Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A New Talk About Quakerism - Public Invited

I have not added much to this blog of late, in part because I've been putting a lot of energy into preparing for a talk about Quakerism which I am to give in the 15th Street Meetinghouse on October 10th.

This talk grows out of a longstanding sense of being led by God to seek out opportunities for bringing the message of Quakerism to a wider audience. I brought this concern to the Ministry and Worship Committe of my meeting as well as to an informal clearness/suppport committee. The Minstry and Worship Committee approved the event in July and obtained permission from the business meeting just this past Sunday to publicize the talk beyond the monthly meeting and beyond the circle of Friends.

I am grateful to the Meeting for giving me this support. I know that some Friends will feel that my version of "the Quaker message" will differ from theirs. My sense is that in approving this event Friends have implicitly said that they trust me to give an honest individual testimony that is consistent with Friends tradition, and also to make it clear where some of my views may differ from others in the Meeting. I don't see myself as a "spokesperson" for the meeting or for the Society of Friends as an institution, but as a message-bearer supported and encouraged by the meeting as a spiritual community.

The following is a press release we are issuing about the event.



Local Quakers invite the public to learn about the religious and spiritual basis of Quaker Service Work and Social Activism.

The Fifteenth Street Friends Meeting, a group of Quakers in New York City, will host a public meeting in their Meetinghouse on Wednesday October 10th from 7 to 9 P.M. The event will feature a talk by long-time Quaker Richard Accetta-Evans on the topic “Simple Faith/Radical Witness”.

“Some people know of the Quakers as advocates for religious freedom, as early opponents of slavery, as conscientious objectors to war, and as providers of aid to refugees and disaster victims,” commented Accetta-Evans. “We hope that many know about Quaker Tom Fox who was kidnapped in Iraq in 2005 and executed in 2006. Tom Fox capped a life of service and witness by working as a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams. What is less well known is that Quaker activism grows from Quaker faith and is not something separate from it. Quakerism is rooted in a long tradition of regular worship, a strong sense of community, and a daily spiritual practice that goes way beyond taking controversial positions on public policy.”

In addition to the talk, the public meeting will include time for people to ask questions and discuss issues with Accetta-Evans and other Quakers. Admission is free. The Meetinghouse is at 15 Rutherford Place (just off East 15th Street, between Third Avenue and Second Avenue, adjacent to Stuyvesant Park).

The Fifteenth Street Friends Meeting, has approximately 150 members. The Meetinghouse was built in 1860 and is still used for weekly worship that includes “silent waiting on God” without any ordained clergy or prepared program of sermons, prayers or hymns. The Meeting hosts a nightly shelter for 12 homeless men and women and holds a monthly Vigil for Peace and Non-Violence at Washington Square Park. Accetta-Evans, 60, was raised as a Methodist but became a Quaker in 1968. He has been a member of the Fifteenth Street Meeting since the early 1970’s. He currently serves on its Ministry and Worship Committee. In addition to his “day job” as a systems analyst, he has written a number of articles about Quaker history, theology and spirituality, has taught Quakerism courses in his Meeting and has spoken publicly about Quakerism to both Quaker and non-Quaker audiences. Some of his writing can be seen at the blog “Brooklyn Quaker” (http://brooklynquaker.blogspot.com).

Cynthia Bardouka-Large (Clerk, Ministry and Worship Committee of Fifteenth Street Friends Meeting);
Phone: (xxx) xxx-xxxx; E-mail: klarchen at aol dot com

George Fisher (Clerk, Fifteenth Street Friends Meeting)
Phone: (xxx) xxx-xxxx; E-mail georgef1151 at yahoo.com

Richard Accetta-Evans (speaker)
E-mail: richaccettaevans at earthlink.net

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Blogger Robin M. said...

What a fabulous idea. And a great choice of speakers - you can tell your Meeting I said so!

At a discussion I went to last spring, somebody estimated that in every thousand people, there are 6 naturally occurring Quakers. Which doesn't sound like a lot. The problem is that most of them don't know it.

Maybe we should do something like that here too. My first thought is to wonder if you're available?

11:00 PM, September 11, 2007  
Blogger Paul L said...

I agree with Robin, though I object to the timing: I will be in your fair city the week of Oct 2-5 and I would have much preferred your lecture to be during that week so I could attend. Another example of failuire of Quaker process. . . .

Seriously, I think this is the very kind of thing our meetings need to do more and more (and better and better) and I am very happy you are doing it.

11:02 AM, September 13, 2007  

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