wait on Him.  I have come to believe that some Christian Friends feel truly called to minister to and shine their light in more Liberal Quaker meetings - and are comfortable doing that.  There are other Christian Friends who are led more to worship and fellowship with others who are listening for Christ in worship and in their lives.  If you are one of the latter, as I think I have become, I will share some of the things I have been led to do to ease my sense of starvation and loneliness in the hopes that some of what helped me might also help you.  If you find nothing in what I'll share that is helpful, then just consider it as if I'm telling you about my journey - which can be interesting in it's own right (sharing our journeys I mean).

For a long time, I felt as if the "Worship in Jesus Christ" worship sharing that we did at New England Yearly Meeting sessions each year was my spiritual home - and it happened once a year.  It was the only place I could be where everyone was grounded in Quakerism as well as feeling personally called by Christ to follow Him.  Although I would follow Christ out of Quakerism if need be, I really do and did feel that I am both a Christian AND a Quaker.  I don't want to have to choose.

Searching for my "Jesus fix," I stopped going to my Liberal Friends meeting for a year and began checking out four different local United Church of Christ churches and an Episcopal church.  I got my Jesus fix in all of these places, but I lost my community and I also found that I would invariably get to the end of the service and be wondering when the worship would start -- and then, of course, everyone would be getting up and leaving.  Although I satisfied my Jesus fix by attending those churches, I greatly missed Quaker worship and, frankly, I missed Quakers - Liberal Quakers as they were.  I missed the people I had grown close to.  

Having been raised Episcopalian, though, something about their service resonated with me the most.  Although I've only attended one Catholic mass in my life, I suspect that would have resonated with me in similar ways.  Feeling lost, rudderless and confused, I went back to my Liberal Quaker meeting and jumped back in fully - resuming the same roles and committee work as I had been in before I left.  I did this with one difference though.  I kept attending the early morning service at the Episcopal Church.  This service was shorter than their later one because it didn't include singing any hymns - which suited me.  I got my Jesus fix, my Scripture fix and my communion (yes, I'm a Quaker who gets a lot out of the Eucharist - I don't need it, but I do like it).  

I met several times with the Rector at the Episcopal church, who was a wonderful man who prayed over me several times and generally gave me spiritual guidance.  I was above board that I felt I was a Christian Quaker who was drawn to early Friends, but that there was no such meeting for me to attend.  Doing weekly bible study with the Episcopalians, led by this Rector, also fed my soul and brought me closer to the Lord.  Doing bible study with them, seeking a relationship with the Rector and attending the early service every week sustained me.  After attending the Episcopal service, I could then go to my Liberal Quaker meeting and not feel starved.  This allowed me to go without expectations of being fed.  I could enjoy the people I cared for and even minister to them.  Many times, I was able to bring something from the sermon or Scripture verses I'd just heard to the Quakers.  The Lord blessed me with ministry that they could hear and appreciate.

I've not met anyone else who could get themselves to go to two church services or meetings every First Day, but I did and was glad to do so.  I did it for over two years.  Once I told the Rector that the Quakers told me that becoming a member was a little like getting married instead of living together.  I asked him if he thought I was having an affair with the Episcopalians.  He said he preferred to think of it as that we were "traveling companions."  I always liked what he said.  The Body of Christ encompasses much more than the Religious Society of Friends.

After about two years, in 2009, the leading/nudging from the Lord that I had been feeling grow inside of me for almost twelve years to start a Quaker worship group - perhaps one that had Christ at it's center - got so strong that I couldn't not do it - or at least try.  One thing led to another which led to another which led to me attending the first annual Northeast Friends in Christ gathering just before Labor Day at Powell House in New York.  I've attended every one of these gatherings (this year was our sixth annual) and served on the planning committee for all but that first one.  I found another spiritual home and community that met once a year - which was good because New England Yearly Meeting stopped having "Worship in Jesus Christ" - although I was told that they had it again this year.

Anyway, in addition to starting the worship group with another Christian Friend who served on my clearness committee shortly after that first NE Friends in Christ gathering, I also began to drive 50 minutes to attend another, much more healthy and functioning - and welcoming, Liberal Quaker meeting.  After some time, I asked to have my member ship transferred there.  I was able to worship there and serve on committees in the first two years of our worship group because the worship group didn't meet on First Day morning.  I was used to going to two services/meetings a week, so I just substituted the worship group for the Episcopalians.  Because I had found the Friends at the NE Friends in Christ gatherings as well as those in the worship group, I no longer needed to go so far afield for my Jesus fix.

It was at the NE Friends in Christ gatherings that I first met Friends from Ohio Yearly Meeting, which as you probably know is a Conservative Friends yearly meeting.  I am now blessed in my connection with OYM as an Affiliate member of a meeting there and with the worship group.  Starting a worship group was scary for me and is no doubt a story in itself.  I can't say that it has been easy or without conflict or difficulty, but we have been meeting every week on First Day morning since 2011 and have monthly business meetings most months.  Friends have come and Friends have left.  The Friend I started the group with passed away at the end of 2012.  As the Lord would have it, two other Friends were led to our group about a month before she died who have become core members of our group.  We are small and, as of yet, unaffiliated with any other Friends body.  We enjoy wonderful Spirit-led worship together and fellowship.  We are still exploring and trying to discern what the group's path is meant to be among Friends.

As I write this, it's hard for me to realize that all of this has happened in just five years.

I will pray that you can be faithful, Laura, and that you will find your people - as a Friend on my clearness committee said I was trying to do.  I wasn't ever sure I would find them - and now I believe I have.  I pray for the same for you.


Yikes!  I hardly ever post on QQ, but when I do, I guess I use a LOT of words...

Thanks Connie for sharing that long and winding journey!  I might have been being a bit overly theatrical to make a point about how empty liberal meetings feel for me.  I always say though, I=they are  pleasant enough.  But if I want to sit in peace and quiet with progressive educated people, the library will do just as well.  Also, it is more about me is that I just plain prefer to be alone, not just spiritually but in all aspects of my life, I am really just alone most of the time and have grown to prefer.  I don't care what sort of church or gathering it was,  I probably wouldn't want to go or participate.  I know we are told not to forsake gathering together, but I'd just as rather not anymore.   The only possibility that I can think of would be some sort of women only monastic or contemplative  and service group.  I know the Amigas del Senor have something going on in the Honduras, just two or a few more by now,  but I didn't feel called there.  I am not quite radical enough to sign on for voluntary poverty.    I have been re-reading the story of the Women's Commonwealth in 19th Century Texas.  Methodist women who split off and started their own sanctified community.  Anyway, .  I have peace on my own and also part of my point was not just that I am going to be satisfied with Christ alone, I am also going to be very untheological and unphilosophical and uneducated in my talking until further notice. 
 
Connie Bair-Thompson said:


Yikes!  I hardly ever post on QQ, but when I do, I guess I use a LOT of words...


http://www.quakerquip.org/?q=node/215   Link to book about the Honduras monastery.
Laura Scattergood said:

Thanks Connie for sharing that long and winding journey!  I might have been being a bit overly theatrical to make a point about how empty liberal meetings feel for me.  I always say though, I=they are  pleasant enough.  But if I want to sit in peace and quiet with progressive educated people, the library will do just as well.  Also, it is more about me is that I just plain prefer to be alone, not just spiritually but in all aspects of my life, I am really just alone most of the time and have grown to prefer.  I don't care what sort of church or gathering it was,  I probably wouldn't want to go or participate.  I know we are told not to forsake gathering together, but I'd just as rather not anymore.   The only possibility that I can think of would be some sort of women only monastic or contemplative  and service group.  I know the Amigas del Senor have something going on in the Honduras, just two or a few more by now,  but I didn't feel called there.  I am not quite radical enough to sign on for voluntary poverty.    I have been re-reading the story of the Women's Commonwealth in 19th Century Texas.  Methodist women who split off and started their own sanctified community.  Anyway, .  I have peace on my own and also part of my point was not just that I am going to be satisfied with Christ alone, I am also going to be very untheological and unphilosophical and uneducated in my talking until further notice. 
 
Connie Bair-Thompson said:


Yikes!  I hardly ever post on QQ, but when I do, I guess I use a LOT of words...

Link to the story of the Women's Commonwealth. 
 http://dchrisman.weebly.com/
Laura Scattergood said:

Thanks Connie for sharing that long and winding journey!  I might have been being a bit overly theatrical to make a point about how empty liberal meetings feel for me.  I always say though, I=they are  pleasant enough.  But if I wanhttp://dchrisman.weebly.com/t to sit in peace and quiet with progressive educated people, the library will do just as well.  Also, it is more about me is that I just plain prefer to be alone, not just spiritually but in all aspects of my life, I am really just alone most of the time and have grown to prefer.  I don't care what sort of church or gathering it was,  I probably wouldn't want to go or participate.  I know we are told not to forsake gathering together, but I'd just as rather not anymore.   The only possibility that I can think of would be some sort of women only monastic or contemplative  and service group.  I know the Amigas del Senor have something going on in the Honduras, just two or a few more by now,  but I didn't feel called there.  I am not quite radical enough to sign on for voluntary poverty.    I have been re-reading the story of the Women's Commonwealth in 19th Century Texas.  Methodist women who split off and started their own sanctified community.  Anyway, .  I have peace on my own and also part of my point was not just that I am going to be satisfied with Christ alone, I am also going to be very untheological and unphilosophical and uneducated in my talking until further notice. 
 
Connie Bair-Thompson said:


Yikes!  I hardly ever post on QQ, but when I do, I guess I use a LOT of words...

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