History of the NFN

At this 2021 New Year’s tide, I thought it might be interesting to have a look at our NFN (UK) history to help us reflect on ‘where we are’ and ‘how we got here’.

The earliest history directly on this site is our 2012 Minute and Epistle to be found here: https://nontheistquakers.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/nontheism-among-friends.pdf

However, there is even earlier history, from 2011, on our companion US site here: http://www.nontheistfriends.org/article/what-next-for-quaker-nontheism and here: http://www.nontheistfriends.org/article/new-nontheist-friends-network-in-britain
Going even further (way back to 1976) there is a report on the US site of an FGC meeting in New York in that year: http://www.nontheistfriends.org/article/report-from-nontheistic-friends-workshop-at-fgc-1976-2

An early and moving post by James Riemermann of (and at) Twin Cities Meeting, Minnesota from April 2005 can be found here: http://www.nontheistfriends.org/article/my-spiritual-journey-riemermann

The earliest post I can find on the US site concerns a gathering of nontheist quakers including David Boulton, David Rush, and Kitty Rush at Woodbrooke in January 2004, posted by Os Cresson here: http://www.nontheistfriends.org/article/greetings-from-woodbrooke-2004

That should whet the appetite for now and there might be more to follow!

4 thoughts on “History of the NFN”

  1. Reading some of this history myself led me to another 2011 post on the US website by Miriam Yagud about NFN at Yearly Meeting Gathering in Canterbury, England, in 2011 ‘Getting Beyond the Words’ (6 years before ‘God, words and us’ https://nontheist-quakers.org.uk/2017/11/30/god-words-and-us/) which led me to make this comment there:
    Some were ‘late to the party’, this is just 8 (and a half) years later and I thought it would be interesting to comment now and see whether this provokes any further comments.
    I came by this way as a result of putting a post (tonight) on the UK Nontheist Friends Network https://nontheist-quakers.org.uk/2021/01/04/history-of-the-nfn/
    about the history of the NFN (here and in the UK).
    I met Miriam Yagud and James Riemermann at the 2012 conference at Woodbrooke and have been on the NFN (UK) steering group for 7 years I think.

    Reading this comment by John Ward, I might wonder if he has ‘nailed it’ and we should just lay the Network down! We have discussed this many times, most recently at our AGM by Zoom on 9 December 2020 – when it was decided to ‘soldier’ on!

    I think the reason for keeping the (UK) Network going has always been that people turn up and, in effect, say ‘No, no, don’t do that!’ (and we have had some fun conferences at Woodbrooke) but also because of our stated aims (https://nontheist-quakers.org.uk/about/aims-of-the-network/)
    which include “The Network’s aim is to provide a forum and supportive framework for Friends who regard religion as a human creation.” and it seems, to judge by visitors to and contacts made through our website, that some Friends (and attenders and would be attenders – new recruits to Quakers) still feel the need for or welcome that support.
    So maybe, even in BYM (Britain, not Baltimore – maybe that too!) John’s assertion that “we’re nearly all non-theists anyway” isn’t quite true? (It surely isn’t true of Quakers across the world!).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Been wondering where the book of discipline will go. The insights are typically Quakerspeak and vague and of course in a vastly shrinking world of converging Religions typically Christian bias. Not very welcoming to those who are yet to find a spiritual rock to stand on.??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting comment Bryan.
      Where will the book of discipline go?
      Which insights do you think are typically Quakerspeak (as in?).
      Which bit is typically Christian bias?
      Why not welcoming to those yet to find a spiritual rock. (Do Quakers offer that?)
      So many questions!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I had to look for this Bryan, you may be familiar with it: BYM QF&P20-06:
      In part reads:
      “Please be patient, those of you who have found a rock to stand on, with those of us who haven’t and with those of us who are not even looking for one. We live on the wave’s edge, where sea, sand and sky are all mixed up together: we are tossed head over heels in the surf, catching only occasional glimpses of any fixed horizon. Some of us stay there from choice because it is exciting and it feels like the right place to be.”
      Follow the link for the whole thing (2 paras.) from Philip Rack 1979.

      Liked by 1 person

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