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Mid-17th century England was swept by dramatic changes: sharp religious and political conflict, rising hopes, charismatic leaders and popular grassroots movements—in short, a world much like the one we live in today. A song about the Diggers (a 17th-century socialist group whose leader later joined Friends) is, for good reason, called “The World Turned Upside Down.” Quakers were born as a faith community into this world—bringing with them approaches to worship, gender and class relationships, beliefs about God and scripture, and ways of making decisions that were a sharp departure from anything the world had seen before. We will spend this weekend walking with those Friends, sharing what we know about their fresh approaches to worship, belief, and life with others. Our main intention will be to reflect together on what first generation Friends have to teach us in terms of how we live together into these same critical questions as a faith community today.
Peter Blood-Patterson is a member of Mt Toby (MA) Meeting. Mt Toby and Middletown (Lima, PA) Meetings have both minuted their recognition of Peter Blood-Patterson’s gifts in teaching about Quakerism. He has led scores of courses and retreats on Quaker faith for meetings in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting. More about his work and writings at www.inwardlight.org.
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