12585 Rices Crossing Road
Oregon House, CA 95962
|http://www.beingpresent.org and http://www.livingpresence.com|
The Fellowship of Friends headquarters are located in Oregon House, on a 1200-acre plot of land that it calls "Apollo," where about 600 of its members live. The group claims approximately 1000 additional members worldwide. Members are required to pay a tithe on their gross monthly income.
The Fellowship of Friends was founded by Robert Earl Burton on January 1, 1970. In 1971 purchased 1200 acres of land in Oregon House and officially registered as a religious organization in 1979. It describes itself as a Fourth Way spiritual school, though it does not precisely adhere to the original Fourth Way principles developed by George Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky. The group believes that since the Fourth Way is based on individual verification and understanding, as well as on personal transmission, their "teacher," Robert Burton, is free to reinterpret it in his own way, drawing upon Sumerian and Egyptian texts, Greek philosophy (the schools of Pythagoras and Plato), the Old Testament and New Testament (including the Essenes and Gnostics) and certain Sufi and Buddhist teachings from the 9th to the 19th centuries. The group's stated purpose is to help its members "awaken" spiritually. Members believe that this task includes preserving the highest forms of beauty, knowledge, and culture. To this end, they maintain their own theater group, as well as engaging in various other artistic endeavors.1
One of the group's sources of income was Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, located on the "Apollo" land. Although the winery has been greatly reduced in size over the past decade, meaning that Renaissance wine is no longer as widely available as it used to be, Renaissance wine is still served at Café Collage.
A number of former members have sued Robert Earl Burton, the founder of the organization, for alleged sexual abuse. He has also been criticized for having a lavish lifestyle and for false prophecies.1
BeingPresent.org (official Fellowship of Friends site)
LivingPresence.com (official Fellowship of Friends site)
Fellowship of Friends article on Wikipedia
Robert Earl Burton and The Fellowship of Friends
Fellowship of Friends Blog
Rick Ross' Cult Education Institute: Fellowship of Friends
1. Jenifer Warren. "Trouble Taints a Cerebral Sanctuary," Los Angeles Times, November 4, 1996.
2. Frith, Stephanie. "Award-Winning Yuba County Winery Also Serves as a Cult," The Sacramento Bee,August 17, 2002.
3. Mobley, Esther. 'How a California cult created one of the country's great wineries — and then lost it," San Francisco Chronicle, August 23, 2018.