The Friends Center is a retreat and conference center for outreach for the Christian unprogrammed Quakerism of Ohio Yearly Meeting.
The Friends Center expresses OYM's grounding in Christian faith and its tradition of hospitality for spiritual seekers. Here we can explore, articulate and share an understanding of Quaker faith and practice which is both unprogrammed and Christian. While that faith is rooted in the experience and writings of earlier Friends, we seek to express it in ways appropriate to the language and conditions of our own time.
The witness of Ohio Yearly Meeting is also shaped by our location, centered in rural eastern Ohio. It is an appropriate setting in which to explore issues affecting rural life and community as they grow out of faith.
The central gathering space for the Friends Center is the Morian, a house adjacent to Stillwater Meetinghouse and bordering the campus of Olney Friends School. The Morian provides meeting and eating space as well as a library and three bedrooms. Additional rooms for lodging are available in the Mary Davis, the guest house of Olney Friends School, as is Stillwater Meetinghouse.
The Friends Center is in a rural setting surrounded by the hills of Belmont County. The facilities of Barnesville, a pleasant town of under 5,000, are within a few minutes walk or drive. Attractive, quiet grounds and nearby rural roads are available for walking.
Take time out from the business of your life to accept Jesus' invitation to "come aside and rest awhile." Friends have known since our beginning that times of retirement from outward activity nourish the soul and allow us to sink deeper into an awareness of God's work in our lives. In solitude one can experience with William Penn that "True silence is... to the spirit, what sleep is the the body, nourishment and refreshment."
A weekend, a day or several days in the solitude of a personal retreat offers time for refreshment to both body and spirit. It provides opportunity to take our lives into the silence before God, to listen more deeply to the Inward Teacher; it opens the way for God's transforming work in us.
Persons wishing for consultation during their time of retreat may arrange to talk with a Friend experienced in spiritual guidance. Frances Taber, a graduate of Shalem Institute's Spiritual Guidance Program, who also developed a personal retreat program at Pendle Hill, is available as her schedule permits.
The Morian House is available for personal retreats as the schedule permits. One may enjoy the use of the house alone, or possibly with one other retreatant in residence.
Each person will have a private bedroom with a comfortable chair and a writing table. The bath is shared; an additional half-bath is also available. A living room and a library of Quaker and other spiritual books are at the disposal of the retreatant. A patio and swing give oppurtunity for sitting outdoors.
The retreatant may bring food to prepare in the Friend's Center's fully-equipped kitchen. Alternately, arrangements may be made to pick up the noon and evening meals at the Olney School Kitchen with Breakfast groceries available in the house.
The Friends Center will rent space to compatible groups needing meeting space or faliities for small conferences. Use of the Friends Center for a half day is $20, for a full day, up to 12 hour: $35. Lunch or supper from the Olney School kitchen, by arrangement, costs $6.50 per person.
To arrange for a rental write:
Friends Center Coordination
61388 Olney Lane
Barnesville, OH 43713
Or phone Fran Taber at 740-425-1248.
Each weekend event begins with a meal at 6:30 PM on Friday and ends with a noon meal on Sunday. Please include a $25 deposit for each event with your registration, which can be refunded up to a week before the starting date of the event. If you need to cancel your registation, please phone Fran Taber (740-425-1248). Requests for single occupancy rooms will be honored, as space is available, for an additional $20 for the weekend. Scholarship aid is usually available.