Growing Together in the Light

A place for Friends and others to explore Quakerism. A place where, in the Light that comes from God, we may all grow and where we may hope to find a unity that underlies our diversity of language.

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Location: Arlington, Massachusetts, United States

Raised a Friend, I am currently a member of Fresh Pond Meeting in Cambridge, Mass. I am also active in Salem Quarterly Meeting and in New England Yearly Meeting.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A convergent dinner

I suppose it is about time, now that Amanda and LizOpp and Chris M have blogged about it, that I reported on the convergent dinner that was at my house on March 18. It all started so innocently when Robin M was talking about coming to Boston and maybe we could go out somewhere and have pizza after the Weed lecture. So I responded that we could all come to my house if she wanted. So she sent me an email saying that there would be about 7 people. So I invited a few people from Fresh Pond Meeting like Beckey Phipps who was going out to Robin's meeting the next week, and people on my support committee. So when I got done counting everybody I got to about 14 people.

So I went to the Weed lecture. Afterwards Holly Baldwin asked Tom and Liz Gates if they wanted to come. Ben Guaraldi brought El Salvadoran Friend Raul Perez Chacon up from the FWCC Section of the Americas meeting. And there was Venderlin, a Friend from Heidelberg who had come to Boston to attend a conference. He came to Beacon Hill Meeting and heard about the Weed lecture and stayed for that. And so we invited him to dinner. So we headed off. I had told Beckey that I would call her when we were on our way so that she could come over. It had taken a while to get everyone organized to leave so when I called Beckey she said, “Oh, I'm already at your house.”

We learned something new about Convergent Friends that afternoon. While organizing them is like herding cats, they are really more like puppies. We have a small living room. It is small enough that we have two love seats in it because there isn't a wall long enough to put a couch against. But at one point everyone was in that room all crunched up together to not miss anything. I counted at that point and there were 18 people in the room. There have never been 18 people in that room before. Some people had to leave early and some people arrived late. Lynn told me that there were 26 people altogether.

I took some pictures of the gathering but I inadvertently left my camera in some funky mode and none of the pictures came out. But other than that it was a wonderful evening. After my recent experiences it was wonderfully restorative to have such a variety of Friends from around the world getting along and enjoying each other's company. We expanded on the traditional pizza and chocolate chip cookie menu by having beer and wine available. At first I was a little nervous about how Raul would take this since I know that Friends from Africa and Latin America have a strong testimony on abstinence from alcohol. But once Ben Guaraldi explained to him that I was a borracho (a drunk) he didn't seem to have a problem. :^) He did make a point to take a picture of the table with as many beer bottles in it as he could so there is no telling what stories he will be telling about us when he gets back to El Salvador.

After dinner Robin asked us to answer two queries. They were, approximately: What is it about your faith tradition do you love? What is it that drives you crazy? There was good sharing although we did not always stay on topic. Because Ben was translating everything into Spanish for Raul, we had a slow paced discussion which flowed nicely. We discovered that Venderlin had once had an Argentinian girl friend and so he spoke some Spanish as well. It turned out that many of us knew some Spanish and soon a number of people were helping with the translation and there was a real bilingual feel to the evening. Lynn, who speaks French but not Spanish, told me later that she was able to follow along with a lot of the Spanish as well.

My only regret for the evening was that there were people I would have liked to have spent more time with but it was not possible. So I will just have to wait for the next Convergent Friends opportunity in the Boston area.


Blogger Liz Opp said...

Nice write-up, Will. I feel like I won the bonus prize by being able to attend the Weed Lecture with you and chat a bit afterward before "herding" us to your place.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

March 30, 2007 10:50 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

This was indeed a wonderful write-up, and you and Lynn were wonderful hosts. I am finally done writing about the dinner, but I came back here and find that I'm probably not adding much to the description.

I look forward to seeing you again one day.

May 22, 2007 2:14 AM  

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