Communitas: Finding and Living the Community of Love

May 14, 2018 - May 17, 2018
Offered by Pendle Hill
Wallingford PA

Communitas: Finding and Living the Community of Love

May 14-17, 2018

A retreat with Emma Churchman, Ken Jacobsen, Margery Post Abbott, and Allison Randall

(Monday, 9:30am through Thursday, 5:30pm.)

$525/private room; $445/shared room; $255/commuter.

If you are seeking financial assistance to participate in this program, please click on the link for our Financial Assistance Application form, below. Do NOT register online.

Call Us for More Information!

610-566-4507, ext. 137

Financial aid may be available. If you are seeking funds to participate in this program, click to review and complete our Financial Assistance Application and a Pendle Hill staff member will follow-up with you shortly (please do NOT register online). Thank you for your interest.

Communitas, the community of Love, was joyfully rediscovered by early Friends in their 17th century religious revival, and can be found and lived among us today, in our meetings, churches, and other circles of friendship. These times of mistrust and division cry out for communitas today. This retreat, led by four friends who have found communitas as a Peer Group for ten years, will explore how communitas can happen among us today, how we may enter and grow into communities of Love together, communities that receive us as we are, with all our human hurts and hopes, and help us each become the thriving child of God we are uniquely meant to be.

We will focus on examples such as: accompaniment through grief, accompaniment through anger and depression, accompaniment into ministry, accompaniment in discernment, accompaniment through doubt and confusion, and accompaniment that draws us together even when we seek to hide. We will consider various dimensions of accompaniment. How do we learn to enter into another’s spiritual space, being with them without being intrusive, judgmental, or directive? How might we continue to walk in the dark, when our flashlight has gone out and we can only feel the mud and drear? Can we learn to trust God and others enough to allow them to offer the Light they carry? How might we better teach one another to know/find the Life that leads us to live more fully than we ever thought possible and share it with the world?

Marge Abbott, Emma Churchman, Ken Jacobsen, and Allison Randall met at Pendle Hill in 2008 as participants in the Way of Ministry Program, co-sponsored by Pendle Hill and the School of the Spirit. They were assigned to one another in a Peer Group, and though they originally thought they could never get along together, they were radically wrong, and have continued their close spiritual relationship for ten years now, meeting once a month by phone for two hours. They are living communitas even though they are spread all over the country, living in North Carolina, Oregon, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire.


Margery Post AbbottMargery Post Abbott has been traveling in the ministry, writing, and facilitating workshops with the support of Multnomah Monthly Meeting, her home Meeting in Portland, Oregon for over twenty years. Some of her writing has been described as bringing together Friends of different tradition as in a Meeting for Worship. She believes we might grow more fully as we engage across our traditions. Marge also carries the concern for how Friends engage with the world and has served as clerk of Friends Committee on National Legislation. She has written several books, including Walk Worthy of Your Calling: Quakers and the Traveling Ministry, and To Be Broken and Tender: A Quaker Theology for Today, which has been used for discussion at Evangelical churches as well as numerous liberal, unprogrammed Meetings. Her newest writing is “Everyday Prophets,” the Backhouse Lecture for Australia Yearly Meeting. She was a plenary speaker in 2016 at both Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand Yearly Meetings and visited widely among Friends in both those nations.

Emma ChurchmanEmma M. Churchman, M.Div, is an endorsed Quaker minister who serves as business mentor to spiritual entrepreneurs in private practice. She is Clerk of Ministry and Counsel for Swannanoa Valley Friends Meeting in Black Mountain, NC (SAYMA), is a graduate of Earlham School of Religion and the School of the Spirit’s Way of Ministry program, and was the 2008-2009 Minnie Jane Artist-in-Residence at Pendle Hill. She has worked for several Quaker organizations, including as founder/faculty for the Quaker Fellows program at Earlham College, Young Adult Leadership Development Program director at Pendle Hill, and manager of Arch Street Meetinghouse for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Emma has extensive experience living and working in community, as well as teaching spiritual leadership development and discernment. She regularly writes for Quaker publications.

Ken JacobsenKen Jacobsen, with his wife Katharine, has lived and worked for many years in Quaker communities, serving as director and teacher at Olney Friends School, Friends School in Detroit, and Pendle Hill. He currently lives in Wisconsin, is an adjunct professor at Chicago Theological Seminary, and helps facilitate retreats at Friends Center in Barnesville, Ohio, his Quaker home ground. In these recent years Ken and Katharine have kept their lakeside home in Wisconsin as a “poustinia,” a prayerful space for seekers and sojourners.

Allison RandallAllison Randall is a member of Keene Friends Meeting in New Hampshire. She divides her time between solitude in the hundreds of acres of woods in which she and her husband live, and being with people. She creates Soothing Cloth Toys for adults and children, which she recognizes as part of her prayer ministry. A graduate of both the School of the Spirit’s program On Being A Spiritual Nurturer, and the Way of Ministry, her interest in spiritual nurture has led her on many paths of Quaker service: for decades almost consistently a member of her Yearly Meeting’s and former Monthly Meeting’s Ministry and Counsel, serving as elder or prayer person for groups or individuals, and often finding herself being a spiritual nurturer to others one on one. For several decades, endorsed and supported by her meeting, she has led workshops on deepening the experience of meeting for worship, prayer, daily spiritual practice, discernment, and related topics. She writes for “What Canst Thou Say,” and has essays in their two books, Discovering God as Companion and Intimacy With God. Her writings on prayer will comprise a significant portion of their next book, Immersed in Prayer. She finds joy every day.