The first Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology was held over Easter weekend in 1943 at the Friends Meeting House in Haddonfield, New Jersey. In the shadow of WWII, one of our founding members, Elined Kotschnig, wrote:
“Gradually out of the very extremity of the darkness, pin-points of light and understanding were seen glimmering here and there in a counter movement to the vortex of devastation and degradation we had been sucked down into.”
FCRP CORE VALUES
Our plenary speaker develops the Conference theme in four informal talks over the four-day period. Within our nonjudgmental and retreat-like environment, we can open ourselves to the speaker’s message and its personal resonance in our lives. The small group workshops use discussion, art materials, writing, dreams, and body work to process and integrate insights. Throughout the weekend, community builds as well through informal sharing at meals and in free time.
Conference topics have included: meditation, aging, trauma, the spiritual nature of evil, healing our environment and the natural world, neurobiology, addiction, and the interweaving of body, mind, and spirit.
The Washington Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology, our sister organization, is a smaller, three-day, two-night conference which meets mid-February in the Washington DC area. WFCRP is also a chance to be part of an on-going spiritual community bringing light to the dark time of the year.
You can view an index of all past FCRP speakers and topics here. Or visit this page for more details about the history of FCRP Conferences from 1943 to 1969.
Elinid Kotschnig trained as an analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich in the mid-1930s and was part of a Quaker study group in Geneva which examined similarities between Quakerism and Jungian psychology. The group met Dr. Jung and his wife Emma in 1936. At a four-hour tea in the family's garden in Kusnacht, the group discussed the affinity between Jung’s conviction that spiritual growth began with the journey inward to the unconscious and the Quaker conviction that focus on the Inner Light provided direction. This foundation continues to be a springboard for FCRP’s exploration of the Life of the Spirit through the inward journey—a journey which embraces disciplines beyond psychology and the Quaker faith.
You can find out more about FCRP's origins in this article from the conference's 75th Anniversary.