16 June 2010

Leading Friends United Meeting, continued


Behind our building, construction continues

Summer scenes
New suburban trains 
made their debut this 
summer.
The Moscow Express has
individual reclining seats!
New meets old.
The Express takes only
fifty minutes from 

Fryazevo to Moscow/
Kurskii (skipping all
but two intermediate 

stops).
Russia Day crowds
celebrating just outside
the Kremlin walls.
Russia Day (June 12)
Russia Day
Where Moscow Friends
meet.
The main thing I'd like you to do today is to look at the comments that came in from last week's post on Friends United Meeting's search for a new general secretary. To make it easier, I'm just going to reproduce them right here, hoping that if you've got things to add, you can do it on this page's comment facility rather than having to go back and forth between posts. It was very encouraging to have Jeremy Mott comment extensively, with his extraordinarily broad perspective, and the counterpoint from Bill Samuel, whose reality checks are based on hard-earned experience both locally and within FUM leadership. (And many thanks to Bill Clendineng, who got the discussion started.)

So here goes:

Bill C. said...
Big Picture: Denominational structures no longer work.

Less Big Picture: FUM has a purpose statement that is only accepted with footnotes, addenda and other qualifiers by significant chunks of its constituency.

Tinier Picture: In spite of the above, FUM is dong some things very well.
10 June, 2010 05:55
Johan said...
Denominational structures no longer work. What does FUM have in common with "denominational" structures, and why don't they work? Are there reasonable structures to propose for this constituency? (Does the constituency itself still exist?) Early Friends probably would have claimed that the denominational structures of their day were not working, but that didn't stop them from setting up more functional structures.

FUM has a purpose statement that is only accepted with footnotes, addenda and other qualifiers by significant chunks of its constituency. I keep hoping that Friends will address each other directly, as adults, meeting-to-meeting, through approved minutes, if there are doubts about each other's commitments to FUM and its purpose. Otherwise, FUM can only proceed as if there is unity. Off-the-record sniping must cease or be challenged.

... FUM is doing some things very well. I'm sure that is true. What are those things, and how do we ensure that they remain part of the (yet again) restructured FUM?
10 June, 2010 09:59
Bill Samuel said...
To me, it's always been key that there is not really unity around the purpose of FUM. It seems to me that to be a member of such a grouping, constituent bodies should be able to adopt its purpose as their own. That this is a very long way from being true for several member yearly meetings is a highly significant problem.

There certainly are other problems, but I think they could be dealt with if not for this monster in the room. And the General Secretary has very limited ability to resolve the key problem.
10 June, 2010 12:34
Bill C. said...
To expand on my earlier comments:
Denominations are generally structured around three things: a set of common beliefs, a common tradition and a desire to work together on common tasks that are an expression of those beliefs. These three were tied together in the development of Five Years Meeting and Friends missionary activity in the late 19th century.

Fast forward to today: We no longer have shared beliefs and tradition, and so the common tasks begin to fall apart. Not just in FUM, but in many other denominational groups.

There is no longer a set of common beliefs in FUM. Many would prefer to organize as a group of autonomous yearly meetings made up of autonomous local meetings. Holding to common beliefs gets in the way of personal and corporate autonomy. But community based on personal autonomy will fall apart.

Shared tradition is disappearing fast. The history of Friends (and others) is a history of letting go of all that stuff in the past so we can focus on the latest faith fad. Shared tradition gets in the way and is moved to the museum of faith where we can keep it at arm's length behind glass.

For me, the FUM purpose statement was an attempt to state what parts of our tradition we are going to hold on to, and to affirm them. If that is its intent, then that could be a beginning place for restructuring.
10 June, 2010 18:53
Jeremy Mott said...
Right now, Friends are in the middle of choosing new general secretaries for four U.S.Quaker orgainizations: American Friends Service Committee; Friends Committee on National Legistlation; Friends United Meeting; Friends General Confeence; also a director for Quaker House of Fayetteville, N.C. I think that the gen.secs. for AFSC and FCNL have already been chosen, but not announced yet. The other three searches are still underway. For all these positions, we need someone with

(1) Wide experience and broad knowledge of the U.S. Religious Society of Friends, not just one's own part of it.

(2) Administrative experience.

(3) Speechmaking and fundraising abilities. Willingness to travel.

(4) Youth; anyway youthful vigor.

(5) Computer knowledge.

For Friends United Meeting, we need several other things as well.

I'll continue in my next comment.
Jeremy Mott
15 June, 2010 23:55
Jeremy Mott said...
I'll continue, with qualities for an FUM general secretary:

(1) An appreciation for FUM's history, back to 1902, as a "coalition" of Quaker Christians, in the Orthodox tradition.

(2) Willingness to tolerate the continual bickering in FUM, which also goes back to the beginning of Five Years Meeting in 1902. It's sort of "background noise." At best, it doesn't hinder working together. At worst, it causes schism.

(3) Continuing attempts to have evangelical Quakers and liberal Quaker Christians work together in FUM, as they have often done since 1902. No attempts to "purify" Friends United Meeting in any way. No insistence that someone else, also attempting to follow Jesus, has no legitimate place.

(4) A renewed home mission effort. The obvious need is to help Great Plains Yearly Meeting (I haven't seen this year's minutes of that y.m.; I hope they haven't already decided to lay themselves down.) Their work in Nebraska seems to be almost over: but they have much to do in Kansas and Oklahoma: the Indian mission at Wyandotte needs a pastor and no doubt funds; the fine pastoral couple at Hominy Friends meeting (another Indian mission) are doubtless woefully underpaid; and Mid-America Y.M. is abandoning its support of the Hispanic Friends churches in Kansas; the Emporia church is trying to carry this work on, but surely can't do this all by itself. Great Plains Y.M. is a member of Friends United Meeting, and it's a Quaker emergency.

I'll continue. Jeremy Mott
16 June, 2010 00:26
Johan said...
Thank you, Bill and Jeremy. I'll do my best to direct some attention to Jeremy's thoughtful list of desirable qualities for FUM's general secretary.
16 June, 2010 00:37
Jeremy Mott said...
(5) There is other home mission work to be done as well. Clearly a pastoral Friends meeting is needed in Washington, D.C., or in that area. FUM should help Baltimore Y.M. to found it, by seeking a pastor through ESR or elsewhere, etc.; Baltimore Y.M. has plenty of money for this. A pastoral meeting in Washington would serve Friends from all over the country and all over the world who come to live and work there. It's even more needed than the pastoral meeting in New York City that New York Yearly Meeting started, with the help of FUM, about 15 years ago.

(6) I'm sorry that the Associated Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs laid itself down a few years ago. The Quaker Indian schools around the United States, and their mission churches too, need attention from beyond their own yearly meetings. We need a Native American Quaker Education Fund, or something like that, modeled on Bolivian Quaker Education Fund, which has been a tremendous success. In NAQEF, individual Friends and meetings could sponsor Indian students at different schools and colleges, and Quaker pastors and camps on reservations; a group of mostly American Indian Friends would decide how to distribute the funds otherwise. The yearly meetings which were formerly part of ACFIA (and all have Indian missions) should join; also Philadelphia and Baltimore Y.M.'s (which have internal foundations for Indian missionary work); also New York Yearly Meeting (which has always done Indian work); and Alaska Y.M. (EFI), which is all Eskimos, should be invited. I think it could be made to work very well.

I'll continue again. Jeremy Mott
16 June, 2010 00:47
Jeremy Mott said...
(7)Clearly, Kenyan Friends need to be encouraged to do more for themselves. Kenya is a far wealthier country than Bolivia, where Friends are self-supporting except for their educational efforts. So why not set up an East African Quaker
Education Fund too?

All this is an ambitious agenda. It would take two or three people, I'm sure, and quite a bit of money. Yet I'm sure that if we really need the money we can raise it. Newton Garver (BQEF), and Nadine Hoover (FPT--Indonesia Program), and David Zarembka(FPT--African Great Lakes Initiative) and the Friends at Center on Conscience & War and Quaker House of Fayetteville have taught me that. (I mention here, on purpose, only Friends probably too "liberal" for the FUM job. I'm sure that FUM has good fundraisers too.)

The search committee should read, and probably will, the new FUM edition of the Autobiography of Allen Jay. He was a firm proponent of Quaker unity (at least among the Orthodox of his day), and a gifted fundraiser. We need someone like him.

I don't expect for FUM to always go my way or to be "pure." I do expect it to be useful, and I think it has a lot of work to do. even now in its second century. I have aged before my time and am not very well. But I hope and pray that Quaker mission and Quaker Christian educational work will continue. After all, it's FYM/FUM missionary work, along with EFI missionary work and even considerable missionary work by liberal Friends, that have made the Religious Society of Friends a worldwide church, of which we in the U.S.A. are just a small and squabbling part.
Jeremy Mott
16 June, 2010 01:32
Bill Samuel said...
Jeremy, you have a number of good insights. There is one point I would question based on my experience.

I was part of an effort to explore establishing a semi-programmed meeting/church in the DC area a couple of decades ago, which the BYM Gen. Secy helped with. We contacted all pastoral YMs in the US to try to find folks from them who were now in our area. We also had some contacts with Friends from Kenya in the area.

It sounded like a good idea, but we were unable to find pastoral Friends in the area who would put energy into it. I don't have any real reason to believe the situation has changed much.

Also, I do not think it could be connected to BYM. While BYM might accept a meeting with a different style of worship, this meeting would also have to have a different faith basis. That is basically unacceptable within BYM.

This I was told directly by the then Clerk of A&O, a former BYM Clerk. When our subsequent Friends in Christ effort talked with BYM leaders about possible affiliation within BYM, they said it would split the YM. Quite recently, another Christian Friends worship group in Baltimore had their request to be taken under the care of a MM turned down, altho the group was founded by the then current clerk of that meeting's M&O.

From the other side, affiliation with a liberal YM would be the kiss of death to many Friends who might be attracted to a pastoral meeting.

FUM couldn't really help much because it is hamstrung by BYM being affiliated altho it clearly does not share FUM's purpose. The only possibility would be if NCYM would take the lead, and it is too dysfunctional to be able to do so. (Friends in Christ explored that possibility before.)

So any such effort would either need to be 1) clearly independent of existing Friends structures (which makes it really difficult to get going), or 2) a project of Eastern Region. In either case, what would be needed to start, I think, would be some Friends in the area who themselves strongly wanted a pastoral meeting.
16 June, 2010 02:21
Jeremy Mott said...
Thank you Bill, I thought you might write something like this. The truth is that Baltimore Y.M. is not, and never has been, a truly united yearly meeting. The two yearly meetings "reunited" about 1967---some 12 years after Philadelphia and Canadian and New York Y.M.'s, and 22 years after New England Y.M. In Baltimore Y.M., Homewood was never pastoral, and despite its Orthodox heritage it quickly turned anti-FUM. In Richmond, Va., the pastoral meeting became a non-pastoral and "liberal" meeting at about the same time the two Baltimore Y.M.'s were said to have reunited. (I am a graduate of Sandy Spring Friends School, the class of 1963, the first class to graduate. The son of the pastor at Richmond was in the next class.) Of course, the Orthodox meetings of southeastern Virginia found the reunited Baltimore Y.M.so uncongenial that they left and joined North Carolina Y.M. (One of these meetings, Somerton, was pastoral but had and probably still has silent worship.) The funniest but actually saddest of these stories is the meetings in Baltimore Y.M. at Fishertown and Dunnings Creek, Pa. They were both very small in 1967; they both were silent meetings; but they did not re-unite locally, laying Fishertown down, until 2009---some 42 years later. Attendance is now six, instead of three each. The only place like this at all in New York Y.M. was Chappaqua, where the two unprogrammed meetings did not re-unite until 1967, 10 years after the y.m.

I think that the trouble in Baltimore Y.M. is that they caught the anti-pastoral and anti-programmed-worship and anti-Jesus viruses from Philadelphia Y.M., and by now are just as sick or worse.

I'll continue.
Jeremy Mott
16 June, 2010 08:17
Jeremy Mott said...
Still more, Bill. I really appreciate hearing your terrible story about trying to set up a semiprogrammed meeting in the Washington area. First, there's the matter of who might join. Times have changed. There's a group of young Friends, outspoken Quaker Christians I believe, who meet at an otherwise disused meetinghouse on Courtland St. in Baltimore. Now, admittedly this is Baltimre, not Washington, but it's not awful far away. Also, there are a lot of Burundian refugees in the U.S.A. now, and they include a number of Burundian Quakers. In Baltimore, Burundian Quakers have joined the Hispanic (EFC-ER) Friends church, which is looking for a church building. (Why haven't they been offered the use of Courtland St, I wonder. Who owns this building? Is it a group of Friends who will let white people use their old meetinghouse but not black people?) Yet in both Louisville and in Atlanta, there are Burundian Quaker refugees who have joined and are participating fully in the "liberal" Friends meeting, regardless of differences in theology. These Burundians have brought wonderful music and a lot of hard physical work as their gifts to their new meetings. And Atlanta meeting has something else, semi-programmed worship, not primarily for Burundians but primarily for European Americans, every week (I think on a weekday evening). The Atlanta meeting newsletter is available on the web. So Louisville and Atlanta meetings are in fact united, spiritually united despite their lack of theological unity and their FGC-only affiliation. A united meeting can be a wonderful thing, if it's truly united, with no one thinking
they have a monopoly on Truth.

I'll continue. Jeremy Mott
16 June, 2010 10:02
Jeremy Mott said...
As to place of worship, I imagine there are several solutions. On the Sandy Spring school property, there is an old Orthodox meetinghouse. And wouldn't your church rent, for a reasonable fee, on Sunday afternoons or evenings? As to affiliation, that is much more difficult, but not impossible. Maybe Indiana Y.M. would return to its old role of offering affiliation to distant meetings that didn't want or couldn't use another way to gain FUM affiliation. From 1910 or so to 1948, Puget Sound Quarter in Washington state was affiliated with Indiana Y.M., not Oregon Y.M., because Oregon Y.M. was much too fundamentalist for Friends in Washington state. Or maybe North Carolina Y.M. no longer is so problematical, I don't know. Of course, FUM would be well within its rights in setting up an Eastern Assn. of Friends, on the model of Western Assn. of Friends in California, which allowed Whittier and now Berkeley Friends Churches to stay in FUM when California Y.M.withdrew. This would cause a lot of friction with FUM; let Indiana Y.M. be your affiliation instead. There are advantages as well as disadvantages in the fact that every yearly meeting is independent. What would Philadelphia y.m.(FGC) have to say about programmed worship in Northern Y.M., in SAYMA, and in Ohio Valley Y.M.? And Burundian evangelical Friends in the last two places; a meeting that left Iowa Y.M.(FUM) in Northern.

Peace to you, Friend You may some reward for all you've done for Friends.
16 June, 2010 10:47
Bill Samuel said...
The Baltimore group - Old Town Friends - meets at the Aisquith St. Meetinghouse. This is not owned by Friends, and another church meets there Sunday morning & afternoon. I think the gay issue would be a significant barrier for it to work with the evangelical Friends groups, as it was founded by gay activists.

In Washington, a mostly young Christian Quaker group meets a couple of Wednesdays a month at William Penn House, organized by Micah Bales. That timing is difficult for many. I'm sure Micah would be interested in contacts with Burundian Friends in the area, but how many could make 6 PM on Wednesdays I don't know.
16 June, 2010 12:37
Jeremy Mott said...
I'll omit any further discussion of where attenders of a new Quaker Christian fellowship in the Washington area might come from, and where it might meet. I just assume that if such a fellowhip is in God's plan, attenders and a place to meet will be found. Maybe not many attenders, maybe a few inadequate places to meet. But they will be found somehow, if such a fellowship is a right leading. I think it is. I also think that you were right in determining that a Quaker Christian fellowship affiliated with FUM was not a right leading for you, and probably not for anyone; because Baltimore Y.M. is not a genuine member of FUM and will try to keep such a fellowship from existing. I'm glad that you sought and found another church which seems to meet your needs. If I had been in your place, I probably would have joined the Church of the Brethren.

Yet it sounds as though there are still some Quaker Christians in your area who wish to be affiliated with a yearly meeting. This is important for spiritual reasons as well as practical ones. Might these Friends consider a Conservative Yearly Meeting? Ohio Y.M.(Conservative) would probably be too strict: not only no pastors, but no semi-programmed worship, no gays and lesbians recognized in any way, etc. However, North Carolina Y.M. is known as the most open of the Conservative Yearly Meetings. Of course, in that yearly meeting one could not have a pastor (but a group might hire a pastor elsewhere for counseling, I suppose); one would be encouraged to develop and record ministers; gays and lesbians are already permitted; African-Americans are already present, military veterans and political radicals. And who knows? I think that they would accept a meeting which had semi-programmed worship. All they would really require would be an attempt to worship in the Spirit of Christ. See if your acquaintances might be interested in this. It is a small project, not grandiose, but that may be what is needed to root Quaker Christianity in the Washington area. North Carolina Y.M.(Conservative) meets, according to the FWCC calendar, from 7/14/2010 to 7/18/2010. Attending the sessions might be a useful experiment.

Peace, Jeremy Mott
17 June, 2010 00:30 
Johan says today: Jeremy and both Bills have made important additions to the stock of ideas and visions that might encourage future Friends United Meeting leadership. I am really interested in seeing the conversation continue. Among other points, here are some specific things I'd love to see addressed:

First, back to Jeremy's point (2) of an FUM leader's characteristics: Willingness to tolerate the continual bickering in FUM, which also goes back to the beginning of Five Years Meeting in 1902. It's sort of "background noise." At best, it doesn't hinder working together. At worst, it causes schism. Don't we need someone (perhaps not the paid executive, but someone to say enough is enough? It's not that the issues are unimportant, but the style of dealing with them has been terrible. The 2007 identity retreat in Plainfield was supposed to look directly at this issue, but I don't see that it made much difference, because the style of conflict is both ingrained and dishonest--it's factionalism, pure and simple. If the constituent yearly meetings did the hard work of defining their boundary issues in writing, in the form of minutes, and sent their representatives to FUM's deliberative bodies with clear guidance from their constituencies and an expectation that they are to gather to seek God's will, not the approval of their factions, you'd have a lot less righteous heroism and offstage politicking. I don't think a new FUM general secretary has to be abrasive or arrogant in confronting the old behaviors, but I don't think he or she has to meekly accept it, either.

Second, I doubt FUM can administratively reverse the decline of local and yearly meetings that don't have a local vision for growth, or who simply, through nobody's fault, face the prospect of a natural death. FUM has sometimes seemed nearly paralyzed by the expectation that it must maintain its existing program and structures. What if it primarily became a prayer anchor and think tank for a revival of Quaker vision and new initiatives, new partnerships? Isn't it time for FUM to ask what Jesus is doing in the world, and where our particular heritage of discipleship would strategically do the most good? In the service of such a priority, FUM would be looking to attract representatives from the yearly meetings, and staff and volunteers, who understand the urgency of confronting the world's bondages rather than perpetuating our internal conflicts and quakerly conceits.

It's not either/or, of course. The stewardship of existing resources and relationships will always be important, and we will still need some Friends who are gifted to attend to that stewardship. But that ministry is not attracting new money and new energy. I'd love to see Friends United Meeting catalyze Quakerly attention to such opportunities as these:
  • creatively expressing prophetic Quakerism in new media, directed toward real people experiencing real bondage (spiritual, social, economic)--not a message primarily concerned with how wonderful we are, but what God wants to say through us to those facing crisis;
  • confronting (in the USA, especially) the apparatus and economy of permanent warfare, and exploring the evangelistic and political dimensions of refusing to live in fear;
  • supporting each other in economic and ecological discipleship;
  • envisioning a whole new era of functional ecumenism, as all the old denominational and ecumenical structures continue to fade at the same time as creative grassroots connections spring up among diverse believers;
  • equipping our increasingly mobile Quaker population to be seeds of new worship groups and churches wherever they might find themselves;
  • learning what it means both to welcome immigrants and to be immigrants.
Ultimately, God's purposes will be worked out whether or not Friends institutions survive. Other Christians have taken our founding insights and applied them on far larger scales than we have. But if there is anything still powerful and persuasive in our witness, anything that can still empower people to say "no" to death and "yes" to life, to live together with Jesus at the center, to explore diligently the ethical consequences of that life, then let's give FUM and its staff a chance to catalyze that identity and those resources to keep reaching beyond ourselves.



I've run out of time--so here are just a few links from the past week:

Does Russia need a memory law? And from the same source, Why are Kyrgyzstan's slum dwellers so angry?

Maybe your grace period has expired.

A Russian friend asked me why the USA had turned down an offer of help from Russia for the oil disaster. I hadn't heard that the USA had in fact done so, but this article made me wonder.

Community gardening in Northwest Yearly Meeting.

If you'd like to make your own Hayabusa amigurumi.... (Context.)

A book on how not to change the world. 'The irony is that there is no phrase more beloved to a certain kind of Christian than "to change the world." But in [James Davison] Hunter's persuasive account, the strategies those very same Christians have pursued are, by themselves, woefully incapable of changing the world.'



Rita Engedalen, "Where Does Everybody Go?" (See here for other videos from grammofon.no.)

28 comments:

Bill Samuel said...

There are voices for renewal among North American Friends that are networking and inspiring folks. Mostly young adults. People like Martin Kelley, Micah Bales, Wess Daniels, Robin Mohr, etc. They come from different parts of the Quaker spectrum but they aren't interested in preserving a particular branch. They represent a real hope for the future of Friends in North America.

Where does that - should that - intersect with the branch bodies? I doubt that these winds of renewal would be served by having an institutional place in the old associations. But the associations can invite them to speak and hold workshops at their gatherings, and publish their writings in newsletters and magazines.

If this fresh wind builds momentum, I don't think the structure of Quakerism in North America in 20 years will look like its structure today.

The effects on the international scene are less clear, but it can already be noted that there are significant parts of Friends in other places who aren't terribly concerned about the divisions as seen in North America, and are quite willing to work with Friends from our part of the world regardless of affiliation.

And here the key work has been done by Friends of all ages. The kinds of connections which have been made in the Great Lakes Region of Africa and in Bolivia could serve as something of a complementary effort to the cross-branch renewal movement in North America.

Jeremy Mott said...

Bill, I am in agreement with your
comment today. Before we got sidetracked in trying to figure out how Quaker Christianity might be rooted in the Washington area---
it will happen somehow if it's in
God's plan---maybe evangelical
Friends and gay and lesbian Friends will work togehter---they
are sometimes one and the same
people---I wanted to make a few
more comments on Quakerism worldwide. We're a growing church. There is a new yearly
meeting---usually evangelioal---
every two or three years in some
corner of the world. Many U.S.
Quakers, of all ages, try to help
Friends overseas.
(1) My wife and I give quite a bit
of money, for us, to FUM, because of its work in Kenya, Ramallah,
Belize, and someday Cuba again.
We think that this is exciting.
(2) We also give to Bolivian Quaker Education Fund. This consists of mostly liberal Friends in New York, New England, Phila., and the North Carolina yearly meetings, plus Pacific, Britain, and Ireland Y.M.'s., sending money to Bolivia for university scholarsips for Bolvian Friends.
A board of Bolivian Friends awards the scholarships. $600 a year is
all the money needed (assuming the
student lives in the family home).
There are also teacher exchanges between Bolivian and U.S. Quaker schools and the like. Of course,
Bolivian Friends are all Aymara
Indians, and all evangelical or
holiness Friends. BQEF has brought
AVP to Bolivia. All this is trans-
forming Quakerism in Bolivia, and
having a big effect in the U.S. as well. No one waited for
theological unity; Friends just
went ahead and did as seemed right.
(3) Friends Peace Teams---African
Great Lakes Initiative is maybe even more remarkable. It is based
among liberal Friends in Baltimore
and Illinois Yearly meetings and
elsewhere; it works healing genocide in Rwanda, Burundi, and eastern Congo, also in Kenya, with
AVP. It works closely with the FUM and EFI yearly meetings in Africa,
with the U.S. Institute of Peace
and with AFSC. The major method
of work is AVP and an expanded version known as HROC.
I'll continue. Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Bill and any readers, There are
still other things like this going on. The Friends Peace Teams---Latin America Program works to heal the wounds of civil war in
Guatemala and El Salvador and elsehere in Latin America. It works mostly with Roman Catholics,
but also with the numerouse evangelical Friends in those countries. This is the brainchild
of a liberal Friend, Val Liveoak.
AGLI is the brainchild of a liberal Friend, David Zarembka. BQEF is the brainchild of a liberal Friend, a follower of Jesus he does say, Newton Garver. Yet all these groups work abroad
very largely,, somtimes entirely,
with evangelical Friends.
So an important task, maybe the
single most important task, for a new FUM general secretary is to help FUM people in the U.S.A. to
connect with this. They can be
excited as well, I'm sure.
Another important task is to help
Friends in FUM deal with the inevitable decline our yearly and
monthly meetings face in most of the U.S.A. We're in the Rust Belt; the small cities of Indiana, and the large cities of upstate
New York, have dying industries or
dead industries; there are fewer
Quaker farmers all the time. Only
in the South, and in the Washington, D.C., area, is the
Quaker or potentially Quaker population growing spectacularly.
Friends churches will increasingly
have to get along without pastors,
or part-time pastors who are also
prison chaplains, hospital chaplains, counselors, etc. Semi-programmed meetings will become
commoner, with worship run by the members themselves. A lot of this
is already happening; but a good
FUM gen.secy. can help it to ease
the transition.
Still another task, as Johan says,
is to help FUM renew its testimony
against war. Why do FUM yearly
meetings contribute little or nothing to Center on Conscience
& War and to Quaker House of Fayetteville? To FCNL? Surely
more could be done.
I'm afraid that the continual
Quaker conversation on the blog-
osphere doesn't give me a lot of
hope. An awful lot of it is ignorant of our history, and a lot
seems to me to be just grousing.
There are all sorts of opportunites right now for Quaker work and service, in the U.S.
and around the world. In our
venerable institutions, like FUM and AFSC, and in our new institutions. like BQEF and
FPT and CCW and Quaker House.
Much of it's volunteer service,
but that's a Quaker tradition too.
Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Bill and others,
I'd like to bring the Clarence Pickett Fund to the attention of
readers. This was formed, about 15
years ago, by Wilmer Tjossem and
the descendants of Clarence Pickett and others, Friends from the liberal wing of Iowa Y.M.
(FUM), who had gone east, before
or after World War II, to work
for AFSC or FCNL or CCCO or other Quaker groups. They must have been
heartsick at what had happened
at AFSC; it no longer provided
"hands-on" opportunities for young
Friends to do Quaker service. They
decided not to curse the darkness.
They started a fund, with not a lot
of money, that provides grants to
young Friends, from every branch
of our Society, to do projects
of their own devising. Everything
except college study. Already,
our Quaker leaders are coming from
this fund. Look it up on the web, if you haven't already.Jeremy Mott

Bill Samuel said...

One point, Jeremy. Quakers have not been growing in numbers in the Washington area for awhile. There was a huge rise in the 2nd half of the 20th century, but no more.

Jeremy Mott said...

That point is interesting, Bill.
Maybe the reason Quaker numbers
stopped growing recently in the
Washington, D.C., area, is the
resistance in Baltimore Y.M. to
a clearly Christian version of
Quakerism. Both liberal Quakerism, without insistence on
the Inward Light as the Christ
Within, and Quaker Christianity.
seem to get along well elsewhere, even in the U.S.A. And there certainly are plenty of potential
Friends in the Washington area, for
the government never stops growing.
I would guess that in Greenville, S.C., a city of moderate size, there was no Friends meeting even 15 years ago.
Now there are three: one is SAYMA, one is Ohio (Conservative),
and one is North Carolina (Cons.)
Someone must have prayed hard for
a Friends meeting, and look what
happened! This is simply an
extreme example of how Friends have
multiplied in many deep-South
states, including Virginia.
The fact is that a strong
Christian wind is blowing in the
Religious Society of Friends, and
any group that tries to deny this
is likely to suffer, and surely
won't accomplish their desire.
Please don't be sure that
evangelical Friends won't work
with others. When Chwele Y.M.
in Kenya joined FUM a couple of years ago, they said---I paraphrase---that they were Christians who believe in Christ as Lord and Savior; they knew that some Friends believed differently; they wished to be part of FUM anyway. This sort of attitude is not universal, but is very common.
I think that some evangelical Friends in the U.S.A., and some in
the evangelical wing of FUM, and
many "liberal" Friends, are all
afraid of losing control. Yet
they are going to lose control, no matter what. New times demand new ideas and new leadership, good or bad. In the last five years ago,
the Asia and West Pacific Section
of FWCC has embraced evangelical
Quakerism. The new Philippines
Evangelical Friends Church, founded by a young pastor who decided on his own that he was
a Friend, sought affiliation with
FWCC, and received it, to the
consternation of some Friends in
Australia, New Zealand, and Japan
(and no doubt the approval of most Friends in India). Yet they'll
get over it, I'm sure. I think
the new evangelical yearly meetings in Nepal and Indonesia
will also join FWCC; several small
new evangelical groups in India
have joined already. The Asia
section newsletter is published
in both Hindi and English.
Remember it takes only two
metings to form an association!
There are only two, Whittier and
Berkeley, in the Western Assn.;
they certainly weren't the biggest
in California Y.M., but they are
in important college towns. So it
would take only two Quaker Christian fellowhips, in the Washington area, to form an association, which might have to
be independent.
And we should encourage more
co-operation with the Church of
the Brethren, which has a wonderful volunteer service, now
60 years old. We don't need our
own. Maybe AFSC could pay for Friends to use BVS; now we use
it for free. Peace, Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Friends, I also unite wholeheartedly with the FUM purpose
statement that appears in every
issue of Quaker Life. I know that
many of my fellow members of N.Y.
Y.M. would unite with it, and many would not. Our unity in N.Y.Y.M.
is not based on such theological statements, however simple. We
don't argue about these matters.
We simply seek to follow the Spirit, to be guided by the Light, to live in the power of Christ Within, by whatever language one
uses. And this seems to unite the
Religious Society of Friends world-
wide pretty well, as well as a truly united yearly meeting like N.Y.Y.M. F.U.M., being part of
the Orthodox tradition of Friends,
needs a basic Christian theology as well.
Let's put this theology to use. What should we say or do about the amazing events happening in the eastern Mediterranean? Great
unarmed flotillas, manned by both
Muslims and Christians, try to
break the Israeli blockade of
Gaza. This blockade is causing
literal starvation among the people of Gaza. You can find
out about this on the FCNL website, also on the
AFSC website, and in detail on
Friend Helena Cobban's blog, available on the Baltimore Y.M. website. It's yearly meeting
season now in the U.S.A. Does
anyone have some ideas?
Peace, Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Friend Bill,
I'd like to say a little bit more
about evanelical and explicitly
Christian lesbian and gay Friends.
Do you follow Peggy Senger Parsons? She is an openly lesbian
evangelical Friend, a pastor, from
Oregon. Of course she cannot be
part of Northwest Y.M. So she set
up an independent Freedom Friends
Church, which wrote its own book
of discipline and has brought in
members from EFI, FUM, FGC, and
non-Quaker backgrounds. Her blogs
are worthwhile; you can read them
under "A Poor Silly Gospel."
And guess what? She travels to
Burundi every year, and works with
Friends there. She buys handicrafts
and sells them back in the U.S.A.
I think she's in Burundi now.
Or read about Beckey Phipps. Her
story can be found in the Quaker
Bible Reader---a fascinating book
in any case, an anthology by two
Earlham School of Religion teachers. She is a lesbian, who
after much internal struggle, became a Christian and a Friend. She is a graduate of the Spiscopal School of Diviinity and thus is
certainly qualified to be a pastor. She is also a graduate
of the School of the Spirit; she
has taught Bible in New England
Y.M. and at FGC sessions (Even
Philadelphia Quakerism has room
for Quaker Christians; as you
know the y.m. took School of the
Spirit under its care.) She works
in "church administration" in Boston.
That doesn't sound interesting.
Maybe she and her partner would be
interested in trying to do in Wash-
inton what Peggy Senger Parsons did in Portland. Of course, it
would be an enormous financial gamble for them; but I think some
Friends would help out.
There are still other lesbian
pastors around. I've heard that
there is an openly lesbian pastor
in North Carolina Y.M. (FUM), but
I don't know if this is true.
Also, your story should be heard
by everyone in Baltimore Y.M.
I don't think it would split
the yearly meeting; but it might
make them ashamed of themselves,
They use their FUM affiliation to prevent genuine FUM Quaker Christians from organizing. No
other yearly meeting does that.
The truth should be told.
Peace, Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Bill Clendening, I don't think that
FUM ever obtained authority over
its constituent yearly meetings.
Some Friends cetainly wanted this
in the early days of FYM; but no
yearly meeting accepted it, so far
as I know.
Of course, you're right that yearly meetings used to have authority over their constituent
monthly meetings. In some cases,
this still happens. When a monthly
meeting is very small and is laid
down, usually the yearly meeting
takes over its property. Right now, the N.Y.Y.M. trustees are trying to clear the title and dispose of the property of the
monthly meeting at Monkton Ridge,
Vermont, which laid itself down
maybe 15 years ago.
Yet when a Friends meeting or church is so out of sympathy with
its yearly meeting that it wants to
withdraw, it usually is allowed to
do so. Even among Orthodox Friends.
What would be the point of trying
to force it to stay? The yearly
meeting can only wish the departing monthly meeting well, and hope it finds a more congenial yearly meeting to join. For yearly meetings are still important to
Friends, as spiritual homes even
when they are not looked on as authoritative. Does this make
sense to you?
Jeremy Mott

Bill Samuel said...

Jeremy,

Yes, I follow Peggy Senger Parsons. She is a very interesting Friend.

I went to the Spiritual Nurturer Program with Beckey Phipps, but have not kept up with her since.

There is something of an ugly history connected with the consolidation of the Baltimore YMs. There was a real ugliness among some of the Hicksite Friends, and there has been real ugliness by some to FUM ever since. At one point, the entire staff lobbied the membership against FUM. They should have been fired, but instead the YM largely followed their lead.

There are a lot of good people in BYM, but I became convinced that there is an evil spirit in the YM. Such spirits are not the fault of present members, but it is only possible to remove such a spirit with a massive amount of prayer and a real desire by the group to move forward. See Walter Wink's writings for more about such spirits and how the scripture talks about them.

Having only come into BYM around the time of the consolidation, I'm not sure whether the spirit there is a result of the machinations and lack of integrity around that process, or was pre-existing.

Jeremy Mott said...

Friend Bill, All of what you say is
almost certainly true. Therefore, until the evil spirit can be exor-
cised, Quaker Christians will probably have to work around BYM.
I don't think this is so true in
any other united yearly meeting or
formerly united one, including
Philadelphia and Southeastern.
Meanwhile, to be charitable, I think we should keep some good things in mind about BYM:
(1) BYM is paying the way for Ann
Riggs to be the director of Friends Theological College in Kenya, with some of the money it had witheld
from FUM previously.. This is an
important Christian ministry, even though it is abroad. (2) BYM runs
what is undoubtedly the best system
of Quaker youth camps in the U.S.A.
Yes, these camps teach Light-centered not Christ-centered Quakerism. But no small number of
these campers go on to Guilford and some become Christ-centered
Friends there, in the program of
Max Carter and Deborah Shaw. (3)
Tom Fox, a Christian martyr I believe, was a member of Langley Hill meeting and a former employee of Baltimore Y.M. So it is possible for some people to find ways to be Christ-centered Friends
in Baltimore Y.M. (4) The FMW
meeting website includes some very
Christian language; it probably
represents honest sentiments of
some Friends. (5) Not only Ann
Riggs but also Joyce Ajlouny raises
a lot of money in BYM, in Bethesda meeting and in Sandy Spring mtg.

I'm afraid that the truth is the
ancient bitterness of the Hicksite-
Orthodox separation lasted much longer in Baltimore Y.M., especially in Stony Run meeting, and maybe in Homewood as well. I know Bliss Forbush entitled his biography of Elias Hicks "Quaker Liberal"---which wasn't the truth
at all---Elias Hicks was very much
a Christian, even if some of his
theology was unorthodox, and very
much a conservative in Quaker terms. I think, too, that even more than in the two Philadelphia
Y.M.'s, the two Baltimore Y.M.'s
were very much the "property" of
some wealthy Friends, who remained very antagonistic to each other and
probably still do. (Of course,
the two Phila. y.m.'s were the
"property" of wealthy Friends too,
but at least at Arch St., an ecumenical spirit prevailed by
World War I and afterwards.)
I doubt if any large meeting in
the Baltimore Y.M.'s really favored re-unification except for
Friends Meeting of Washington, and
even there there must have been some hesitancy. I know members and former members of FMW and Stony
Run meetings who believe to this
day that FUM is something evil, as
if they were forced to accept it.
The Baltimore Y.M.'s are a place
of power plays, I'm afraid, much
like FUM at its worst. They will
have to solve this themselves.
Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Bill, I think that the evil spirit
in Baltimore Y.M. can be easily
named: the spirit of separation;
the spirit that says one has a monopoly on Truth, and the "other" one is heretical and utterly evil.
This spirit can and does capture both sides in a bitter church schism.
In 1828, Baltimore Y.M. had its
separation between Hicksites and
Orthodox. In Baltimore Y.M., the
Hicksites were an overwhelming
majority. Virginia Y.M. was still
a different body, and it did not split, but remained completely Orthodox. However, so many Virginia Quakers moved west to
escape slavery that Virginia Y.M.
was laid down in the 1840's, and the remnant was joined to Baltimore
Y.M.(Orthodox). Now Baltimore Y.M.
(Orthodox) was a body of reasonable
size, though still much smaller than the Hicksite body.
Both yearly meetings suffered in the Civil War. Both had young
members who decided to serve in the Union armies. Yet Baltimore
Y.M.(Orthodox) clearly suffered
much more than the Hicksite Y.M.,
for the Orthodox Y.M. still had
members in Richmond, Va., and in
southeastern Virginia. (Both y.m.'s
had a few meetings in extreme
northern Virginia.) John Crenshaw,
a very great Friend, led Richmond
Friends through the war. He per-
suaded Jefferson Davis to have Brethren, Mennonite, and Quaker conscientious objectors released from the Confederate army. Since
no Northern periodicals were available, he published a newsletter, The Southern Friend,
which circulated among Friends in
Virginia and North Carolina. After
the war, the Orthodox Friends of Baltimore Y.M. led the effort to
rebuild North Carolina Quakerism.
This was called the Baltimore Assn.; they raised money from all
over Orthodox Quakerism for this
purpose, and also from Britain and Ireland. (Both y.m.'s spent a lot on educating freedmen in the
South.) Johns Hopkins, an Orthodox Baltimore Friend, who could not marry because he was in love with his cousin, gained an enormous fortune in business and founded Johns Hopkins Hospital and University. The King and Thomas
families, also Orthodox, founded
the B&O Railroad. I don't know if
any members of these families are
still Friends after 1967; I doubt it. On the Hicksite side, Legg Mason & Co., an investmnt firm, was (and is) incredibly successful; it is the second largest investment firm in Baltimore (after T.Rowe Price).
I don't know what members of the
two yearly meetings did in World
War I. I think both produced some
conscientious objectors in World
War II. By 1967, both yearly meetings must have been under great pressure from FMW---the only
meeting in the y.m. of any size
that was already united---to reunite. (After all. FMW's meeting-
house had been built with Herbert Hoover's money as a united meeting-house.) It was a shotgun marriage;
and FUM was the scapegoat.
I'll continue. Jeremy Mott

Bill Samuel said...

When I formally joined Friends in 1966, it was Richmond (VA) meeting I joined. At that time, it was small and still had something of an Orthodox flavor. It has grown and changed much since that time.

Jeremy Mott said...

I imagine that staff of Baltimore Y.M.(FGC) worked, in reality, for wealthy Friends who paid their salaries. The same sort of thing may have been true at Baltimore (FUM). Thus FMW Friends, and others
who wanted unity, had little influence on the outcome. Eventually the idea that FUM Friends are demons spread through the yearly meeting.
To make things worse, in 1965
Norman Morrison, the exec. secy.
(i.e.pastor in all but name) of
Stony Run meeting, immolated himself at the Pentagon in protest
of the Vietnam war. He almost immolated his baby daughter too.
The most prominent members of
Stony Run meeting felt obliged
to defend him in public and before
the press. Yet many Friends, in
Baltimore and elsewhere, must have
secretly thought he was crazy.
It was a terrible time for Friends,
and we must not be surprised that
Friends did not always behave well.
Baltimore Y.M. is an object lesson in the evil effects of church schism: we still feel them
almost 200 years later. And the
whole thing was entirely pointless.
In 1828 and later, the Orthodox
painted Hicks as a heretic, not a
Christian, and a liberal. This
wasn't true at all; he was very
much a Christian (with a few odd
ideas), and deeply conservative as
a Friend. Later, the Hicksites
adopted the Orthodox caricature
of Elias Hicks and gloried in it.
Peace

Bill Samuel said...

The practice at BYM until the last couple of years has been to raise all money for general programs through apportionments upon the Monthly Meetings. I think the same was true of both separate YMs, but I'm not sure.

In the last couple of years, they've moved to soliciting individual donations and now have a development person on staff. So you wouldn't have had wealthy donors giving directly to the YM pulling strings when the incident happened. It could be a danger in the current environment.

Jeremy Mott said...

Thanks Bill, you and other Richmond and former Richmond Friends can be very proud of that
meeting because of its Civil War
record; I'm sure it's very different now. One interesting fact: John Crenshaw obviously did not think highly of the separation and its rules. Before
the Civil War, he worked in close
co-operation with the Janney family, Hicksites in Northern Virginia, on the Underground Railroad. On one occasion, at a
Quaker wedding, both Crenshaw and one of the Janneys signed the wedding certificate--an un-heard-of
breach of discipline; they should
not both have been there. And they
were not censured at all. You can
read about this in Jay Worrall's
huge and fine (but biased against
the Orthodox in later periods) book The Friendly Virginians. After
the Civil War, Richmond meeting
long had an orphanage for African-
Americans. Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Bill, I imagine that both yearly meetings apportioned contributions among their constituent meetings;
but nevertheless it was known that
certain wealthy Friends gave most of the money---and had inordinate
influence on staff. This is only
to be expected, though unfortunate.
Besides, though I don't know, I think it's possible that Baltimore Y.M. Friends had a number of trust
funds, set up by wealthy Friends,
that did important things, and acted largely behind the scenes.
In still other instances, wealthy
and even not-so-wealthy Friends try
to share with poorer Friends involved in ministries of various
kinds. This is not to be criticized, I think, but it can
have some bad effects as well as
many good ones. I think it's a
good idea to keep these donations-----releasing Friends---anonymous if possible. Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Friends connected with Baltimore Y.M. especially: There's a very
great danger of self-righteousness
among Friends when we argue. In
1963, when I graduated in the first
graduating class at Sandy Spring
Friends School, we had one African-
American graduating with us. (Of
course, this was an FGC school, for
consolidation of the yearly meetings was still several years away.) And at that time, Baltimore Friends School and Sidwell in Washington, the older
FGC schools in Baltimore Y.M., had
never had a single African-American graduate. They were inte-
grating grade by grade; they must
have had their first African-American graduates a few years later, about the time that the
yearly meetings consolidated. So if
resistance to gay rights in FUM
is utterly evil, what about racial segregation in FGC? It was a 40-
year-long struggle to eliminate
racial segregation in Quaker schools and colleges in the North-
east, and in most cases the
Orthodox schools integrated ahead
of the FGC schools. In the Midwest, where almost all Quaker schools and colleges were Orthodox, many were racially
integrated from the start. There
still is not much racial integra-
tion in Friends meeetings them-
themselves, of any affiliation.
So the Orthodox did some things better and so did the FGC Friends; and both did some things worse.
Sometimes Friends are much too big
for our breeches. For example,
it is said that Friends are the only church that ever cleared itself of slaveholding. This is true---only in a very narrow sense.
For the Church of the Brethren and
the Mennonites never allowed their
members to own slaves.
Peace, Jeremy Mott

Bill Samuel said...

I went to Wilmington College, which was integrated from its beginning in 1865, I think. At the time I attended, it had the largest percentage of African-American students of any institution of higher education in the USA which was not a HBCU. It's under Wilmington YM, an FUM YM.

Jeremy Mott said...

Here's a correction: in New York
Y.M., the two Chappaqua meetings
reunited in 1980, 25 years after
the two yearly meetings. They
sheepishly admit this on their
website. Nowhere else in the yearly meeting did this take more
than a year or two. Many meetings
had been reunited for 20 years or
more in 1955. Many had been founded
as united meetings. If anyone had
proposed further delay of unifica-
tion at yearly meeting sessions
in 1955, I think they might well
have been shouted down.
Yet in Baltimore Y.M., the two
major meetings in Baltimore are still separate, more than 42 years
after the yearly meetings consolidated. The consolidated yearly meeting still has separated
finances. Both Stony Run and Home-
wood Friends don't like FUM, but
they clearly don't trust each
other at all. It's a scandal. Actually, if the yearly meeting would take the little groups of
Quaker Christians within its
territory under its care, maybe this step would help them heal the
very deep wounds of a 200-year
separation. Time alone doesn't
heal these wounds; neither do
the deaths of older Friends. Unless one works on these matters,
the spirit of separation lasts and
lasts, can even get worse over the
years. Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

I confess my ignorance. I don't know what an HBCU is. Anyhow,
Wilmington College has long had a
reputation as a good Quaker place.
After yoo were there, I believe,
it specialized in college education for prison inmates, until
the state of Ohio stopped paying for and stopped allowing this.
Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Friends must not imagine that even
in New York Y.M., with our very
different history---almost half of
the meetings were already united
when the yearly meetings reunited
in 1955---two entire quarterly meetings were already united---
we still don't have bad effects
going back to the Hicksite-Orthodox
separation. And in our case, also
to the separation between the
Progrssives and the other Hicksites. Some of the united
meetings now think of themselves
and call themselves Hicksites. And
in some meetings, a Progressive
"anything goes" mentality seems to
prevail. Very few of our young
people stay with Friends. If it
were not for Powell House, always
under Orthodox leadership, we'd
probably lose almost all the youth.
This is what happened in most of
U.S. "liberal" Quakerism in the
sixties, seventies, and later.
It's a shame. Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Friends must not imagine that even
in New York Y.M., with our very
different history---almost half of
the meetings were already united
when the yearly meetings reunited
in 1955---two entire quarterly meetings were already united---
we still don't have bad effects
going back to the Hicksite-Orthodox
separation. And in our case, also
to the separation between the
Progrssives and the other Hicksites. Some of the united
meetings now think of themselves
and call themselves Hicksites. And
in some meetings, a Progressive
"anything goes" mentality seems to
prevail. Very few of our young
people stay with Friends. If it
were not for Powell House, always
under Orthodox leadership, we'd
probably lose almost all the youth.
This is what happened in most of
U.S. "liberal" Quakerism in the
sixties, seventies, and later.
It's a shame. Jeremy Mott

Bill Samuel said...

HBCU=Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Jeremy Mott said...

My computer has been broken for a
week, but now I'm back on line.
And I must apologize for saying that Baltimore Y.M. is wealthy; I'm
reliably informed that, like almost every other Quaker body now, it is in financial straits. However, I do know that there are some very wealthy Friends around Baltimore. I also must apologize for saying that Baltimore Y.M is
a place of power plays now; I'm'
assured that it isn't true. But it
must have been true around 1967. It took the consolidated yearly meetings about 20 years even to come up with a book of discipline.

Jeremy Mott said...

Now I have some good news from my
reliable source in Baltimore Y.M.----news that other prominent Friends in the yearly meeting seem
not to know. There is a defacto
pastoral meeting in the yearly meeting right now; it's at West Branch, Pa., at the northern limit of the yearly meeting territory. The pastors are volunteers. There might have been paid pastors 50 or 100 years ago; no one seems to know. Also, no one seems to know if the worship is unprogrammed, semi-programmmed, or fully programmed. I imagine that the
folks at West Branch are liberal
Christians, for they don't seem to
grate against the rest of the yearly meeting. Anyhow, it can be
done; it is being done, in Baltimore Y.M., right now.
Jeremy Mott

Bill Samuel said...

West Branch has been that way for a long time. Few West Branch Friends participate in BYM activities. While remoteness may be a factor, I think a major factor is that they are on a different wave length from much of the YM.

Jeremy Mott said...

Another correction: Legg Mason & Co. seems to have been a primarily
Episcopal firm.
Of course, any outright Christian
group in Baltimore Y.M. will be
on a different wave length from
the rest of the yearly meeting.
There's no reason why that should
be an insuperable problem. In
N.Y.Y.M., there are seven pastoral
meetings (one with unprogrammmed
worship) and at least six meetings
that are non-pastoral and have
unprogrammed worship, but are
Orthodox in outlook. There are
also groups of Friends in the
Spirit of Christ and the like.
To everyone's surprise, I think,
the yearly meeting has become a
seedbed for Quaker Christianity.
Remember that the yearly meeting
has 12 prison meetings now, more
than all other yearly meetings
combined; some of these are also
Christian in outlook.
Tne yearly meeting also keeeps
coming up with new ideas for
Quaker action, which unite all
members: the latest is the
Quaker relief in the Republic
of Georgia---helping the tiny
group of Friends there.
I think the tensions in the yearly
meeting and in U.S.Quakerism are
very real and very productive.
Jeremy Mott