Today's Throwback Thursday post comes from my early years as a youth leader. It was first published on this blog in 2009 during my very first month of blogging. I'm too busy having fun with my friends Steve and Carl Semmler to write anything new today!
New Garden Friends Meeting was (and still is) a very distinctive place, even amongst the somewhat peculiar people known as Quakers. It sits across the street from a Quaker college (Guilford) and next door to a large Quaker retirement community (Friends Homes). It is very difficult to say that anything in the "norm" among Friends, but for the most part Quaker meetings and churches are divided into two categories- programmed (pastors, choirs, sermons and other elements of protestant worship) and unprogrammed (no pastor, no music, silent worship broken by people speaking from leading of the Spirit). New Garden was both, choosing to call itself "semi-programed." Among the elements of tradition Quaker worship that New Garden had preserved was the facing bench. In early Quaker worship, there was no pastor to sit "up front" and preside over the Meeting for Worship, so elders would sit there, facing the gathered worship community. They would, among other things, end worship when they sensed it was time by simply standing and shaking hands. New Garden ended worship in that same manner.
Because of Jesus,