1/17/2007

Turnaround, an essential Pendle Hill pamphlet

I've just read Turnaround: Growing a Twenty-First Century Religious Society of Friends by Benjamin Lloyd; it's Pendle Hill Pamphlet 387.

I loved it! He starts with his vision: "Across the side of a city bus is a large, colorful poster featuring an attractive-yet-funky couple, and beneath them the words, 'Your Friendly Neighborhood Quakers. Come worship with them. Find a meeting near you at www.quakerfinder.org.'"

Brilliant! I've been noodling around with a text-based display ad that I really have no idea where our meeting could afford to publish it. It could be a handbill or small card that we distribute around town, like Freedom Friends Church does in Salem, Ore. (Theirs say something like, "Quakers: Not just for breakfast any more.")

The meeting is planning to get a listing on the religion page of the Chronicle, at least. I think it's in the budget. (Several years ago we started having three listings in the phone book, under Quakers, Friends, and San Francisco Friends Meeting.)

Anyway, Lloyd's goal is to "offer some strategies for nurturing a robust and growing Religious Society of Friends in the twenty-first century by promoting a stronger Quaker identity, by emphasizing membership, by improving pastoral care, and by nurturing new leadership."

One thing I take heart in is how my meeting has been doing some of these things. Ministry and Oversight set up a pastoral care subcommittee. Toward nurturing our Quaker identity, the adult religious ed programs have been strong and regular since 1990, at least.

And sometimes we've taken steps to nurture leadership, which can be hard for our urban meeting in an insanely expensive city (where people like me can earn a living advocating for more affordable housing as a result), where so many Friends are transient. At our best, we bring people in and risk losing them lovingly to other cities where we hope they will be good leaders. At our worst, we just let people shuffle in and out without much comment.

I could probably say more, but I'll finish with one thought for now: I do recognize that this pamphlet comes closer than might be wise to lifting up Quakerism per se as the goal, vs. connecting with God through the means of Quakerism.

I highly recommend this pamphlet!

7 comments:

Heather Madrone said...

Friend Chris,

I am delighted to see you turning your energy to increasing the visibility of the SF Meeting.

FGC has a good Outreach check list. If you haven't checked it out, I encourage you to do so.

I wouldn't worry too much about promoting Quakerism over promoting connection with God. The point of Outreach is not so much to proselytize as it is to let people know that we exist so that they have a better chance of finding us. I think of all the people out there who might want to be Quakers if they knew we were still around. I don't want them to be feeling lost and alone in this world; I want them to discover the joy of sitting in worship with us.

Keep up your good work!

Heather

Liz Opp said...

Chris. I'll add this pamphlet to my next order for Quaker Books of FGC, which will also include an upcoming pamphlet on expectant listening (I know the author, who says it's due out in February).

Blessings,
Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

Wess said...

Sounds really cool Chris I will check it out as well.

kathy said...

Thanks for mentioning this Chris. We EFI folk don't always hear about good Quaker writing outside of our little stream.

About your last comment, I think of it this way - we are offering the world a perspective of God and scripture that is unique, fresh and freeing. It isn't about the perspective, it's about God. Does the pamphlet seem to go over that line?

Liz, can you say more about the expectant listening pamphlet? Who is the author? Do you know what the title will be?

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Laurie Kruczek said...

Hello Chris,

The past few years since becoming a convinced Quaker, I have sent a Quaker-related quote and the www.quaker.org website address out with our holiday cards, even to our friends in Japan. The reaction has been very possitive, inquisitive, and relevent to my own way of "promoting a stronger Quaker identity." People that know me now know I am a Quaker. That interests them to check the website and find out more. Maybe encourage those at your meeting to speak more openly to people they already know about Quakerism. That's one less hurtle to jump and you may gain some really cool folks!

Laurie

cubbie said...

after this evening's films and some stuff that was in my head anyway, i thought a good quaker ad thing would be "god does not hate you."