Mike_Conover_Quaker 2I have a family background in Quakers. My mother’s family were members of the Religious Society of Friends (which is the formal name for Quakers) for as far back as we have delved- hundreds of years. Because this is a very community oriented belief & practice; when my grandparents moved to Aurora Illinois (when my mother was 5 years old) where there was no Quaker Meeting (church and congregation); they became Methodists. My mom was raised Methodist, and I was raised Presbyterian. But, there were always Quaker stories when I was growing up. And, as I have recently been able to appreciate, often Quaker culture and values.

 

I started calling myself a Friend (as Quakers self-identify) shortly after college. I attended Meeting in Santa Cruz and then back in Chicago in the mid 70’s. It was only in 2005; after raising my family, owning a bar, bistro, & semi-club (a disastrous experience for me), and looking for a way out of the melancholy (and depression) I was in; that I came back to the Hyde Park (Chicago) Quaker Meeting I had attended briefly some 25 years before. Within a few weeks, I experienced the Spirit within a Gathered Meeting; and understood for the first time what it meant to be a Friend. Realizing finally that before, I had absolutely no idea what being a Quaker is all about. I became Convinced (as we Friends say). Convinced by personal experience in and of the Spirit.

Mike_Conover_Quaker 1All Quaker Meetings, and groups of Meetings, are different. This Meeting (57th Street) was not very Christian oriented. Little mention of Jesus or Christ at all. My informal spiritual mentor was a non-theist. I had become agnostic while still enjoying my church’s Sunday school and youth community in High School. From and in this environment and background, very soon my strongest path to the Gathered connection available in and around Quaker worship- was through an image of the heart of Christ.

 

I am a universalist Christian Quaker. My path and connection is mediated by a personal connection to Christ energy and Christ consciousness. The Bible has been a powerful conduit for my connection. The Light (a familiar Quaker term for the connecting Presence) is for me the Light of the Living Christ. I feel blessed by the Grace bestowed upon me with & through my connections and experiences. And; I strongly appreciate that my path, my experiences- are not the only ones available. Quakerism works very well for me, but not for everyone. And, the Light and Presence of the Living Christ, as well as the Holy Spirit- are my connections & paths to the Divine; but not the only ones possible and valid.

I am now a member of the Evanston [IL] Friends Meeting.

 

links to some Quaker ideas and explinations:

Revolution- http://www.clotheyourselfinrighteousness.com/the-quaker-revolution/

On Testimonies- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3ijI27-7lQ&feature=related

On Worship- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJcG5fqXL5g&feature=related

Are Quakers Christian?- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An20DYOvZiI&feature=related