For the past 30 odd years the Gainesville (FL) Friends Meeting has met in an old rundown dwelling a few blocks from Gatorland (the Univ. stadium). They outgrew that location and resolved to build a more suitable meeting house out in a residential area. Then they (very indiscreetly) sold their old place, and lost possession of it months (years?) before the new meeting house could come into existence.
The monthly Bible study group has existed almost from the beginning, but recently the long term Bible study leader moved to Oregon to be near his children. Ellie and I were selected to take his place.
The Jewish student center was retained for the regular weekly meeting for worship -- for one hour on Sunday morning. The second hour was 'catch as catch can'. For our Bible study group someone wangled space in a back room in a book store.
Ellie had the best line: so there we were, a Quaker Bible Study group, meeting in a coffee house, and studying something else. The group, after recent exposure to the Jesus Seminar had decided to look at Thomas, an excellent choice, I thought.
For a month (sporadically) Ellie and I prepared material so we would have something to present, but the eight eager students had all sorts of questions and opinions to express. The consensus was that while the other four gospels, especially John, seemed to focus largely on belief, Thomas was all about the inner experience. As one man put it, "Thomas' Jesus didn't care whether you believed or what you believed; he just told it like it is: seek until you find and you 'shall not taste of death'" (verse 1).
I asked the group what they wanted to study next month: "more Thomas" was virtually unanimous. Call it Quaker consensus.
Thanks for your attention, dear reader. If you're ever in Gainesville on the fourth first day, I hope you'll come by.