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. Elined Kotschnig, one of the founding members, would later recall: “Gradually out of the very extremity of the darkness, pinpoints 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.”
THE FCRP WEEKEND
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, the spiritual nature of evil, healing our environment and and our relationship with the natural world, myths and symbols as path to the Self, neurobiology, trauma, addiction, and the interweaving of body, mind, and spirit, .
We also have a smaller late winter conference, the Washington Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology. WFCRP is a three-day, two-night conference that meets over President's Day weekend in northern Virginia.
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 at Geneva Friends Meeting interested in the similarities between the mysticism of Quaker worship and Jungian psychology.
The group met Dr. Jung and his wife Emma in 1936. At a four-hour tea in the family garden in Kusnacht, the women discussed with Jung the affinities between his 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 premise 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.