Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Does anyone else live far away from any meetings or worship groups? I live in Iceland and I can't find any other Quakers here. Sometimes I feel like starting my own outreach program to 'spread the word', but that seems a bit much for one guy and I don't want to be seen as the village nutcase! ;-) Any advice? Any stories to share?
Hello Friend David !
I think what thou art undertaking is to be commended, not beyond means, but in that thou art going out with that Light to share it with others, compelling them to come.
Are we not supposed to share with others the Hope that lieth in us with meekness and fear ? I admire thy courage indeed. I hope that others will come and that where two or three or more are assembled together, thither He is in the midst !
Follow the leading of thine heart. Thou canst never go wrong in doing so !
Peace to thee !
It is possible to join a Skype "Experiment with light" group. We share a doodle calendar and "meet" once a month. It is a beautiful, (sometimes painful) experience and there is deep trust amongst the group (UK, Sweden, France, Czech Rep, Palestine Moscow. The timing is usually 12.30 UK time. Email me if you are interested at email@example.com
I have been noticing (strangely enough) the similarities between Quaker process and the Icelandic form of government, the Althing. I wonder if you have learned anything about this connection, or if there is some way to reveal it locally to generate more interest in the Society of Friends where you are?
Here's the long and short of it: Quakerism arose in England in a geographical location where most of the inhabitants were of Danish descent. In medieval times, their location was called the Danelaw. In the absence of a local king, Danish settlers met locally to resolve problems and air concerns. When agreed upon, local concerns were then raised to larger and more infrequent quarterly gatherings. New laws were settled at an annual meeting consisting of all free men. One person, one voice--it was the nearest thing to democracy that's ever been seen. Nearer than here in the USA, where we rely on elected representatives.
This is the form of government that was first developed in England circa 920 CE, and then spread to Iceland as the Althing in 930, if my research is accurate. It seems to me it was later adopted by Quakers, the descendants of the inhabitants of the Danelaw, as a structure for Quaker process.
I am part of a monthly meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am on a committee that is working on outreach. I'm also interested in finding more ways to revitalize the interest of our younger members in Quaker process. I'm preparing to attend our yearly meeting. I wonder if we have interest, if we could contact you about your experiences in Iceland?
The cookie tray idea works well for any meeting that is not hung up on telling Friends how THEY should worship. For five or so years now, Friends at our liberal meeting get coffee, tea, cookies, or whatever makes them comfortable before worship and bring it into the worship room with them. If chewing a cookie for five minutes and sipping on coffee puts them in that spiritual centered zone - so be it.
We start our coffee and hot water by 15 minutes before worship begins and put out the snacks for after worship at the same time (15 minutes before worship begins). I think this whole 'do what feels right' started accidentally once when a visitor saw the refreshments and promptly sat down with cookie and coffee in hand for worship. When the visitor returned the next week, a few long-time Friends followed suit. Then it kind of just spread to the point that someone asked at Meeting for Business, "Should we be allowing that". The resounding answer was, "Hell yeah!", and that settled it. Adults don't make rules for other adults - period!
When a visitor recently came from a nearby meeting, she remarked after worship, "I can't believe how comfortable you make it for Friends to settle into worship". We encouraged her to share the idea with her meeting, but she said they would never allow it. That meeting has a committee of elders tightly in charge of worship. Our meeting does not (by choice).