Thursday, October 02, 2008

Convergent Friends -- And the Great Emergence

A group of us Quaker blogger types have taken up the idea that this October is Convergent Month 2008. What it means is we’re inviting Convergent Friends -- and Friends interested in the Convergent movement -- to make a concentrated effort to dream, discuss, and have loads of fun thinking about where Friends are and what the Future of Friends might be.

Since there are all sorts of things planned specifically for Friends, (check the Convergent Friends site at for blog rolls and activities), I want to announce one that is open to a wider audience, but still has a lot of interest for Convergent Friends. It is "The Great Emergence" in Memphis on December 5-6, 2008.

The title comes from Phyllis Tickle's new book. She says, "The Great Emergence' refers to a monumental phenomenon in our world, and this book asks three questions about it. Or looked at the other way around, this book is about a monumental phenomenon considered from the perspective of three very basic questions: What is this thing? How did it come to be? Where is it going?”

Phyllis's important new book, The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why. focuses her encyclopedic knowledge of American religion on the current shifts in the Christian landscape. Paired with her Southern wit and charm, The Great Emergence promises to be the bellwether book in emerging Christianity.

The Great Emergence National Event is a unique and freshly designed event built on innovative adult learning techniques including interaction, participation, and inspiring content on the current state of and future possibilities for Christianity.

Around the four main sessions with Phyllis Tickle, participants will also enjoy the daily office—thrice daily times of prayer—based on Phyllis Tickle’s bestselling book, The Divine Hours, in the majestic and historic Cathedral of St. Mary in Memphis, Tennessee, which will be bedecked with Advent greenery.

Workshops will be offered with some of the best practitioners of emerging Christianity, including Tony Jones,
and more (including me -- but that's not why I'm "plugging" this event. I'd go anyhoo.).

On the day before "The Great Emergence" (the 4th) various hypen-emergent groups are meeting (Presby-mergents, etc). If there are enough Convergents or other interested Friends going, we could set up our own gathering that day. I'd be happy to try to pull something together -- a time of dialogue -- if there's enough interest.

Check out "The Great Emergence" at And be sure to read The Great Emergence by Phyllis Tickle. She says some interesting things about the role of Quakers in this new movement.

Hope to see you there.

-- Brent


Unknown said...

Brent, I am intrigued by your invitation and have shared it with some Liberal Friends. Years ago I attended a Quaker Hill consultation arranged by Wilmer Cooper. He invited luminaries from all branches of the Quaker world. I still remember it as a turning point experience which opened me to the possibilities of union and reunion of our branches. Thanks for sharing this idea.

Brent Bill said...

Hi Maurine -

Thanks for sharing this. I remember some of the old Quaker Hill consultations. It was good to see a variety of Friends gathered for serious dialogue -- it was one of the things that inspired me to attend Earlham School of Religion.

We'll see if there's any interest.

Eliacin said...


Hope to see you at The Great Emergence. I am looking for contacts of convergents friends in the Seattle area.
Do you have any contacts to share?



Stefan Andre Waligur said...

Greetings! My name is Stefan Andre Waligur. I'll be sharing new,original contemplative music at the Great Emergence Event in Memphis.
Hope to see you there.