[FT] Starting New Meetings

William F Rushby wfrushby at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 30 17:08:47 PST 2011


Thanks, John!

The essay you referenced contrasts in some respects with mine.  No mention is made of Bible study, and issues of power are not addressed.  The power problem is one that typically comes up after a group has already gotten started.

There is also the question of whether a new group would target a non-Quaker population, or if it would seek to draw people who are already connected with Friends.

I tried to send another email, pointing out how much difference it would
 make if one person/family were trying to start a new fellowship, or if 
there already existed a nucleus beyond one household to launch the new 
group.


When a few of us began the Rockingham Friends Fellowship, there was no 
other Friends meeting in the county.  FGC-oriented Friends showed up, 
and immediately challenged our identity as Conservative Friends.  I told
 these people that identification with Christian faith and Conservative 
Friends were givens, not open to debate!  They could always form their 
own meeting, which they did after a few months.

Interestingly, when the Rockingham fellowship got launched, others moved in and drastically changed the character and "methods" of the group.  Singing and Bible study were "nixed", and a clique made the decisions.  Eventually, all of the people who were part of the "fellowship" phase in the group's development either left of their own accord, or were "released" without their consent (it used to be called disownment).

Some who left voluntarily joined the nascent liberal meeting.  After several years, however, a Buddhist "guru" got the upper hand in the liberal meeting, and the Christian members within that meeting left it.  I think they switched to a Mennonite start-up. 

I don't think that either of the two meetings is setting the world on fire, but they do still exist.

Bill Rushby


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