Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

According to Burton, Armageddon still looms in our future and when it finally arrives, non-believers shall perish while, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (recently expanded to 81 angels, including himself and his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci), Burton and his followers shall be spared, founding a new and more perfect civilization. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Get tickets for North Sierra Wine Trail

[ed. - Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce Director of Visitor Services, and Fellowship of Friends business leader, Steven Dambeck, uses the occasion of the North Sierra Wine Trail to promote his Yuba Harvest tasting room cafe, and the Fellowship's Renaissance Vineyard & Winery. Apparently he was not acting in his official capacity when he contacted a reporter from the Sacramento Bee to discuss the annual event. Eight wineries not affiliated with the Fellowship of Friends are mentioned in passing.]

Fellowship of Friends cult Apollo/Renaissance Vineyard & Winery gate house Oregon House, CA
Get tickets for North Sierra Wine Trail
Sacramento Bee
04/14/2015 5:00 AM
04/14/2015 5:02 PM
Tickets are on sale now for the third annual North Sierra Wine Trail, two days of tastings and other wine- and food-related experiences April 25 and 26 in the Yuba foothills.

A dozen wineries plus some area restaurants and retailers will take part in this special event. Advance tickets are $20, available online at; tickets are $25 on tour days at the wineries.
A self-guided tour, the wine trail adventure starts with a commemorative wine glass at the participating winery of your choice. Along with the official “passport,” that glass is your ticket to tastings (plus complimentary appetizers or other food) at wineries from Oregon House to Oroville.

“You can spend two days drinking wine for the price of that one commemorative glass,” said Steven Dambeck of Yuba Harvest tasting room, cafe and market in Oregon House. “It’s really quite a deal.”

Located at 9222 Marysville Road in Oregon House, Yuba Harvest will be pouring wines from all the participating wineries, Dambeck said. Patrons also can sample olive oil and other Yuba-grown products. In addition, Yuba Harvest will host an Argentine asado barbecue at 6 p.m.; reservations are suggested. Call (530) 418-8240.

Among the other stops on the wine trail are: Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, Grant-Eddie Winery, Clos Saron, Lucero Vineyards and Winery, Bangor Ranch Vineyards and Winery, Grey Fox Vineyards, Hickman Family Vineyards, Long Creek Winery and Ranch, Quilici Vineyards, Spencer Shirey Vineyard and Purple Line Urban Winery.

It’s a rare opportunity for the public to sample many of these wines and explore the Yuba wine region, Dambeck said. Several of these wineries are usually open only by appointment.

Their grapes grow in the northern extreme of the Sierra Foothills wine appellation, which stretches across eight counties. The appellation sub-regions of California Shenandoah Valley or El Dorado may be better known, Dambeck noted, but the North Yuba area is gaining notoriety, too.

“Part of what makes this region interesting is the difference in terroir,” he said. “Bangor is at 500 feet (elevation); Oregon House is at 1,700 feet. That’s a huge difference in growing conditions. In our area (Oregon House), on the west-facing slopes, the cabernets are magnificent. On the east-facing slopes, the Cotes du Rhone wines — syrah, grenache, mourvedre, viognier — all do really well.

“The Oregon House wineries such as Renaissance are known for their cabs and syrah while the wineries near Bangor produce good petite syrah, malbec, barbera and chardonnay,” Damback added. “There’s a lot to like.

“What we’re hoping is that more people from Sacramento will come north to discover us,” he added. “This is a great opportunity; the North Sierra Wine Trail happens once a year. And we’re only an hour away.”

Call The Bee’s Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.
Wine trail event brings out area vino lovers
David Bitton
Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.
April 27, 2015 9:30 AM EDT

Hundreds sampled wines including cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah at nearly a dozen different wineries Saturday and Sunday during the third annual North Sierra Wine Trail event.

"You walk through the doors and you get hit by the smells," said Greg Holman, president of Renaissance Vineyard and Winery in Oregon House. "People like being in a winery."

Wineries in both Yuba and Nevada counties participated, and owners were very pleased with the turnout. Holman said about 130 people walked through the doors at his winery, where wine from both Renaissance Vineyard and Winery and Grant Marie Winery were being poured to upbeat customers who paid $25 to taste wine using a collectors' glass.

"I enjoy the wine, food and talking with people," Anne Palmer of Gridley said while sampling with some girlfriends. "It is such a nice and beautiful day."

The friends enjoyed traveling along the narrow and windy tree-lined roads while making their way from one winery to another.

Grant Ramey, owner of Grant Marie Winery in Oregon House -- formerly known as Grant Eddie Winery -- said he was pleased with the sales he had seen while pouring for people from throughout the region and beyond.

Steven Dambeck of Oregon House was pouring wine from Cordi Winery, which is out of Live Oak, at Yuba Harvest in Oregon House, which he co-owns.

Dambeck said his shop, which also serves food, attracted about 400 people during the two-day event.

"What is really interesting is that we are seeing people from Sacramento and Roseville," said Dambeck, the director of visitor services for the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce. "We are emerging as a known destination for wine in California."

CONTACT David Bitton at 749-4796. Find him on Facebook at ADdbitton.
Distributed by Tribune News Service

Monday, April 13, 2015


[ed. - A former Fellowship of Friends member engages in a bit of satire.]

"Jomo Piñata" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 15, 2010:
We were “founded” forty years ago by someone who claimed to understand Fourth Way teachings of George Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky, but who admitted early on that he had actually never read Gurdjieff’s writings.

We deceptively advertised for decades by placing bookmarks depicting oil paintings of these luminaries, together with the words, “Gurdjieff Ouspensky Centres,” in the books of these authors. For many years only the name “Gurdjieff Ouspensky Centres” appeared on the bookmarks, while “The Fellowship of Friends, Inc.,” which is the actual corporate name, did not appear.

In 1977 the founder claimed that we were the only people who had the right to teach the system at that time (, and that our group was the greatest mystery of the Twentieth Century. However, the Twentieth Century has been succeeded by the Twenty-First, so we have recently ditched any claim to be following the Fourth Way.

In the mid-1980s we drafted canons ( ) modeled after those of the Catholic Church, in an attempt to hoodwink governmental authorities into believing that we were a genuine religion and should pay as little tax as possible. This effort was only partially successful, as California refused museum status to the founder’s residence (noting it was not a “museum,” but a “warehouse” where art [was] stored)( ), and the neo-Catholic veneer of authenticity was abandoned as lightly as it was adopted. Later the founder commented that his new civilization would not be founded on “Judeo-Christian principles,” and that he hadn’t decided yet what principles it would be founded on.

Today we appear to embrace the practical wisdom of all great spiritual traditions, but the truth is that we have no enduring allegiance or principle except self-abasement and subordination to the founder’s sexual predations and inexhaustible need for narcissistic supply. Everything is fungible here, including each of us.

Won’t you join us?