The Friends Center is a retreat and conference center for exploring Christian unprogrammed Quakerism and its meaning today. Rooted in Ohio Yearly Meeting and its tradition of hospitality for spiritual seekers, Friends Center is a place where we can explore, articulate and share a faith that is both unprogrammed and Christian. While this faith draws on the experiences and writings of earlier Friends, we
seek to express it in ways that are appropriate to the language and conditions of our own time. Our intention is to learn together from the living presence of Jesus Christ, whom we experience teaching us directly from within, through the Scriptures, and through one another.
In addition to hosting several weekend events each year, Friends Center is also available for groups and individuals who need space to retreat. [Learn more about the Friends Center]
Weekend Retreats For 2013-2014:
Living in the Lord’s Power and Life: Spiritual Community
A Structured Sojourn facilitated by Ken and Katherine Jacobson
October 4-6, 2013
Individual spiritual life and growth are most safely and fruitfully located within a prophetic community — that is, within a corporate body whose life is under the living authority, guidance and Love of Christ. Believing as they do that the best way to share their faith is by “letting their lives speak”, Friends of Stillwater Meeting, OYM, invite you to spend two nights as guests in their homes as part of this Structured Sojourn. Breakfasts with hosts and participation in work projects with them, such as fall clean-up, will allow a sharing of perspectives on life among Friends in spiritual community.
Teaching about and providing opportunities for spiritual community is one of the main purposes of the Friends Center of Ohio Yearly Meeting. Frances Taber, a member of Stillwater Meeting whose personal story is rich in insights into the Quaker Meeting-as community, will serve as the keynote presenter. Ken and Katherine Jacobson, also members of Stillwater Meeting, have their home near Delavan, Wisconsin. They have led several workshops on communitas (sacred community) at Pendle Hill and will serve as facilitators.
Learning from the Spiritual Journey of Early Friends
Facilitated by Marcelle Martin
November 8-10, 2013
Those who became the first Quakers changed from being people conformed to their society and out of touch with God, to people filled with the Spirit and whole-heartedly responsive to divine promptings. During this weekend workshop we will look at passages from the writings of early Friends that reveal the spiritual transformation process they collectively experienced as they allowed Christ to be active within and among them. We will consider ten elements of their spiritual rebirth: Longing, Seeking, Turning Within, Openings, the Refiner’s Fire, Being Gathered into Community, Leadings of the Spirit, Living in the Cross, Living in Divine Love and Power, and Perfection (in One’s Measure). There will be opportunities to share with one another our own experiences of God’s transforming work in us, and together we will listen for how Christ is guiding us today.
Marcelle Martin is a member of Chestnut Hill Meeting in Philadelphia. She currently lives in Richmond, IN, where she is finishing two books, one telling the story of the beginning of Quakerism and the other about essential elements of the Quaker spiritual journey. For four years she was the resident Quaker Studies teacher at Pendle Hill and has led retreats at Quaker meetings across the country. She is the author of two Pendle Hill pamphlets, including Invitation to a Deeper Communion.
A Weekend for Ministering Friends
Facilitated by Brian Drayton
March 28-30, 2014
From the beginning of our movement, Friends have felt it important to encourage those who carry a share in the Gospel ministry. Mutual fellowship and counsel among ministers has been an important source of refreshment and guidance for their faithful service. This weekend seeks to contribute to the nurture of ministering Friends, through worship and conversation.
Some themes which may be good to reflect upon together include:  What nourishes your prayer and your service?  How does your relationship with your meeting shape or uphold your service?  What questions, doubts, or opportunities are on your heart?  What are current or urgent needs in your meeting or community?  Is more called for from you in response? This will not be a workshop, but rather a gathering of fellow-workers seeking to grow in obedience and diligence under our Lord’s guidance. The actual content of the weekend will arise from the shared exercise. Friends who have a sustained call to vocal Gospel ministry, and who are under discipline to their meeting, are encouraged to attend.
Brian Drayton, of Weare (NH) Monthly Meeting, is a plant ecologist working in science education research. He has traveled extensively among Friends, carrying a concern to encourage those who contribute to their meeting’s ministry. He has given workshops, retreats, and addresses on topics in Quaker history and belief for many Friends meetings and Pendle Hill. In 2003 Brian was, with John Humphries, one of the originators of the Quaker Peacebuilders Camp, a program for teaching nonviolent action based on Quaker spirituality. His On Living With a Concern for Gospel Ministry has recently been among the best selling Quaker books. More recent writings include the Pendle Hill pamphlets Getting Rooted and James Nayler Speaking.
Hearing and Responding to the Promises of Jesus in the Gospels
Facilitated by Jack Smith and Ken Jacobsen
April 25-27, 2014
Throughout the gospels, Jesus promises us a new way of life with Him, a promise He offers us again and again through His words and deeds. We can think of the gospels as a living
conversation with Jesus and His way. What specifically does Jesus promise us in the gospels and what must we do in return, to follow Him into this new way of life?
This weekend is an opportunity for us, through the gospels, to hear and respond, individually and collectively, to the promises of Jesus.
Ken Jacobsen, with his wife Katharine, both members of Stillwater Meeting, has led retreats on Quaker faith and practice and sacred community at Friends Center, at Pendle Hill, and at their home in Wisconsin. Ken currently teaches theology and social and personal transformation at Chicago Theological Seminary.
Jack Smith is a member of Rockingham Meeting and a recorded minister in OYM. He received an M.A. from ESR in 1970. Jack and his wife Susan live on a dairy farm in Virginia which they operated for almost 20 years before turning it over to one of their three children and her family. Jack works as a clinical pharmacist at a local community medical clinic and also teaches a graduate-level pharmacology course. He has facilitated other weekends at the Friends Center on such topics as Simplicity and Barclay’s Apology.