Younger Friends and the future

Last July, I wrote about how “younger evangelicals” see the Church.
Well, more than two years ago, Martin Kelley (Quaker Ranter, of the Gohn Bros. and Quaker plain clothing post) wrote the following article with the same source material, and Unitarian Universalist will find many, many parallels. Quite fascinating. Even the family legacy piece has a parallel in an old Universalist church dynamic that I’m glad to say is moribund and rare.
Emergent Church Movement: The Younger Evangelicals and Quaker Renewal

3 Replies to “Younger Friends and the future”

  1. Lord I need to comment on this one, but haven’t the time quite yet. The UU to Quaker echo is scary, and their additional echos between the rapid collapse of rural Universalism in Ohio, and rural Quakerism in Indiana.

    More if I find time. -Derek

  2. OK – First parallel tween UU’s and Quakers in the generational divide… There is an older generation that wants to perpetuate a 1960’s style protest culture as a vehicle for social change. The younger generation prefers fewer protests, and more hands-on community service and lobbying. To the youngers, the heavy reliance on protests feels paralyzed and ineffective.

    At the rural end of my first comment… A key component (but not the only one) to the continuing collapse of rural Universalism in Ohio (1918-present); and rural Quakerism in Indiana (1945-present) is rooted in the dynamic of family churches. Many of these churches were dominated by one to three extended families. New members were largely by birthright or marriage. The faith development of “non-kin” seekers was not cultivated. The church was a place of family worship. When a siginificant number of the younger generation move away, or just quit coming, the new member cycle is short circuited; leaving an aging, isolated congregation that does not know how to nurture newcomers who are not family.

  3. Hi everyone: glad you found the article. It prompted me to re-read it myself. A few things have changed but the general gist is there. It’s not so surprising that Quaker and Unitarian history would have echos, if for no other reason that many Friends and Unitarians worked and met together in the “Progressive” Friends movement. I must admit to knowing almost nothing about Universalists in Ohio and wonder if that would be a useful thing to look at.

    Derek, if you’re interested in Ohio in particular, you might want to get a copy of Bill Taber’s “Eye of the Storm,” a history of Ohio Yearly Meeting. It’s out of print but I’m sure it’s available used or in libraries. He talks about the rural evolution and he has some good insights on why and how Friends were unable to pass along core faith values. It sounds a lot like what you’re looking at.
    In Friendship,
    Martin Kelley aka the Quaker Ranter

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