(I am going to post this is several places if that is okay.)

We are starting a new Christian Friends worship group in the Ithaca, NY area. We will be worshiping after the manner of Conservative Friends. Our first meeting will  be on Feb 3 and we plan at this point to meet monthly, though that may change. All are very welcome! We plan silent worship at 11 a.m. followed by a simple potluck at noon.

Please contact me for more information.

For more information about Conservative Friends see their website at http://www.conservativefriend.org/faithandpractice.htm.

In Christ,

Barb

Views: 347

Replies to This Discussion

All the best from a former Ithaca resident.

I am ever so slowly, nearly invisibly returning to the Quaker blogosphere, and so I've come across your post.

I read it with some interest because the worship community where I most often participate has recently affiliated with Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative), a yearly meeting whose annual sessions I have attended a number of times. I am heartened to know and learn about a number of Friends who are exploring Conservative Quakerism in the States. There does seem to be some Life or similar renewal of the S/spirit as a result....

One clarification/caution I have regarding the website you list: that particular site, from what I can tell, represents only Ohio Yearly Meeting and doesn't speak for *all* Conservative Friends--that is, the three Conservative Yearly Meetings that exist in the U.S.

I have more to say about the site but am mindful of your reason for posting: I pray the Ithaca-area worship group bears good fruit.

Blessings,
Liz
Liz - I directed Friends to that site as my husband and I are fellowshipping with Ohio Yearly Meeting and they are the Yearly Meeting we hope to be affiliate with in the future.

Thank you for your prayers for our group,

Barb

Hello, Barbara!

Somewhere on QQ you solicited advice about what to do and what not to do in starting a new Friends' fellowship.  I am the only one still a Conservative Friend of the original four who started the Rockingham Friends Fellowship in Virginia.  I have also observed many attempts by others to start new meetings over the years.  So, here is some advice!

First, put your emphasis on good Christian worship and fellowship.  A few written statements about your group's Christian basis and identification with Friends (Coservative, if this is the tradition you choose) are in order.  Wait a while before you try to pin down the details: time will sharpen your understanding of what these should be, and it will help to build unity.  In short, nurture a fellowship rather than attempting to create an "institution".

Encourage everyone involved to avoid pushing personal agendas.  If your meeting is to succeed, God's agenda should be your focus.  Don't assume that His agenda just happens to coincide perfectly with your own.

Bear in mind that, after the initial "honeymoon" phase in the life of a new group, the issue of who is going to "be in charge" will inevitably come up.  Emphasize above-board decision-making (no back room stuff), discourage cliques from developing, and bear in mind that leaders in a Christian fellowship should be servants and enablers, not bosses!  Put the welfare of others before your own.

In Rick Warren's *The Purpose-Driven Church*, he identifies five different areas in which a healthy church should be active.  ."Rick Warren shares a proven five-part strategy that will enable your church to grow- warmer through fellowship- deeper through discipleship- stronger through worship- broader through ministry- larger through evangelism."

Don't just meet for worship!  Study together, play together, reach out to others together, help and uphold one another in life's struggles and opportunities.  This multi-dimensional focus is harder for a dispersed group to manage, but place a premium on it.

May the Lord bless your new group, and cause it to prosper!

Bill Rushby

 

 

 

Bill - Thank you for your encouraging words. I am taking them to heart as they answer some questions that have been on my mind for the past few days. I appreciate the thoughts and that the Lord sent some answers to me this way.

I have a question though. Weren't Jack and Susan Smith in on Rockingham from the start, or did they come later? They are our mentors in this effort.

It is good to know of your experience. I may pick your brain at another time.

In Christ's Love,
Barb

The Rockingham Friends Fellowship "evolved" into the Rockingham Friends Meeting after meeting for a few years.  Jack and Susan Smith arrived on the scene as the transition took place; they were not part of the Rockingham Friends Fellowship.

Various people became part of the Rockingham Friends Fellowship and then the Rockingham Friends Meeting, but the other three original participants left.  One moved away; he was (is?) Mennonite, but now teaches in a Quaker school.  The other two were a Quaker-Mennonite couple; they became part of the liberal meeting which developed in Rockingham County by some who did not want to be Conservative Friends.  Later, the Christians in that meeting left as it came under "Buddhist" influence and control.

Actually, the Rockingham Friends Fellowship was itself "Phase Two" of this sucession of groups; it developed out of the Gemeinschaft Fellowship, which included Friends, Mennonites and Brethren.  Gemeinschaft held unprogrammed meetings, modified to include singing.  As Gemeinschaft was "winding down" as a worshipping fellowship, four people (two Friends and two Mennonites) started meeting as the Rockingham Friends Fellowship. 

Right at the begining, we sought recognition from Ohio Yearly Meeting.  The yearly meeting never did give official recognition to the Rockingham Friends Fellowship.  Starting a new meeting at a distance from "yearly meeting territory" was too radical a development for some in the yearly meeting.  We did, however, receive frequent visits from OYM members.

The yearly meeting has changed radically since the 1970s.  It is a fraction of its size back then, and members of the old leadership clique have mostly passed on.  Olney is not a prime concern for the "newcomers", but starting new meetings in distant places has become the order of the day.  Increasingly, the "important people" in the yearly meeting were not raised in it, or even among Conservative Friends.

 

 

In the late 60s and early 70s I was part of a worship group in Cortland, not to far from you.  Eventually we came under the care of Syracuse Monthly Meeting though ultimately it wasn't a sustainable effort.  Blessings and godspeed as you gather today.

I overlooked "eat together"!
 
William F Rushby said:

Hello, Barbara!

Somewhere on QQ you solicited advice about what to do and what not to do in starting a new Friends' fellowship.  I am the only one still a Conservative Friend of the original four who started the Rockingham Friends Fellowship in Virginia.  I have also observed many attempts by others to start new meetings over the years.  So, here is some advice!

First, put your emphasis on good Christian worship and fellowship.  A few written statements about your group's Christian basis and identification with Friends (Coservative, if this is the tradition you choose) are in order.  Wait a while before you try to pin down the details: time will sharpen your understanding of what these should be, and it will help to build unity.  In short, nurture a fellowship rather than attempting to create an "institution".

Encourage everyone involved to avoid pushing personal agendas.  If your meeting is to succeed, God's agenda should be your focus.  Don't assume that His agenda just happens to coincide perfectly with your own.

Bear in mind that, after the initial "honeymoon" phase in the life of a new group, the issue of who is going to "be in charge" will inevitably come up.  Emphasize above-board decision-making (no back room stuff), discourage cliques from developing, and bear in mind that leaders in a Christian fellowship should be servants and enablers, not bosses!  Put the welfare of others before your own.

In Rick Warren's *The Purpose-Driven Church*, he identifies five different areas in which a healthy church should be active.  ."Rick Warren shares a proven five-part strategy that will enable your church to grow- warmer through fellowship- deeper through discipleship- stronger through worship- broader through ministry- larger through evangelism."

Don't just meet for worship!  Study together, play together, reach out to others together, help and uphold one another in life's struggles and opportunities.  This multi-dimensional focus is harder for a dispersed group to manage, but place a premium on it.

May the Lord bless your new group, and cause it to prosper!

Bill Rushby

 

 

 

Hello, Barbara!

  I suggested, in my comments about starting a new meeting, that "time...will help to build unity."  Actually, that was a bit too optimistic.  There seems to be another process that occurs in new groups: "the shakedown".  By this I mean that every new group that I have known goes through a thinning and changing of the ranks; some participants discover that the group really does not suit them for some reason, and they drop out.  Others come in who were not part of the initial circle.  Sometimes, power figures in the group discourage participants they think should not be part of the group.  This sorting process does build unity, but it is usually painful.

 It is important that the organizers and leaders of the new fellowship do not drive participants out, or prevent them from becoming involved, because they do not fit some idealized notion of who should be involved.  Define the identity of the new fellowship, but let God be in charge of who is and is not involved!

 

Bill Rushby 

 

Bill - I understand what you are saying. It is a delicate process that God is in charge of. It is our task to follow one little step at a time. As in everything human, errors are inevitable, but charity and listening can go a long way toward minimizing errors. It is interesting, though, how disunity builds toward unity, isn't it. I'm not sure there is another way. In other words unity will not necessarily include everyone who comes along and thinks they belong with that group. Perhaps that is not God's plan for them or for the group.

Just occurred to me.
Thanks for your concern,
Barb

Encouraging  healthy and deep relationships is critical to the success of a new meeting.  I have already mentioned several ways to nurture such relationships.  I would like to expand here on one of these; "study together".

 Several years ago I read a paper on the Trappist monasteries and their rule of silence.  The paper compared the quality of relationships in the monastic community before and after the rule of silence was relaxed to allow significant dialogue among the monks in a given monastery.  The authors found that the quality of relationships, measured in various ways, was significantly improved after the rule of silence was relaxed to allow greater dialogue.  What are the implications of this research for Friends?

In many Friends meetings there is very little communication and discussion on a spiritual level outside of the meeting for worship.  As a consequence, relationships in a meeting can remain very superficial; silence becomes a barrier to the development of deeper fellowship and mutual understanding.  In significant ways the participants never really get to know each other.  Those involved wind up pursuing their individual pilgrimages, even though they appear to function as a group.

Study together, and dialogue about important matters, are important in developing a strong meeting.

 

 

 

 

Hello, Barbara!

 

How about an update of the new Christian Friends group in the Finger Lake region?

RSS

Support Us

Did you know that QuakerQuaker is 100% reader supported? If you think this kind of outreach and conversation is important, please support it with a monthly subscription or one-time gift.


You can also make a one-time donation or get us something from our Amazon wishlist.

Latest Activity

Keith Saylor replied to Jean Yeager's discussion 'Why Do Primitive Quakers Cling to Traditition?'
"Hello Jean, It might be helpful to think of Primitive (relative to the first Quakers) as…"
46 minutes ago
Jim Wilson replied to Jean Yeager's discussion 'Why Do Primitive Quakers Cling to Traditition?'
"Good Morning Jean: I'd like to suggest looking at traditional Quakers (I prefer the term…"
1 hour ago
William F Rushby replied to Jean Yeager's discussion 'Why Do Primitive Quakers Cling to Traditition?'
"Hello, Jean! I vowed that I would stop posting on this topic for the rest of the day.  So much…"
2 hours ago
Jean Yeager replied to Jean Yeager's discussion 'Why Do Primitive Quakers Cling to Traditition?'
"Dear William, Thank you for your responses. They are helpful and enlightening. It has been my…"
2 hours ago
William F Rushby replied to Jean Yeager's discussion 'Why Do Primitive Quakers Cling to Traditition?'
"Yet again! For a more contemporary exploration of George Fox and the early Friends, try Lewis…"
2 hours ago
Keith Saylor posted a blog post

Presence is the

This morning I found myself in Spenser's sonnets and specifically:“After long stormes and tempests…See More
2 hours ago
William F Rushby replied to Jean Yeager's discussion 'Why Do Primitive Quakers Cling to Traditition?'
"Jean, it's me again! By the way, I grew up about 70 miles from Rutland, at Port Henry NY. The…"
3 hours ago
Patricia Dallmann commented on Patricia Dallmann's blog post 'A Review of Traditional Quaker Christianity'
"Glad you're strongly feeling Christ's Presence, Keith, keeping you whole and at peace…"
4 hours ago

© 2014   Created by QuakerQuaker.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service