Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Modest Proposal: A Conversation Invitation

As I've said in my series of posts titled "A Modest Proposal for the Revitalization of the Quaker Message in the United States," despite it's widely assumed death, religious life in America is growing. New congregations are starting, old ones are in the midst of renewal, and thousands of new people are coming to worship. And there is a huge uptick of interest in Quakers, as evidenced by such things as the sale of books about Friends and interest generated by Quaker Internet sites.

I also noted that English Quaker Edgar Dunstan once asked -- "What … have we [Friends] to declare to this generation that is of sufficient importance to justify our separate existence as part of the Christian fellowship?"

If you care about the answer to that question, I invited you to join me for a workshop/conversation to be held at Quaker Hill Conference Center (in Richmond, IN) on January 28 & 29, 2011. The conversation will use a combination of worship, social research about religious and congregational life in the U.S., and interactive discussions and activities.

The title is "Worship Groups and Other Alternatives to "Traditional" Church" and the subtitle is "A Conversation about the Revitalization of the Quaker Message in America." It is my hope that a broad range of folks -- pastoral, unprogrammed, Evangelical, Conservative, Liberal (whatever those titles really mean) -- will come together to talk about ways we can revitalize -- not institutions -- but the message of Friends. What have we to say to this generation -- and the next?

The schedule looks like this:

Friday, January 28
5:00-6:00 Arrival and Registration
6:00 Dinner
7:00 Session 1 – ―A Look at the Religious Landscape and Vital Congregations

Saturday, January 29
8:00 Breakfast
9:00 Session 2 – ―Proposals for Revitalization (based on my "A Modest Proposal")
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Session 3 — ―Worship Groups and Other Alternatives to "Traditional" Church
Afternoon Break
Session 4 – ―What is God calling us to do at this time?
4:00 Closing

This is not going to be a lecture. I hope for a deep, engaged, rich conversation and interaction. And, God willing, perhaps we will feel a fresh wind of the Spirit blowing across and through our little society -- imbuing it with a message for this generation and the ones that follow.
-- Brent
PS -- if you'd like a PDF of the conference brochure, drop me an email @ brentbil@brentbill.com
PPS I am working on a PDF booklet of "A Modest Proposal." It will be available for download in the near future.

2 comments:

Thomas Reed Markham said...

What a great workshop, and an important discussion to be having. We as Friends have so much potential to offer alternative models for living, wholeness and sustainable community to a world of growing uncertainty in a civilization that is unsustainable and in a cycle of increasing collapse. We need to be that beacon of Divine possibility and "Wholiness".
I wish that I could be there to participate.

"Nobody lights a lamp and then covers it with a basin or puts it under the bed. On the contrary, he puts it on a lamp-stand so that those who come in may see the light." - Luke 8:16 (New English Bible

cherice said...

Wish I could be there--but Indiana is a little far away. I hope it goes well, and I look forward to hearing the results of getting people together to think about this.