June 12, 2008

Upcoming interest group at Gathering

In 2006 and 2007, at FGC's summer Gathering, Robin M and I were among co-leaders for an interest group* about Convergent Friends. In 2008, she and I will again co-lead a similar interest group, on Wednesday night, July 2:

Where Is the Convergent Conversation Now?

Convergent Friends are talking about renewal and a Quakerism that bridges our schisms. Where and how is this conversation happening? Who else is having this conversation? Do you want to be a part of it? Bring your questions and let's share in the answers.
UPDATE: To read about how the interest group went, click here.

Help wanted

As Robin mentions on her own post about the interest group, she and I are looking for Friends who have been somewhat engaged in the conversation, are planning to attend the Gathering, and are interested in helping us out this year in some small fashion--perhaps to serve on a mini-panel, perhaps to facilitate a small group, perhaps just to greet people or hold the space--and us--in worship.

Let us know through the comments or through email [lizopp AT gmail DOT com] if you feel a nudge to help in some way.

Getting ready; staying alert

If you get the sense that we're flying by the seat of our pants, you're partially right--though I would prefer to frame it as "We're waiting for the Spirit to guide us... and to speak up a bit!"

The past two years as co-leaders, we've taken time during the first day or two of Gathering to ground ourselves and finalize our plans. In addition, we intend to stay alert to the movement of the Spirit when Friends do gather that particular evening: Maybe someone will raise a topic that others are eager to consider, or maybe someone will ask us as co-leaders a tangential question that others want to hear a response to.

Maybe, as what happened that first year, we will simply fall into a deep and gathered worship.

In any case, any and all of you are invited to join us if you are on campus on July 2. Robin is the contact person if you aren't planning to attend the Gathering but could stop by for the evening. She's got info on her own post about how best to reach her--presumably before she heads to the Gathering!

In addition to the interest group, I personally hope that another, less formal meet-up will be organized, too--maybe over dinner or after one of the evening plenaries. (By the way, fellow blogger Peterson Toscano is one of the plenary speakers.)

If anyone is interested in organizing such an opportunity for fellowship, do post something either in the comments here or on Robin's blog so that there's less of a chance of duplicating efforts.

Staying informed at Gathering

Last but not least: Just how do Friends find out about any informal meet-ups, the location of the interest group, etc. etc.?

There are several places to look:

1. The daily bulletin. During the Gathering, a bulletin is put out each day and is usually available at breakfast in the dining hall(s). Look in those pages for any announcement about a meet-up or discussion about Convergent Friends.

2. A handout that lists all interest groups. Usually, the list of interest groups and their respective locations are printed on a separate handout that Friends receive when they arrive and sign in on campus. Just remember: You might need to look under "W" if the list is alphabetized by the title of the group ("Where Is the Convergent Conversation Now?"), as opposed to "C" for "Convergent."

3. The message board. The message board is a low-tech but major communication tool at Gathering! It's made up of a series of large bulletin boards, usually set up in some central location, where Friends can post personal messages to each other.

I suppose it's entirely possible that someone could, under the "C" section of the board, put up a piece of paper with large letters that read "Convergent Friends," followed by whatever details are needed to help get folks there (e.g. date, time, location).

I always make the message board a key place to visit at least once a day--and usually more often than that.

Anyway, I hope that Robin and I will see some of you at the Gathering, whether it's during the interest group or elsewhere.


*Martin Kelley was part of it in 2006, as was Laura Melly in 2007.


My posts about reflections on past FGC Gatherings

Jeanne has plans to offer an interest group at Gathering too, on Quakers and social class.


kwix said...


Hi! I'm a member of Durham MM, which is dual-affiliated with NCYM-C & FGC. I'll be attending the Gathering this year for the first time, and I'm signed up for Robin's workshop.

For three years now, I've been following the Convergent conversation (mainly through QuakerQuaker) with great interest. I've learned from the electronic conversation, but I'm really looking forward to meeting and discussing with some actual people! So I will definitely check out the interest group.

I look forward to meeting you in person.

Kent W

Liz Opp said...

Hi, Kent!

I hope we'll run into each other in addition to meeting each other at the interest group on Wednesday night.

Also, as I mention in the post, there's a fair chance that an informal "meet-up" will be pulled together as a way to put faces to names and names to blogs, etc.

I know you'll get the low-down shortly after you arrive on campus on how to survive your first Gathering... And I'll add my own two-cents here:

Once you find yourself a sub-community at Gathering--maybe singing; maybe knitting/sewing; maybe the men's group; maybe intergenerational activities; maybe dancing; etc.--consider spending more time tracking *that* group's activities (or plural groups' activities) instead of planning to do a little bit of everything. One or two subgroup's activities will likely keep you busy enough during the week and it will also allow you to get to know a few people better.

(I typically do some of the "noon sings" and am involved with Friends for LGBTQ Concerns, for example.)

Oh-- and I recommend to you the daily MfW at 4:30, which you can read more about when you arrive on campus.

Feel free to drop me a note (on the message board!) if you want to meet me prior to Wednesday... and please DO say hello on Wednesday night if I don't seem to acknowledge you personally and if we haven't bumped into each other by then.

The interest groups in the past few years have had a very nice turnout, but it's been a challenge to establish a more personal connection at the time.

Travel safely; see you soon.... And might I also see you at NCYM(C) sessions, I wonder?

And thanks for saying hello here, Kent.