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

or write Friends Center Coordinator
61388 Olney Lane
Barnesville, Ohio 43713;

Or Ken Jacobsen at (262)728-6048.

Scheduled Events at the Friends Center

 in 2020-2021

Registration and Costs 

Healing in the Gospels and in Ourselves

Facilitated by Ken Jacobsen
November 13-15, 2020

                      Note: Offered Only Online This Year*                  

The gospels abound with stories of the physical healings that Jesus carried out, healing those who were lame, blind, deaf, sick, even at the threshold of death.  But the gospels as a whole can be read as a great motion of God’s healing Love, and healings every kind can be found here, healings of mind, of heart, of society, of tradition, of faith, of our whole being.  

What is Jesus’ vision of healing in the gospels, and how do we experience this vision in our own lives?  What is this healing, and how are we, in our lives, to receive and practice it? During this weekend we will explore, through worship, scripture, and experience, what it might mean for us in our time to be healed and to be healers in God’s boundless Love. 

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 kept their lakeside home in Wisconsin as a “poustinia”, a retreat space for seekers and sojourners.  Ken continues to offer it still since Katharine’s passing in 2017.  Ken is a member of Stillwater Meeting (Ohio YM).

*This year, to maintain safety in the time of the coronavirus, this retreat will be offered completely online, via a zoom link, which will be sent out to participants shortly before the weekend.   The full schedule of retreat sessions will be maintained, from Friday evening at 7:30pm ET until Sunday morning, concluding at 10:15am.  Only the program fee will be charged.  For information and registration contact Ken Jacobsen at kjacobsen@earthlink.net; phone: (262)728-6048;  mailing address:  3000 North Shore Drive, Delavan, WI 53115


Climate Crisis and
Spiritual Wholeness

Facilitated by
Brian Drayton and Jay O’Hara
March 19-21, 2021

What links the Gospel and our place in Creation, and how can we understand the good news as we experience and respond to climate change?  Friends have said from the beginning that the Spirit of Christ, the Word and Wisdom who is at the heart of all creation, will teach us directly, when we open our hearts and minds. Modern research on people’s attitudes about climate change points to the importance of the Spirit’s work within us: knowledge about climate change is not a motivator for most people, nor is fear or shame. To open the way to transformative action, a change of heart, a spiritual change is necessary. We must come to read the lessons of nature as we read the Bible, in the Spirit that gave both forth. And where do we find that Spirit, the Teacher?

Moses declared God’s answer: What I tell you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it, and do it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us, that we may hear it, and do it?” No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to find and do.(Deuteronomy 30).  In this age of anxiety, despite the lateness of the hour and the urgency of our challenges, we can turn inward, acknowledge our own spiritual condition and that of our times, and under the guidance of the Teacher, come to serve, to act, to witness, as way is opened to us.

During this weekend we intend to explore various sources of revelation — personal experience, Scripture, and tradition, as well as nature itself— seeking to learn better how to live and act in hope, compassion, and power in these challenging times. We expect to meet in gathered plenary sessions, prayer, expectant waiting worship, and small groups. The schedule will allow time for Friends to share and to season concerns that they are carrying. Some basics of climate science will be made available in advance.

Brian Drayton, of Souhegan (NH) Meeting (New England YM), is a plant ecologist working in science education. A recognized minister, he has traveled extensively among Friends. A second edition of his On Living With a Concern for Gospel Ministry has recently been published. Other writings include A Language for the Inward Landscape (co-authored with William Taber), and the blog Amor Vincat (May Love have the victory!  amorvincat.wordpress.com), where he explores aspects of Friends faith and practice. 

Jay O’Hara, of West Falmouth Preparative Meeting (New England YM), is a climate activist living in Portland, Maine and a co-founder of the Climate Disobedience Center. Jay has been involved with high profile climate actions from blockading shipments of coal to shutting off tar sands pipelines. In his activism he integrates Friend’s understanding of witness and resistance to systems of domination. Jay travels in gospel ministry under a minute from Sandwich Monthly Meeting. 

What Does It Mean
to Be a Friend?

Facilitated by David Male
April 30 – May 2, 2021

The wisdom of our founders to name our faith The Religious Society of Friends is profound, because the heart of Friends experience of the Christian gospel has always been that our creator and Lord is not some distant tyrant seeking to subject us but rather a close companion with whom we can establish a real Friendship, a Friendship that we can then demonstrate in our relationship to those around us.

For those who understand and appreciate Biblical language, this idea of Friendship is best expressed in John’s gospel, particularly John 15:15, and how this Truth is known to all of us through the language of the heart as described in Hebrews, Jeremiah, and many other places. For those unfamiliar or suspicious of Biblical language, it is easier to begin by talking about something that every child knows intuitively – what it means to be a friend.

During this weekend we will explore how what we know about friendship can help us to understand and explain the distinctly Quaker experience to both Christians and those whose understanding of friendship is more intuitive than Biblical, and live into a right relationship with our creator and with creation.

David Male is a member and recorded minister in Stillwater Meeting of Oho Yearly Meeting.  He is employed at Olney Friends School, where he is Quaker Outreach Advisor and Educator.  David is fluent in a variety of Quaker dialects and tries to engage in friendship with everyone.