Quaker Practice

Radical Quakerism: From Roots to Shoots to Fruits

On May 2, Reno Friends will gather for a day-long workshop on Radical Quakerism led by Kathy and Bob Runyan from Quaker Center in Ben Lomond, California. The Quaker Center’s  mission is “to nurture the spiritual growth and faithfulness of Friends and others while strengthening Quakerism and its witness in the world.” Bob and Kathy have developed this workshop for Friends Meetings around California and Nevada.

What is Radical Quakerism, and what does it have to do with roots, shoots and fruits?  According to the Runyans, early Friends preached and lived a message based on a direct relationship with God, experienced inwardly; that was Radical Quakerism. This message transformed the early Quakers’  personal lives,  and it attracted more than one of every one hundred English people into the Society of Friends by 1680, despite the risk to Quakers of persecution and death.

The May workshop will give Reno Friends an opportunity to explore their Quakers roots, particularly the concept of the Light Within and the role of expectant communal worship, which allows Quakers to recognize and pay attention to the Light Within.  In the Runyans’ words, “a pure, quiet, profound place can be found at the center of our being, if we wait in humility and turn our attention within, below our thoughts, emotions, fears, desires and expectations.”

When we yield to the Light Within, we are transformed and brought into unity with one another, the Runyans say.  But it isn’t easy. This part of the workshop –  the shoots –focuses on yielding to the Light, allowing the Light to transform us, and the mutual accountability and support that the Meeting provides us in discerning and being faithful to the Light Within. Discernment in understanding God’s will is done best in the context of the larger Meeting, where questions can be raised and support offered.

Transformation sends up shoots, but to nurture those and produce fruits – spirit-led action – Friends must come together in unity. The Runyans say that the Light Within will gradually bring those in a Meeting into unity with one another. That can transform our relationships if we stay connected to its source.  “From this Unity, we can act with the guidance of the Light Within as a corporate body to support one another’s leadings to bring about change in personal lives, the Meeting community, and beyond,” they say.

Bob, Kathy and their three sons attended Reno Meeting from 1995 to 2000 and the couple has served as co-directors at Quaker Center since 2011. Kathy says they are looking forward to seeing their old Meeting House and spending time with Reno Friends. The workshop is open to attenders and Members of Reno Friends. It runs from 10 am to 4 pm on May 2 at the Meeting House.

If you are interested in participating, please email the clerk at wswallow54(at) And remember to bring something for our potluck lunch!

In the Light,

Wendy Swallow, Clerk of Reno Friends Meeting

 email: wswallow54 (at)

The opinions expressed above are not necessarily those of Reno Friends Meeting.