Hey, Friends!

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?

In Friendship,

David

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Hi David!

I see that you're in Reykjavík.   I don't expect that you would have to start any "outreach program" but if you want to sit in the silence once a week, in a location that you have publicized to others you are meeting in for Quaker worship, I bet that would be a godsend for some others there in town.   All you'd have to do is post the information wherever is appropriate and just show up there and sit at that time each week, even if it's your own home.   Community doesn't have to be "made" -- it will just happen usually when you take that one step.  The right people, for example, will be among the ones who respond. 

Hi David,

You might not be "alone", as I personally remember having a Email conversation with (at the time) a young seeker from Reykjavik, it was about 8-9 years. So as Olivia mentions, a little publicity in Icelandic & English might be useful.

If you haven't already, I would contact FWCC - Europe & Middle East Section, who can help support you in your spiritual life and the practicalities such as having information about Friends.  I would suggest contacting either contacting Julia Ryberg or Marisa Johnson.

The links are below:

FWCC EMES Outreach and Ministry

FWCC EMES Contact

All the best and looking forward to hearing about developments.

Blessings and don't worry about being odd (well I don't anyway).

Christopher

Olivia, thank you! What a brilliant concept: a community doesn't have to be 'made', it just 'becomes' once you put yourself in a place and let people know who you are and why you're there. Love it. So simple and yet potentially so powerful. You've just given me the first step in my action plan ;-) Cheers for that!

Olivia said:

Hi David!

I see that you're in Reykjavík.   I don't expect that you would have to start any "outreach program" but if you want to sit in the silence once a week, in a location that you have publicized to others you are meeting in for Quaker worship, I bet that would be a godsend for some others there in town.   All you'd have to do is post the information wherever is appropriate and just show up there and sit at that time each week, even if it's your own home.   Community doesn't have to be "made" -- it will just happen usually when you take that one step.  The right people, for example, will be among the ones who respond. 

Hi, Christopher!

Thanks for the reply. That's so interesting about the seeker who contacted you - it means there's still hope for me that I'm not the only one! ;-) I wonder if they're still seeking...hopefully I'll find him/her one day, it's a VERY small world here!

To start with, I'm just going to put some little posters around on various notice boards, like Olivia mentioned, and see if eventually someone turns up to worship with me! :-) Cheers for the links, I'm going to check them out right now.

I'll keep you updated!

All my best,

David


Christopher Hatton said:

Hi David,

You might not be "alone", as I personally remember having a Email conversation with (at the time) a young seeker from Reykjavik, it was about 8-9 years. So as Olivia mentions, a little publicity in Icelandic & English might be useful.

If you haven't already, I would contact FWCC - Europe & Middle East Section, who can help support you in your spiritual life and the practicalities such as having information about Friends.  I would suggest contacting either contacting Julia Ryberg or Marisa Johnson.

The links are below:

FWCC EMES Outreach and Ministry

FWCC EMES Contact

All the best and looking forward to hearing about developments.

Blessings and don't worry about being odd (well I don't anyway).

Christopher

Here is a previous blog post that speaks to finding fFriends in remote places:

http://www.quakerquaker.org/profiles/blogs/letting-our-light-shine

I have since relocated to Switzerland, and see myself faced with the same question, again. However, this time I offered to the local church organization (reformed) to host a silent evening worship on a monthly basis at the historic steeple house. It was amazing to see how much interest there was in this mountain village (pop. 100) for such an initiative. 

My conclusion: if I am seeking Quaker companionship, I travel to the nearest Friends meeting; if I am seeking the opportunity to worship in community, I reach out across denominational boundaries. After all, the is only one Light that shines.

There's some really good food for thought there, Othmar Ferdinand, thank you. Especially regarding interdenominational cooperation. I was considering asking my Lutheran priest friend about 'borrowing' her church for an hour a month. Maybe I should pluck up the courage :-)

Hi David,

I once was invited to offer "Quaker meeting" to the Lutherans at a progressive church in Washington, DC because I was part of their community (in another way, though not Lutheran) and it was set up to fit within their context.  It was to bracket the 10 days leading up to the period of Christian Pentecost -- we're heading into that part of the church year now....     

We held "meeting" 10 days before the "Day of Pentecost" and again on the Day of Pentecost.  The first experience of this was kind of a disaster but we debriefed afterward and I helped the Lutherans to know that when they were trying to sit in the silence and felt they needed to go to the bathroom or get a cookie from the cookie tray, it was okay to do that and then return to a place of centered listening.  They didn't really know how to quiet themselves and were initially trying to ignore all their bodies were telling them...which only made them have more internal clammoring (spelling?)  

The second time was nicer for everyone, less stress, and some of these folks shared in the discussion we had afterward that this was a new kind of intimacy sitting silently with these people who they had known, in some cases, for 25 years...    and realizing that they'd never done that....

hmm.

I would definitely try to find some like-minded people and start your own worship group! We need fellowship, it is difficult to be alone in our spiritual practices.

Here, here! :-) I agree entirely. It is really difficult to be alone in our spiritual practices, as you said and fellowship is so much of what being a Friend is about. I'll keep you updated with my progress ;-)

Patrice Wassmann said:

I would definitely try to find some like-minded people and start your own worship group! We need fellowship, it is difficult to be alone in our spiritual practices.

Hi, Olivia! Thanks for sharing your story, it's really useful to prepare me for how things could potentially turn out in the beginning. I can understand why some people would find our mode of worship difficult, but I'll be sure to speak to everyone beforehand to make sure they're all comfortable. The cookie tray sounds fun, by the way ;-) I'll let you know how it goes when I chat with my Lutheran pastor friend, hopefully we'll be able to organise something similar to what you did - David

Olivia said:

Hi David,

I once was invited to offer "Quaker meeting" to the Lutherans at a progressive church in Washington, DC because I was part of their community (in another way, though not Lutheran) and it was set up to fit within their context.  It was to bracket the 10 days leading up to the period of Christian Pentecost -- we're heading into that part of the church year now....     

We held "meeting" 10 days before the "Day of Pentecost" and again on the Day of Pentecost.  The first experience of this was kind of a disaster but we debriefed afterward and I helped the Lutherans to know that when they were trying to sit in the silence and felt they needed to go to the bathroom or get a cookie from the cookie tray, it was okay to do that and then return to a place of centered listening.  They didn't really know how to quiet themselves and were initially trying to ignore all their bodies were telling them...which only made them have more internal clammoring (spelling?)  

The second time was nicer for everyone, less stress, and some of these folks shared in the discussion we had afterward that this was a new kind of intimacy sitting silently with these people who they had known, in some cases, for 25 years...    and realizing that they'd never done that....

hmm.

Hi David,

I would also recommend looking for a group to practice with - it helped me a lot to find likeminded people and I also think silent worship to be a powerful tool. If you can't find any Quakers, I would at least join a meditation group or class. It's not the same thing, but there's much to be said for regular meditation practice.

Anyway, best of luck to you!

My family is active in a United Methodist congregation, as there isn't a Meeting in our town.  We don't go to Sunday services much, but we do volunteer work through the church, our kids are in the youth group, and I go to a small group study every week.  I offered to host a "Quaker Style"  meeting for worship and the pastor liked the idea, though she said she didn't know if it should last a whole hour ;)

I love the fellowship of our UMC family, but I am really feeling the need for a Quaker community and unprogrammed worship on  a regular basis.

Othmar Ferdinand Arnold said:

Here is a previous blog post that speaks to finding fFriends in remote places:

http://www.quakerquaker.org/profiles/blogs/letting-our-light-shine

I have since relocated to Switzerland, and see myself faced with the same question, again. However, this time I offered to the local church organization (reformed) to host a silent evening worship on a monthly basis at the historic steeple house. It was amazing to see how much interest there was in this mountain village (pop. 100) for such an initiative. 

My conclusion: if I am seeking Quaker companionship, I travel to the nearest Friends meeting; if I am seeking the opportunity to worship in community, I reach out across denominational boundaries. After all, the is only one Light that shines.

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