Things which might be added: FWCC; links to Unitarians, Buddhists, Humanists, etc
To add: 3 items from Alan's deletions; 2 papers from Devon Newsletter
- www.experiment-with-light.org.uk [Alan says Jude Whitby knows more about this.]
- Convergent Friends: Highly relevant now with the World Conference in Kenya. These are Friends who want to work to help bring together the various strands of Quakerism worldwide, or at least try to develop a common understanding of what we are about. Website: http://www.convergentfriends.org/resources/
- Sea of Faith Network UK
- Inter-faith Network
- Quaker Universalist Group
- Religion and Ethics: The Quakers (A BBC Guide inc. ethics, sex, marriage, funerals)
- Ecumenical Occasions (Quaker Committee for Christian & Interfaith Relations)
- 'Light to Live By: an exploration of Quaker spirituality', Rex Ambler, Quaker Books, London 2008.See also NAYLER: The Living Vision,
Quakers and sustainability: what now?, and 'Experiment with Light'.
What is it about the Quakers?
Modern Friends sometimes hear, from people who know a bit about us, that we are 'good' people, whatever that may mean, while to the public at large we either died out years ago, or are a 'strict' sect. In fact we are pretty normal people but with a passion for silence, fellowship and peace.
In his book 'Light to Live By*', Rex Ambler describes the essence of the Quaker experience which developed around 1650:
"The meditative process was thought of as the basis for a whole way of life......... Truth had to be accessed through a discipline of silence and waiting, but once it had been 'seen' and accepted, it had to be acted on. Then more insight would be gained, and one's own life would become richer and more effective."
This process, of meditation followed by action, is still at work today, for example on the issue of sustainability. Friends decided collectively last year (see below), that the way we live must change now, so that we can do our bit towards preventing the worst effects of climate change; and it will. Perhaps this will lead us to move right out of our comfort zone (literally), and develop in our lives the strength of vision which 17th Century Quakers had, and which some of them even died for.
Quakers and "Churches Together"
In Spring 2008 some Friends in Barnstaple were concerned about the use on the Home Page in April of the notes concerning CTE which accompanied Advices and Queries 6. The full text is given below:
Do you work gladly with other religious groups in the pursuit of common goals? While remaining faithful to Quaker insights, try to enter imaginatively into the life and witness of other communities of faith, creating together the bonds of friendship."
(This is one of forty two such Advices and Queries. They are frequently read or referred to in Quaker Meetings for Worship)
Britain Yearly Meeting, the prime meeting for Quaker church affairs in Britain, is a member of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, which includes CTE (Churches Together in England).
The Basis of membership of these bodies reads: "The Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland is a fellowship of churches in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit".
Having no creed, the Society of Friends was unable to agree to this, and are members under what is known as Clause 2b, which reads as follows:
"A church, which on principle has no credal statements in its tradition and therefore cannot formally subscribe to the statements of faith in the Basis, may nevertheless apply for and be elected to full membership provided that it satisfies those member churches which subscribe to the Basis that it manifests faith in Christ as witnessed to in the Scriptures and is committed to the aims and purposes of the new ecumenical body, and that it will work in the spirit of the Basis."
* From 'Quaker Faith and Practice (third edition), reference 9.09. I was unable to find a full explanation of the position until now (6 April 2008), thanks to John Ward of Bideford Meeting. It is given in chapter 9 of Quaker Faith & practice online in paragraph 9.09.
Britain Yearly Meeting also has a Quaker Committee for Christian and Interfaith Relations
Barnstaple Friends felt that the text above was unsuitable for use on a website for enquirers because it does not convey the spirit of Quakerism - open to all and by no means limited to professing Christians.