Weekend Retreats for 2018-2019

 A Retreat and Conference Center for the Exploration of
Christian Unprogrammed Quakerism
and its Meaning Today
Friends Center
Ohio Yearly Meeting

 Adjacent to Stillwater Meetinghouse
near Barnesville, Ohio
For information
email Ken Jacobsen at

“I Have Called You By Name:” Being a Prophetic Movement in the 21st Century

Facilitated by Peter Blood-Patterson
Friends Center, 10/12-14/2018

…Thus says the Lord, who created you…: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; … You are my witnesses…”
(From Isaiah 43: 1-10)

What is prophecy? How did early Friends live into the tradition of the Hebrew prophets and the prophetic movement of the Early Church communities? What is Christ calling us to be as Friends in the world today? What gets in the way of our hearing and responding together to that call in the night from God? As Friends seeking to serve our God, how do we as a people become a prophetic movement in the world? During this weekend we will have times for worship and to consider questions such as these together, alert to Christ’s immediate teaching.

Peter Blood-Patterson feels called to help invite new Friends into Quaker faith & practice, deepen the lives of our meetings, and strengthen our capacity as Friends to respond to the enormous challenges facing our world today.

Peter has been leading Quakerism retreats and teaching Quakerism classes for over 25 years in a variety of Friends retreat centers and a number of yearly meetings. He is a graduate of the spiritual guidance program of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. He is currently involved in developing a series of adult religious education courses on Quakerism for New England YM.  Peter’s teaching ministry is under the spiritual oversight of Mt Toby Meeting in New England YM. For more information visit http://inwardlight.org


Finding and Sharing the Joy of God:  A Retreat with Jesus and the Beatitudes

Facilitated by Ken Jacobsen
Friends Center, 11/9-11/2018

“Blessed are you who are poor in spirit…Blessed are you when you mourn…
Blessed when you are meek…
Blessed when you hunger and thirst
for the way of God…
Blessed when you are merciful…
Blessed when your heart is open…
Blessed when you bring peace…
Blessed when you are persecuted for following the way of God..
Blessed are you when you join me on this way, however much the world may resist you.
Rejoice and be glad with me.”
(Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:3-11–adapted)

In the Beatitudes, the nine blessings with which Jesus opens his Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), he sets out a sacred path for all of us to follow through despair and grief into God’s peace and joy, into the present “kingdom of heaven”, the community of Love which wants to arise among us. Each Beatitude, each blessing, can be a stage in this path, this pilgrimage with God which we shall make again and again in our lives.

In our weekend together, we will explore with Jesus this beatitude path he has given us: How much of this sacred path do we already know; how much of it have we taken? Which stages are strange or new to us? Which stages may cause us to stumble or turn back? When do we need to begin again?

We are all called to be pilgrims on this blessed path with God, but have we consciously chosen to follow the call? This weekend is an opportunity to gather and take up the pilgrimage again with Jesus and one another into the ever-present peace and joy of God, wherever, however we may find ourselves on the path.

Ken Jacobsen, with his wife Katharine, has led numerous retreats on spiritual life and community at Friends Center, at Pendle Hill near Philadelphia where they were co-directors, and in Quaker meetings and gatherings in the Midwest, where Ken has been an adjunct professor of theology at Chicago Theological Seminary.Over the years, Ken and Katharine have kept their lakeside home in Wisconsin as a “poustinia”, a retreat space for seekers and sojourners, and  Ken continues to offer since Katharine’s passing in 2017. Ken is a member of OYM’s Stillwater Meeting.


Dwelling in watchfulness: A Weekend for People with a Concern for Ministry.

Facilitated by Brian Drayton
Friends Center, 3/15-17/2019

This weekend is intended for Friends who are active in vocal ministry, have perhaps had their consistent service recognized by their meetings, and in some way carry in themselves a sense of having a special drawing to and gift for such ministry. The weekend will be a time to explore how our service is rooted in the life of our meetings, our growth in the gift, growing edges, inward work, challenges and joys. All attenders are asked to (re)read Samuel Bownas’s A Description of the Qualifications Necessary to a Gospel Minister. We will also make use of excerpts from Bownas’s Journal, and other ministers’ accounts of their lives and work.

Brian Drayton, of Souhegan (NH) Meeting (New England Yearly Meeting), is a plant ecologist working in science education. A recognized minister, he has traveled extensively among Friends. He has also given workshops, retreats, and addresses on topics in Quaker history and belief for many Friends meetings, and has a particular concern to encourage ministers. His On Living With a Concern for Gospel Ministry has been among the best selling Quaker books of the past few years. More recent writings include >A Language for the Inward Landscape (co-authored with William Taber), and the Pendle Hill pamphlets Getting Rooted, James Nayler Speaking.


Hidden in Plain Sight: Finding Love in the Bible

Facilitated by David Male
Prindle Pond Conference Center, Charlton, MA

God is Love, but then there’s the Bible… Some Friends find guidance and comfort there, others hesitate to look inside.

“…for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”  With these words from 2 Corinthians, the text itself invites us to look beyond “Thou shalt not..” to find life-giving sustenance in its pages.  One Friend found he could explore inside the Bible by asking about each section, “Can I see the love in it?”  Embracing those passages that answered, “Yes,” has led in time to a deeper appreciation of even the most troublesome parts.

Bring your favorites verses, and your most difficult, to this open, exploratory weekend, and let us see what Love can do to draw us into fellowship with one another in the Living Word.

David Male came to Ohio Yearly Meeting via Cleveland Monthly Meeting when it was affiliated with both OYM and Lake Erie Yearly Meeting (FGC).  He also attended an Evangelical Friends Church for a while, has been active in FWCC, and is fluent in a variety of Quaker dialects.  He currently serves as Business Manager and Quakerism teacher at Olney Friends School.