[saymaListserv] Fwd: Re Quaker Outreach Forum: Any experience in starting new worship groups???

Janet Minshall jhminshall at comcast.net
Mon Jul 26 13:29:33 JEST 2004

X-Sender: freepolazzo at mail.comcast.net
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 2004 22:01:01 -0400
To: Quaker_Outreach_Forum at yahoogroups.com
From: free polazzo <freepolazzo at comcast.net>
Subject: Re: QOF RE: any experience in starting new worship groups???

Hello Johan Maurer,

The services you suggest we "find" or "invent" are already happening 
here in the SE USA.  Atlanta Friends Meeting (Unprogrammed) has had 
people bring musical instruments and play, when moved, and people 
singing with others moved to join in, gathered meetings and so on for 
at least the last twenty years.

We do bible study when people in the Meeting are led to lead it and 
others show up.
We do Meetings for Healing when someone is led to do that.
We start worship groups when we people from AFM move to the suburbs 
and realize that there is that of God in every suburbanite,  too.
We have "weighty" friends come for weekend workshops at our "Gathered 
Meeting" Retreats.
We help new attenders go to Yearly Meeting and FGC Gathering to soak 
them in the community we call Friends.  (Sort of a Baptism in the 
Light and Darkness of Friends.)
We have Wider Quaker Organizatons representing the MM in the Service 
aspects of Friends' Testimonies on Equality, Simplicity, Community 
and Integrity.
We have a Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice that cares as much about 
WG's as they do Monthly Meetings and Preparative Meetings.
We have a strong YM Teen program to bring in and keep youth and 
Youth's parents.

This weight has finally gotten to the place where WG's are being 
formed in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area.  (3 for now) This strong 
base helps our worship groups to grow in the "shelter" of the larger 
and more experienced MM.    They have members that can help neophytes 
over the "humps".

I will be bringing a model for strengthening our YM's MMs so that 
they can support WG's that are sorely needed in our part of the 

To me, the KEY to Quakerism growing amongst us, is to build strong 
Monthly Meetings which will then be able to shepherd WG's in their 
"back yards".

If some worship group wants to start in the Boonies (and we do have 
alot of area between MMs), then I will be proposing the our YM's 
Ministry and Worship Committee establish an Outreach Committee that 
will consist of the WG's in the YM and those from MM's that are 
"sponsoring" WG's and/or Preperative Meetings.

Great that the QOF is dealing with the topic, at last.


At 08:20 PM 7/25/2004, you wrote:

>This is a bit of a tangent - these are reflections from reading
>a fascinating book, _The Younger Evangelicals_ by Robert E.
>Webber. I originally wrote these thoughts to a British Friend.
>- Johan
>I'm reading Robert Webber's fascinating book The Younger
>Evangelicals. I think this book would open a lot of British
>Friends' eyes if they had the ability to read past the title.
>The most interesting thing about the book is the creativity
>bubbling in the evangelical community as those whose adulthood
>began approximately with the new century either overcome or
>ignore or are blissfully unaware of the defensiveness of the
>20th century evangelical movement, and of the modernist
>captivity generally. The replacement of objective apologetics
>with "embodied" apologetics (our most important evangelism is
>the evidence of the reality of Christian community) is one of
>the core elements of this shift.
>What particularly amazes me as I read this and similar books
>is the capacity of Friends to incarnate all this beautifully.
>Unprogrammed Friends who were ablaze with this stripped-down
>ecclesiology and passionate christology could turn the world
>upside down, because we would be staking ALL on the reality of
>the Holy Spirit. For example, when a small group of us at
>Reedwood began an alternative worship service on Monday
>evenings at Reedwood, based on contemporary music, nformality,
>brief reflections rather than sermons, great big gobs of
>silence, food and drink afterwards, etc., we STILL had the
>overhead of having to get the worship leaders together for
>planning and so on, and with all the best will in the world,
>there was still a tiny element of incongruity in the planning
>of spontaneity. What if the musicians just got together when
>they wanted to, in order to try out new things, but then played
>at the worship meeting whatever they felt led to play
>or what worshippers felt led to ask for? What if there were no
>sermon at all, but the burden of the teaching ministry (a
>CRUCIAL ministry) were done at a separate time - before,
>after, a different day, or whatever? What if the tone of both
>the meeting for learning and the meeting for worship were so
>safe and free that people could praise, cry, laugh, pray by
>stream-of-consciousness language, pray the prayers of ancient
>mystics, confess doubts and mistakes, and if something
>couldn't be dealt with in one setting, it could tenderly be
>referred to the other? Much of our discussions have been over
>the acceptability of passionate Christianity in British
>Quakerism, but I think an equally important topic for
>SOMEWHERE is the wonderful adequacy of the vessel offered by
>classic Quakerism for the expression of postmodern
>There are several books out there that express the creative
>genius of postmodern evangelicalism, some of the most glitzy
>of which are products of Leonard Sweet. (Maybe you've seen his
>Web site.) But Robert Webber's rather dry and plodding
>description, the product of a scholar formed a couple of
>iterations ago in the evolution of evangelicalism in the USA,
>is actually one of the most useful.
>A couple of additional points I'd love to make for THIS forum:
>1) Many Friends who either have no recent experience of
>informal worship in other churches, or have such negative
>associations of the theology or leadership culture elsewhere
>that they cannot stand to be in those settings, may not
>realize how powerful the music can be in those meetings for
>worship, and how they give an outlet for gifts and emotions
>that are often marginalized in purist unprogrammed settings.
>I'm envisioning new hybrid forms of unprogrammed worship that
>might use such music for the gathering time, and then would
>continue to have such music happen either as the musicians are
>led, or in response to the currents of prayer and vocal
>ministry in the rest of the meeting.
>2) I've argued elsewhere that pastoral doesn't have to mean
>programmed. In the Quakerism of the future, I am sure there is
>a place for pastors or church planters who don't necessarily
>have worship leadership included in their roles, and whose
>meetings worship in an unprogrammed or semi-programmed way.
>3) This Quaker Outreach Forum already has a fascinating set of
>links/bookmarks - including these: "GenX, PoMo Church
>Johan Maurer, Portland, Oregon, USA
>johanm at mindspring.com
>Project forum: 
>Do you Yahoo!?
>New and Improved Yahoo! Mail - 100MB free storage!
>                QUAKERS: Visible-Accessible-Helpful-Hospitable.
>George Fox, Epistle 301 (1673)in The Works of George Fox, 1831 and 
>1990. #1:18 in Ambler, Truth of the Heart, 2001. (Topic: Experience)
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