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A Gathering of Spirits (review) Consider the major events of the first half of the Twentieth Century: two world wars, the Great Depression, Jim Crow, women getting the vote. What was happening in the Society of Friends in America during this time? That is the subject of A Gathering of Spirits: The Friends General Conferences 1896-1950, by Douglas Gwyn, as seen through the records of twenty-seven biennial conferences put on by the Friends General Conference (FGC), an organization born of the efforts of seven liberal-progressive yearly meetings. These conferences evolved into annual events in 1963, were renamed “FGC Gatherings” in 1978, and continue to convene annually, primarily on the East Coast. Gwyn uses the minutes, themes, and other available documents from each conference from 1896 to 1950 to trace FGC’s organizational development, to document the evolution of the social and political concerns of this group of American liberal Friends, and to provide a glimpse into the wider cultural influences that may have contributed to this evolution. He includes these wider cultural influences “… partly as a corrective to many Quaker histories that are written as if nothing came before Friends and nothing else was going on around Friends.” (p. xx)

On Control (July 2019)

Expanding the Concept and Practice of Nonviolence (abridged) The following text is an abridged version of a recently discovered, previously unpublished article. The full version is published online at: westernfriend.org/media/expanding-nonviolence

On Neighbors (September 2019)

Our Neighborhood Once there was a broad forest. Once there was a deep field With horses and barbed wire. The grave of a fallen house now just Depression abandoned by settlers. Lilacs bloomed to mark the outhouse.

On Neighbors (September 2019)

A New Story for Earth “Tell me a story.” How often we said that as children! “Tell me a story.” Narrative has the power to shape our world; indeed it is how we understand the world and our place in it. “Tell me a story.”

On Separation (November 2019)

Quaker Culture: Unpopular Stands If pressure is brought upon you to lower your standard of integrity, are you prepared to resist it? Our responsibilities to God and our neighbor may involve us in taking unpopular stands. Do not let the desire to be sociable, or the fear of seeming peculiar, determine your decisions.

On Separation (November 2019)