FAITH AND PRACTICE
Wilmington Yearly Meeting of
the Religious Society
(BOOK OF DISCIPLINE)
FAITH AND LIFE
Adopted at Yearly Meeting Sessions
This Electronic Copy was scanned from the original copy and reformatted to this page size in 2008. Revisions to
Part II Chapters 2-4 approved By Wilmington Yearly Meeting in 2000 have been substituted for the original
FAITH AND PRACTICE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Expanding Appreciation of Truth 5
Origin and Development of the Discipline 5
Adoption of the Uniform Discipline 5
The Book of Faith and Practice 6
George Fox and the Rise of the People Called Quakers 9
American Beginnings and Growth 8
Branches of Friends 8
Evangelical Movements of the Nineteenth Century 9
Development of the Pastoral Ministry 9
Origin of the Friends National Organizations 10
Other Cooperative Agencies 11
FAITH AND THOUGHT
Basic Principles 13
Ideals of Worship 14
Testimony on Ceremonial Rites 15
The Scriptures 16
Spiritual Gifts 17
LIFE AND ACTION
Way of Life 18
Evangelism and Extension 18
Friends and Education 20
The Social Order 22
Friends and the State 23
Justice in Interracial Relations 24
Justice in International Relations 26
Testimonies on Family and Personal Life 26
Sanctity of the Home 26
Recreation and Amusements.. 27
Healthful Living 27
Health Practices 27
Gambling and Lotteries 28
Judicial Oaths 28
Secret and/or Discriminatory Organizations 28
Introductory Statement 29
General Queries 29
Queries for Meetings on Ministry and Counsel 30
ORGANIZATION AND BUSINESS PROCEDURE
FORM OF GOVERNMENT
Ideals in Organization 32
The Meeting 33
Basis of Membership 33
Rules of Membership 33
Reception by Application 33
Reception and Transfer by Certificate or Letter 34
Discontinuance of Membership 35
Dealing with Offenders 35
Guidelines for Continuing Membership 36
THE MONTHLY MEETING
Organization and Functions 37
Ministry and Counsel 38
Finance Committee 40
Nominating Committee 40
Auxiliary Groups 40
Special Responsibilities for Ministry 41
Pastors and Meeting Secretaries 41
Minutes for Service 42
With the Minister Participating 42
When Arranged by the Meeting 42
Relations to Superior Meetings 43
Outreach and New Meetings 44
Organization and Functions 46
Relation to Monthly Meetings 46
Relation to the Yearly Meeting 47
Departmental Chairpersons 47
Meeting on Ministry and Counsel 48
Organization and Functions 49
Permanent Board 51
Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel 52
Recording of Ministers 53
Yearly Meeting Boards 54
Relations with Wilmington College 55
Sources of Business 56
Young Friends and Junior Yearly Meetings 57
FRIENDS UNITED MEETING
Triennial Sessions 58
Organization and Functions 59
Commissions and Their Functions 61
Property and Financial Interests 63
Associated Organizations 65
AUTHORIZED DECLARATION OF FAITH
Essential Truths 67
Extract from George Fox's Letter to the Governor of Barbadoes, 1671 68
Declaration of Faith Issued by The Richmond Conference, 1887 69
Of God 69
The Lord Jesus Christ 70
The Holy Spirit 71
The Holy Scriptures 72
Man's Creation and Fall 72
Justification and Sanctification 72
The Resurrection and Final Judgment 73
The Supper of the Lord 75
Public Worship 75
Prayer and Praise 76
Liberty of Conscience in Its Relation to Civil Government 76
The First Day of the Week 77
A. Application for Membership 79
B. Removal Certificate 79
C. Letter to Other Denominations 80
D. Form of Affirmation 80
E. Marriage Vows 80
F. Certificate of Marriage 80
G. Marriage Service, A Minister Participating 81
Faith and Practice
The Expanding Appreciation of Truth
Human understanding of truth is always subject to growth. This basic principle also underlies the development of the
organizations and institutions through which the spirit of Christianity is made operative in life. While fundamental
principles are eternal, expressions of truth and methods of Christian activity should develop in harmony with the
needs of the times. God, who spoke through the prophets, and supremely in Jesus Christ, still speaks through men
and women who have become new creatures in Christ (II Cor. 5:17), being transformed by the renewing of their
minds (Rom. 12:2) and, therefore, able and willing to receive fresh revelations of truth.
Frequently, however, we see "through a glass, darkly," (I Cor. 13:12) and may misinterpret or make incorrect
applications. Therefore, as the stream of life flows on, bringing new conceptions, insights and situations, it is
necessary to strive constantly for a clearer comprehension of divine truth that will enter vitally into personal
experience and become a creative factor for the redemption of human character and the remolding of society on the
Christian pattern. "A religion based on truth must be progressive. Truth being so much greater than our conception
of it, we should ever he making fresh discoveries." (London Yearly Meeting 1920).
Origin and Development of the Discipline
The term "discipline" is used by Friends to designate those arrangements which they have instituted for their civil
and religious nurture and guidance as a Christian group. For almost a decade following the beginning of the ministry
of George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends, his followers were without organization, but as they grew in
unity and in numbers there arose responsibilities to admonish, encourage, and help one another both in spiritual
and in temporal affairs. They found it necessary to make certain provisions for the preservation of order in their
fellowship and for the care of the poor and those who suffered for conscience sake.
There was also need for the supervision of the exercise of spiritual gifts and of the work of publishing truth. The
rules and advices pertaining to such ministrations were finally incorporated in the discipline. The earliest Quaker
advice on Christian practice was issued by the famous gathering of Friends at Balby in Yorkshire in 1656, a
statement that well describes the spirit which should characterize all books of discipline: "Dear beloved friend, these
things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all with the measure of light which is pure and
holy may be guided, and so in the light walking and abiding these may be fulfilled in the spirit, not from the letter; for
the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."
An important step in the development of the discipline was the drafting by George Fox in 1668 of a body of advices
and regulations to which his opponents gave the name of "Canons and Institutions." This served for a long time as
the discipline of the Society, although the name was formally disclaimed by Friends in 1675. It formed the basis for
the Discipline of London Yearly Meeting and for all later books of discipline. As the various Yearly Meetings were
established in America, each prepared and adopted its own book of discipline but there was much similarity because
of the common use of material from older editions. These disciplines were revised from time to time as the rules and
advices which they contained became inadequate and inappropriate. Thus, as the conscience of Friends became
aware of the evils involved in human slavery or in the use of intoxicating drinks, these convictions were expressed in
Adoption of the Uniform Discipline
Many diverse factors during the latter half of the nineteenth century had affected the outlook, activities, and
relationships of members of the Society of Friends in America. As those cross currents were faced in the
conferences of Yearly Meetings held in 1887, 1892, and 1897, sentiment developed for a closer union of the Yearly
Meetings to be accomplished partly by a general representa¬tive meeting and partly by the adoption of a uniform
discipline. A committee of two representatives from each of the Yearly Meetings taking part in the conference of
1897 was appointed to formulate a plan of union and to prepare the proposed discipline. "The Constitution and
Discipline for the American Yearly Meetings of Friends", the official name of the new discipline, was adopted by the
Yearly Meetings of New England, Wilmington, Indiana, and Kansas in 1900; California, New York, Western, and
Baltimore in 1901; Oregon, North Carolina, and Iowa in 1902; Nebraska, when it was established in 1908. Canada
Yearly Meeting, when received in the Five Years Meeting in 1907, was given the privilege of adapting the Discipline
to its own needs.
The Book of Faith and Practice
The Uniform Discipline met quite acceptably the needs of the Yearly Meetings which adopted it. But the revolutionary
changes in life and thought experienced in the twentieth century brought to Friends the realization that the
statements of faith and practice as set forth by the Discipline should be reexamined and revised that they might
more adequately meet the needs of the Yearly Meetings. This concern found expression in numerous proposals by
Yearly Meetings for amendments to the Discipline. Eventually in 1940, the Executive Committee of the Five Years
Meeting recommended to that body that steps be taken for a revision. The Five Years Meeting of 1940 adopted a
method of procedure providing for the appointment of a committee which was instructed to prepare a revised draft of
the Discipline for the consideration of the Five Years Meeting and its constituent Yearly Meetings.
The revised copy was submitted to the constituent Yearly Meetings. Some of the Yearly Meetings adopted the
revised text as submitted to them, making slight revisions and adaptations. Others adopted parts of the text. One
Yearly Meeting adopted Part II only. Practically no two Yearly Meetings took identical action with regard to it.
Thus, the necessary acceptance of the revision by four-fifths of the Yearly Meetings was not attained. Since two of
the doctrinal statements included in the revision were from the Uniform Discipline, and since the revision was not
approved, some concluded that the entire contents of the revision (except the business procedure) were "unofficial".
Friends from several Yearly Meetings requested clarifica¬tion of the status of the three-fold doctrinal statement
adopted by the Five Years Meeting in 1902, and which in 1922 was re-affirmed. (The doctrinal statements referred
to were "Essential Truths", "Extracts from George Fox's Letter to the Governor of Barbadoes, 1671", and the
"Declaration of Faith" issued by the Richmond Conference of 1887. These had all been part of the Uniform
Discipline.) Careful inquiry by the General Board of Friends United Meeting and the 1975 Sessions led to the
"Research indicated that the action taken in 1922 reaffirming the Authorized Declaration was probably not affected
by subsequent attempt to revise the Discipline and thus has never been rescinded.... We accept the findings of this
research and recognize that the Authorized Declaration of Faith reaffirmed in 1922 remains the official statement of
Friends United Meeting. We note the conditions under which it was adopted. It is our understanding that these
conditions left constituent Yearly Meetings free to be guided by their own inspiration and did not impose a particular
phraseology on staff or officers of Friends United Meeting." (1975 Minutes of Friends United Meeting, page 30.)
Thus Friends United Meeting Yearly Meetings are no longer operating under a Uniform Discipline except the section
of Business Procedure for Friends United Meetings and the Authorized Declaration of Faith.
George Fox and the Rise of the People Called Quakers
The people called Quakers had their beginnings in England at a time of great religious and political ferment. The
Reformation had involved crown and church alike, and the struggle with the papacy had opened the way for
numerous independent movements that affected all elements of society. It was out of this ferment that George Fox
discovered and developed a vital faith. He was born in July, 1624, into a Christian home. His father, Christopher, was
known in his community as "Righteous Christer" and his mother, Mary, was "a good, honest, virtuous woman." In
Fox's own account in his Journal, he writes, "When I came to eleven years of age, I knew pureness and
righteousness; for while a child I was taught how to walk to be kept pure." At nineteen years of age, experiencing
deep spiritual conflict, he began a four-year period of wandering over the land, studying his Bible and seeking
spiritual help from churchmen and dissenters alike. He then tells of his great religious experience, "And when all my
hopes in them and in all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could I tell what to do: then,
oh! then I heard a voice which said, `There is One, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition ."' In 1647, at
the age of twenty-three, he began the ministry that was to bring together before his death in 1691 some fifty or sixty
thousand Friends in England, besides large groups in America and elsewhere.
First Called Quakers
The emphasis of George Fox on the light of Christ" led to the adoption by his followers of the name "Children of
the Light". This was succeeded as early as 1652 by "Friends in the Truth", or merely "Friends", from the saying of
Jesus, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” The popular name, "Quakers", was said by George
Fox to have been first applied by Justice Bennett in 1650, "because I bade them tremble at the word of the Lord". It
was said by Robert Barclay to have been applied as a term of reproach because "sometimes the power of God will
break forth into a whole meeting. . .and thereby trembling and a motion of the body will be upon most if not upon all" .
Although he declared that he was forming no new sect or denomina¬tional group but bringing a universal
message, Fox soon found some organization necessary for his growing fellowship. Though various local and general
meetings had been held previously, the first regular Monthly Meeting seems to have been organized in 1653. Fox,
referring to 1656, writes, "About this time I was moved to set up the men's Quarterly Meetings throughout the
nation", thus carrying on a work already begun and furnishing an enduring pattern of organization. General
meetings had been held in various localities prior to 1671 when London Yearly Meeting began to meet regularly.
Dublin (Ireland) Yearly Meeting was also organized in 1669.
Period of Persecution
During this early period of Quakerism the persecution because of the refusal to take oaths, pay tithes, and
attend the Established Church was extremely severe. About four hundred and fifty young leaders among Fox's
followers either were killed or died as a result of the various forms of persecution. The Meeting for Sufferings looked
after the victims of persecution and other cases of need, and later had general charge of the affairs of the group
between sessions of the Yearly Meeting.
American Beginnings and Growth
Growth and Expansion
The universal aspect of Quakerism led its messengers at an early date to the continent of Europe and as far
east as Turkey and Palestine. They ministered without prejudice to Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Moslems, and
impartially to kings, nobles, and peasants. The first Friends to cross the Atlantic went to Barbadoes where they had
large followings. Mary Fisher and Ann Austin who came to the Island in 1655, passed on to Boston the next summer
and, as far as is known, were the first Quaker visitors to the American mainland. These women were seized at once,
imprisoned, and finally sent back to their place of departure as were the other Quaker apostles who ventured to
come later. But banishment, fines, whipping, imprisonment, and even the hanging of four of their number on Boston
Common, 1659-1661, were not sufficient to restrain their coming. "If God calls us", they declared, "woe to us if we
Early American Yearly Meetings
George Fox and other early leaders visited America, evangelizing and aiding in the organization of Meet¬ings.
The first Yearly Meeting to be organized was New England in 1661; Baltimore Yearly Meeting was established in
1672 and Virginia Yearly Meeting was established in 1673 "by the motion and order of George Fox", who had also
attended the first and second sessions of Baltimore Yearly Meeting. Virginia Yearly Meeting united with Baltimore in
1845. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting was organized in 1681; New York in 1695, by New England; North Carolina in
1698; Ohio, the first beyond the Alleghenies, in 1813 by Baltimore. Indiana Yearly Meeting was organized by Ohio in
1821 and became the parent meeting of several other Yearly Meetings, including Wilmington in 1892. Miami, Center,
and Fairfield Quarterly Meetings purchased the site for Wilmington College in 1870 as a school to educate their
Quaker youth and the community young people. Wilmington Yearly Meeting's formation in 1892 evolved out of this
joint concern. Today Wilmington Yearly Meeting continues to play an active role with respect to its College as
detailed on pages 55 of this document.
Branches of Friends
Lack of Unity
The Yearly Meetings were independent bodies united only by a common origin and by common beliefs and
practices. Some degree of fellowship was maintained by annual exchange of epistles and by visits of traveling
ministers who came with minutes certifying their good standing at home; returning minutes testified to their
acceptable attendance. But since there was no common disciplinary guide, no central point of reference or mode of
conference, there was abundant room for the development of divergent standards and practices under the influence
of local leaders and conditions.
In 1827-28 long smoldering differ¬ences in doctrinal teaching and dis¬ciplinary practice, not unmixed with
personal feelings, came to a head over the teaching and standing of Elias Hicks and resulted in separations in five
Yearly Meetings: Philadelphia, New York, Ohio, Indiana, and Baltimore, in the order named. No separation occurred
in New England, North Carolina, or Virginia. Both groups in each case retained the name of the original Yearly
Meeting and were popularly distinguished later by the terms, "Orthodox" and "Hicksite".
Several Yearly Meetings were in¬volved in a second series of separations, extended over a longer period. This
is known as the Wilbur-Gurney controversy after the leaders of the two factions, or as the Conservative-
Progres¬sive separation due to the questions at issue. The conclusive authority and the systematic study and
teaching of the Scriptures, the use of new evangelistic methods, and the discontinuance of some of the ancient
testimonies were the chief causes of separation. A division occurred in New England Yearly Meeting in 1845 and
was followed by divisions in Ohio, Western, Iowa, Canada, and North Carolina Yearly Meeting.
Evangelical Movements of the Nineteenth Century
Ministry of Gurney
The development of American Quak¬erism has been greatly influenced by the visits of prominent English Friends.
Hannah Backhouse made extensive visits in the 1830's, encouraging Bible reading and study, and the organization
of Bible classes and Bible schools. Her cousin, Joseph John Gurney, who later visited nearly all the American Yearly
Meetings, gave the Bible a still more important place in Friends' consideration and placed a new emphasis on
conversion and on justification through the atoning death of Jesus Christ. Other influences reinforced these
movements and when the exclusiveness that had kept Friends from outside contacts was weakened, the American
revival of the 1850's reached the younger members.
Leading In 1860 Lindley M. Hoag of Iowa Evangelists and Sybil Jones of New England were present at Indiana Yearly
Meeting and encouraged a special meeting for the young Friends that became a time of vocal exercise and
testimony by hundreds. As a result an unusual group of young men and women were ready for the work of
evangelization which followed. The revival movement, checked by the Civil War, reappeared and continued
throughout the 1870's and the 1880's under the leadership of such evangelists as John Henry Douglas, Robert
Douglas, Nathan and Esther Frame, Allen Jay, and many others. There was some opposition to the new methods
and some excesses developed, but the movement spread, reaching the pillars of the Meetings and the general
Development of the Pastoral Ministry
Origin of Pastoral Ministry
The development of the pastoral ministry during the latter half of the nineteenth century was due to the growing
demand for leadership. The change probably would have come eventually but more slowly if it had not been for the
impetus given to it by the evangelical movement. Many were brought into membership by the revival meetings who
had had no experience in the practices and methods of the Society of Friends nor any knowledge of their doctrines
or traditions. "In places there were whole Meetings with only a few birthright members. Often converts in a series of
meetings would join Friends merely because the preacher was a Quaker and they had no other denominational
preferences." This called for a teaching ministry and for pastoral care such as had never been rendered in the
traditional type of Quaker meeting with its system of distributed responsibility.
Employment of Pastors
It was natural, therefore, that the evangelist should be asked to remain in the community and devote his/her
entire time to ministry and the shepherding of the flock. The feeling against the paid ministry diminished and
references to it were omitted in revisions of the Discipline. Definite employment and financial assistance were
provided for ministers and evangelists who were called to serve as pastors. These developments were obvious
departures from the early practices of Friends, meeting as they did at the hour of worship in a silence that might
continue through the hour, or that might be broken by any one of several resident ministers or other members of the
congregation. The change to pastoral ministry took place gradually but not without regret and even opposition on
the part of many. Today many Friends find their needs met in unprogrammed worship and others use pastoral
leadership. Wilmington Yearly Meeting contains both forms of worship.
Origin of the Friends National Organizations
Concern for Unity
It was felt that more contact among geographically separated "ortho¬dox" Friends was needed to help prevent
future divisions. The year after the separation of 1828, a conference of the "Orthodox" Yearly Meetings was held in
Philadelphia where a testimony was formulated which they all adopted as a statement of belief. Other conferences
were held in 1849, 1851, and 1853 following the Wilbur-Gurney separation, but were ineffective since not all the
Meetings were represented. Western Yearly Meeting twice asked for a conference but without success. Finally, in
1887, in response to a proposal made the year before by Indiana Yearly Meeting, twelve Yearly Meetings, including
London and Dublin, sent delegates to a general conference held in Richmond, Indiana. Specially invited members
from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Arch Street) were also present but not as official delegates. The principal work of
this conference was the formation of the Richmond Declaration of Faith which was later adopted by six of the Yearly
Meetings represented. London, New England, and Ohio Yearly Meetings did not adopt the declaration, while Dublin,
New York, and Baltimore Yearly Meetings gave their general approval without formal adoption.
Origin of Friends United Meeting
A second conference with the same American representation met at In¬dianapolis, Indiana, in 1892. It was
largely concerned with the consider¬ation of the pastoral ministry to which it gave its approval. It also planned for
united foreign missionary activities and for another conference to be held in the same city five years later. When this
third conference met in 1897, it approved the idea of a uniform discipline which was to provide for a conference
every five years with delegated powers. The new discipline was prepared and submitted to the Yearly Meetings in
1900 for approval; its adoption by eleven Yearly Meetings by 1902 opened the way for the organization of the Five
Years Meeting. The first session was held in Indianapo¬lis in 1902. The Meeting now meets every three years and is
called Friends United Meeting. Of the Yearly Meetings represented at the conference of 1897, only Philadelphia and
Ohio remained outside of the new organization. Canada Yearly Meeting joined the Five Years Meeting in 1907 and
Nebraska Yearly Meeting was organized by the Five Years Meeting in 1908. Oregon Yearly Meeting withdrew in
1926 and Kansas in 1937. The Friends United Meeting is now an international organization with the following
membership: Baltimore, California, Canadian, Cuba, East Africa, Indiana, Iowa, Jamaica, Nebraska, New England,
New York, North Carolina, Southeastern, Western and Wilming¬ton Yearly Meetings.
Origin of Friends General Conference
The Hicksite Yearly Meetings of Baltimore, Genesee (Canada), Illinois, Indiana, New York, Ohio, and
Philadelphia, after several years of working together informally, joined in forming the Friends General Conference in
1900. As the bitterness of the nineteenth century schisms diminished, most of these Yearly Meetings have united
with their orthodox and/or conserva¬tive counterparts. In doing so Canada, New York, and Balti¬more retained
membership in Friends United Meeting. Later New England Yearly Meeting, affiliated with F.U.M., also joined F.G.C.
Other Yearly Meetings have since been formed and have joined Friends General Conference.
Origin of Evangelical Friends Alliance
In 1965 four strongly evangelical Yearly Meetings; Kansas, Rocky Mountain, Oregon (now Northwest Yearly
Meeting), and Ohio (now Evangelical Friends Church, Eastern Region) formed the Evangelical Friends Alliance.
There has been an increasing amount of cooperation between Friends United Meeting and Evangelical Friends
Alliance in recent years, particularly through the Faith and Life Movement.
Other Cooperative Agencies
Associated Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs
The Associated Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs was organized in 1869 as the result of gov¬ernment
request that Friends appoint members to serve as Indian agents in Kansas and Oklahoma. The government
relation¬ship lasted only ten years, but the concern of Friends in this area was continued. The ACFIA is supported
by Friends from a wide variety of Quaker groups and Yearly Meetings. Wilmington Yearly Meeting has actively
participated in the work of the Committee by its appointment of representa-tives.
There are four Friends Centers in Oklahoma under the direction of the Associated Committee of Friends on Indian
Affairs. Support comes from voluntary Yearly Meeting contributions, local Meetings and individuals.
American Friends Service Committee
As a channel for service in a wide range of humanitarian activities at home and abroad, the American Friends
Service Committee has achieved wide recognition. It was organized in 1917 to train and equip for war relief and
reconstruction work in Europe the conscientious objectors to compulsory military training in the first World War. Its
work has been continued through the years in Europe and America, and more recently in Asia and Africa, as a
religious expression of the Society of Friends in fields of social action. Whatever concerns human beings in distress,
whatever may help free individuals, groups, and nations from fear, hate or narrowness - these are subjects for the
Committee's consideration. With the belief that the "Something of God in Man" will respond to unselfish love and
constructive good will, the Committee attempts to interpret religion in concrete ways as a reconciling influence
wherever violence and conflict have developed. Its work has been supported by all groups of Friends and by many
non-Friends, and it has cooperated closely with the Friends Service Council (London). In 1947 these two
organizations were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Friends World Committee for Consultation
Friends of all branches attended a Friends World Conference in London in 1920, at Swarthmore and
Haverford, Pennsylvania in 1937, at Oxford, England, in 1952, and at Guilford College, North Carolina, in 1967. An
American All Friends Conference held at Oskaloosa, Iowa, in 1929, was likewise inclusive. At the World Conference
of 1937 steps were taken to organize a committee "for future promotion of contacts and cooperation among
Friends". This has resulted in the formation of a "Friends World Committee for Consultation", with an American
section in which most Yearly Meetings are represented by official appointment. Under its supervision, a second
American All Friends Conference was held at Richmond, Indiana in 1942, and at Wilmington, Ohio in 1957. A
Conference of Friends in the Americas was held in Wichita, Kansas in 1977. The Faith and Life Conferences in
recent years have attracted Friends from all of the major groups in the United States.
Friends Committee on National Legislation
A group of Friends gathered at Quaker Hill, Richmond, Indiana, in 1943 and organized the Friends Committee
on National Legislation. It was agreed that a national representative Committee
would meet periodically to discuss issues, make decisions and set policy for the program. While it has been
recognized from the beginning that the FCNL does not speak for all Friends in the United States, it is equally clear
that many Friends believe in and support the ideas advanced by the Committee. The staff of the FCNL does not
take a position on any issue without the approval of the Committee. The Friends Committee on National Legislation
presents its views to members of Congress and other government officials through personal interviews, testimony
before congressional committees and printed statements. It publishes a newsletter and sponsors conferences and
seminars to provide information for concerned citizens so they can more knowledgeably form opinions and make
them known to government officials. The FCNL has offices in Washington, D.C. convenient to the legislative
Councils of Churches
A wider fellowship and fruitful co¬ operation with other religious groups have followed the participation of
Friends in local, state, and national associations and federations of churches. The most extensive relationship with
the Christian world has been attained through membership in the National Council of Churches of Christ in the
United States of America and the World Council of Churches. Thus Friends have traversed a full range of
experiences from a small, persecuted group, through an age of exclusiveness to a place of friendly recognition by
churches of widely differing doctrinal emphases and modes of worship.
FAITH AND THOUGHT
Father, Son, Holy Spirit
Friends, with other branches of the Christian Church, believe in God, the Father, the Creator, infinite in love,
wisdom and power, and supremely manifest in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, whose life, death, and
resurrection have given to mankind a unique revelation of the nature and reality of God. They believe with Paul that
"God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself," (II Cor. 5:19) and with John that "In Him was life; and the life
was the light of men." (John 1:4). They accept the assurance of John's gospel that God "gave His only begotten Son
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). Friends also hold as
essentials of the Christian life and experience: the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ, the atonement through Him
by which men are brought to God, and the gift of the Holy Spirit as the ever-present Comforter and Guide. Friends
hold that this is the age of the Spirit, and look to the Holy Spirit for guidance in their understanding of Truth.
Meaning of Salvation
Because of sin, there is need for repentance and salvation which bring deliverance from sin and the
possession of spiritual life. This comes through a personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, who through His love and
sacrifice draws mankind to Him. Conviction of sin is awakened by the operation of the Holy Spirit causing the soul to
feel its need for reconciliation with God. Persons thus come into newness of life and are saved from the power of sin
to righteousness as they yield their lives to Him in loving and loyal obedience. Their relationship to God becomes an
actual reality, a transforma¬tion that may be wrought without any human agency or ceremony since their entire
spiritual life springs from the direct relation of their souls with a living and present God and cooperation with Him.
Though adults may consciously and deliberately yield to evil impulses necessitating repentance, it does not follow
that infants and young children are under the condemnation of guilt. Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, do
not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God." (Mark 10:14 RSV). It should be noted, however, that the
Christian nurture of children is the highest privilege and most sacred duty of both the Christian family and the church.
The Living Presence
Friends give special emphasis to the vital principle that one's salvation and higher life are personal matters between
the individual soul and God. They recall that primitive Christianity was a spiritual society in which all members were
priests and held direct communion with God. From the birth of the Quaker movement, Friends have regarded
Christianity as essentially an experience and a way of life based on that experience. George Fox, in describing the
great spiritual transformation of his early life, declares, "And this I knew experimentally." (Fox's Journal, 1694 ed. p.
8). Isaac Penington gives as his testimony, "My heart said, `This is He whom I waited for and sought after from my
childhood. . .1 have met with my God, I have met with my Savior'." Robert Barclay says, "I felt a power that touched
my heart and as I gave way to it, I felt the evil in me weakening and the good raised up." This intimate fellowship with
God, the consciousness of Christ as a living presence, has run through the whole history of Quakerism as a warm,
life-giving stream. Nothing is more certain than that God is still speaking to mankind as He did in ancient times. His
Spirit guides and controls the surrendered life, makes sensitive the conscience, illuminates the mind, and
strengthens the will. The Christian's constant and supreme business is obedience to Him.
The Light of Christ
From the earliest days of their history there are frequent references in the writings of Friends to the belief that
there is in the human soul a Light (Ps. 36:9, John 1:9) which is of divine origin and which makes mankind capable of
response to moral and spiritual influences. It is this divine quality that enables one to develop that awareness of
moral distinctions and obligations known as conscience, and inspires one to live, struggle, and suffer for the
achievement of what ought to be. It gives persons pre-eminence over the natural world, raises them above their
physical nature, gives them divine potentialities, and makes it possible for them to experience the joys. and
satisfactions of the abundant life through acceptance of and obedience to Jesus Christ. It is this spiritual endowment
that enables mankind to advance beyond the narrow bounds of self toward the Christian ideals of goodness and
love, and to respond to the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. George Fox often called this principle the "Seed
of God." "That of God in you," or "the Light within." William Penn called it "The great principle of God in man, the root
and spring of divine substance." Robert Barclay described it as "a real, spiritual substance," or "a divine bestowal." It
is "that something we cannot call less than divine and universal, for it links us with the eternal realities, and with our
fellow men of whatever race or creed. It may be hidden or warped by ignorance or pride or self-will or prejudice, but
it cannot be wholly lost, for it is part of that which makes us essentially men, made in the divine image, and having
within us boundless possibilities of life in God." (London Yearly Meeting, 1920)
Divine- Human Relationship
The emphasis placed by Friends upon the foregoing principles is the source of their special testimonies and
activities. Since all persons are potentially temples of God, all personality is sacred; persons everywhere are the
object of His special concern and so are of immeasurable worth. This doctrine of the dignity of mankind permeates
all human associations; it rests on the divine-human relationship and works through all the aspects of life. As one
yields to divine guidance, one becomes an active partner with God in the extension of His Kingdom. It is the Light of
God within that gives a burning sense of mission and inspires the ideal of universal brotherhood. Out of the
realization of this spiritual fellowship come the rising tides of human sympathy that bear persons forth to do God's
will. With faith in the wisdom of Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and believing that it is His
purpose to make His Church on earth a power of righteousness and truth, the Friends labor for the alleviation of
human suffering; for the intellectual, moral, and spiritual elevation of mankind; and for purified and exalted
citizenship. It is an essential part of the faith that a person should be in truth what he/she professes in word. The
underlying principle of life and action for individuals, and also for society, is transformation through the power of God
and implicit obedience to His revealed will.
For more explicit and extended statements of belief, reference is made to those officially recognized at various
times, especially the "Epistle addressed by George Fox and others to the Governor of Barbadoes in 1671," the
"Declaration of Faith issued by the Richmond Conference in 1887," and "Essential Truths" adopted in 1902 by the
Five Years Meeting, which are printed in Part III of this Faith and Practice.
Ideals of Worship
Meaning of Worship
Friends' concept of worship is based upon the belief that the relationship between the Divine Spirit and the Christian
worshiper is essentially that of Father and child, in which each may fully participate. Such was the experience of
Jesus, for to Him God was always Father and He was Son. Worship is the supreme act of the human spirit. With a
sense of God's worth and supremacy, the worshiper enters into a living and uplifting relationship meeting God in
fellowship and communion. No intermediary, ritual, or ceremony is required. The worshiper, waiting in humility,
prayer, and praise, experiences a renewal of spiritual strength and is the recipient of the divine outpouring of
revealed truth to the extent that he/she is willing to listen and is able to comprehend.
Prayer and Worship
Prayer is listening as well as asking, as persons wait before God in open¬ness and humility. Vocal prayer during
worship should gather up the aspirations and praise as well as the needs of all, and voice the unworded adoration
and longings of worshipers.
Music and Worship
Music, as a part of worship, may give expression to the common aspiration of all, and may well serve to develop a
tenderness of soul in which the divine voice may find sympathetic hearing. To many, music may be a means of
expressing the deepest things in their experience and of bringing them into closer touch with God.
Forms of Worship
Some Friends gather in silence and worship expectant waiting without prear¬ranged singing, Bible reading, prayers,
or message. Their worship proceeds with quiet meditation or prayer, with spoken ministry only as Friends may feel
led to share their insights and messages.
Other Friends follow a programmed form of worship, which was adopted by many Friends meetings as the
nineteenth century revival influenced Quakers. Such meetings for worship may include spoken prayers, respon¬sive
readings, hymn singing, choral-organ music, scripture and message. There may also be a significant open time of
free worship based upon silent waiting, as among other and earlier Friends. Worship is not an end in itself, but
should result in Christian service as a way of life. The object of both forms of worship is mystical communion with
Meditation and Message
If private meditation and commun¬ion with the Source of all truth have preceded the period of worship, any message
rising out of the Meeting will tend to be clearer, stronger, and more helpful. One should never discount the ability of
the Holy Spirit to work through the fellowship of the group and to find willing lips by which God's will may be revealed
to those assembled in worship; but helpful communications of divine truth may generally be expected from those who
not only have recognized a call to vocal ministry, but also have honored this call by cultivating their gifts and
capacities by special training and study. Messages that are fresh, illuminating and uplifting will help satisfy the
hunger of the human spirit, open the gates of life to struggling or discouraged souls and point out the path of
Testimony on Ceremonial Rites
Believing that a direct approach to communion with God, which brings true inward grace and spiritual satisfaction, is
open to them in the experience of worship, Friends do not feel the need of outward symbols in achieving the realities
symbolized. They claim strong scriptural support for the belief that it was Jesus' purpose to introduce an era of
spiritual religion to replace the ritualism of the Old Testament. Therefore, Friends do not feel it necessary to practice
the rites of water baptism or the Lord's Supper. The baptism which they consider essential is that of the Holy Spirit;
the communion which they most earnestly desire is participation in the Spirit of Christ, the bread of life, and the
spiritual comprehension of God as the source of life and power.
Ordinances, Historical Perspective
From the standpoint of historical perspective Friends note the Jewish ceremonial origin of' the ordinances and how
they were carried over into the Christian era along with other Hebrew rites such as those pertaining to the use of
meats, unleavened bread, and foot washing. They note how often the outward forms have been substituted for
inward and personal experience. They have also been impressed by the controversies and divisions over the
observance of the sacraments and by historical variation in practice.
The Real Presence of Christ
“To the soul that feeds upon the bread of life, the outward conventions of religion are no longer need¬ful."
(Christian Faith and Practice #214, by John Wilhelm Rowntree, 1902).
"Our experience leads us to emphasize the fact that entrance into the community of Christ's people requires no
outward rite, but is to be known only through trust, obedience, love, and commitment. As these are brought forth in
us, we find ourselves drawn together into a unity with one another in which the presence of the Spirit of God is
realized. Similarly we believe that our corporate experience at its best justifies us in claiming, in humility, that Christ's
real presence is indeed known by us when even two or three are gathered together, in quiet expectancy, in his
name. And some Friends would even say that they have come to know, in Quaker worship and fellowship, a
communion with Christ and a baptism of the Spirit which go beyond anything they had previously experienced in the
sacramental practice of other Christian groups.
"We desire to bear a corporate testimony to the fact that, while to be made a member of Christ's Body does not
necessarily involve any outward rite, it does inescapably require an inner transformation of the whole self by the
indwelling Spirit of God. And we would bear witness to the certain fact that, in a gathered company of worshipers,
and apart from the use of the outward elements of bread and wine, the real presence of Christ is to be truly and
effectually known, bringing us into unity with one another and with himself." (Christian Faith and Practice #210 -
Maurice A. Creasey, 1956).
Scriptures and Inspiration
"The Canon of Scripture may be closed, but the inspiration of the Holy Spirit has not ceased. We believe that there
is no literature in the world where the revelation of God is given so fully as in our New Testament Scriptures; we go
back to them for light and life and truth. But we feel that the life comes to us, not from the record itself, but from
communion with Him of whom the record tells. ...We feel them to be inspired, because they inspire us; we go to them
for guidance because as we read them we feel our eyes are being opened and our spirits kindled. We search them
because `These are they that testify of me.' It is the living Christ we want to find, the eternal revealer of the will of
God. It is the spirit behind the letter that we need." (London Yearly Meeting, Proceedings, 1919).
Barclay on the Scriptures
Of the Scriptures the Quaker apologist, Robert Barclay, writes: "God hath seen meet that herein we should see as in
a looking-glass the conditions and experiences of the saints of old, that, finding our experiences to answer to theirs,
we might hereby be the more confirmed and comforted, and our hope of obtaining the same end strengthened. This
is the great work of the Scriptures, and their service to us, that we may witness them fulfilled in us, and so discern
the stamp of God's spirit and ways upon them, by the inward acquaintance we have with the same spirit and work in
"Because they are only a declaration of the fountain and not the fountain itself, therefore they are not to be
esteemed the principal ground of all truth and knowledge, nor yet the adequate, primary rule of faith and manners.
Yet, because they give a true and faithful testimony of the first foundation, they are and may be esteemed a
secondary rule, subordinate to the Spirit, from which they have all their excellency and certainty: for, as by the
inward testimony of the Spirit we do alone truly know them, so they testify that the Spirit is that Guide by which the
saints are led into all truth: therefore, according to the Scriptures the Spirit is the first and principal Leader."
(Apology, Prop. III).
Scriptures and Revelation The Holy Scriptures were given by the inspiration of God and are the divinely authorized
record of the moral principles and doctrines of Christianity. In them, as interpreted and unfolded by the Holy Spirit, is
an ever fresh and unfailing source of spiritual truth for the proper guidance of life and practice. Their value lies in
their witness of the nature and purpose of God, their account of the message and mission of Jesus Christ, and their
teachings as to salvation, the way of life, and eternal destiny. In the Scriptures is found the record both of mankind's
search for God and of God's revelation to mankind. Through numerous spiritual pioneers the illumination moves
from the begin¬nings of history to "The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (II Cor.
4:6). The Scriptures are an inheritance of all who through the centuries have found strength and guidance in the
inspired wisdom of this storehouse of spiritual experience. Individual leadings should be tested by the teachings of
the Scriptures and the leadings of the community of faith. We reverently believe that the leadings of the Holy Spirit
will be in harmony with the Scriptures.
Search the Scriptures
The chief objective of the Bible student should be to grasp Scriptur¬al truths and teachings as vital and life-giving
realities rather than to regard them as matters only for intellectual or doctrinal discussion. One should accept with
appreciation all fresh light thrown upon the Biblical records but should re¬main assured that the spiritual strength
received from such study comes from a living communion with Him of whom the records tell. They are an
inexhaustible treasury of spiritual truth, fitted to the needs and problems of each age as it re-interprets and
appropriates the message for its own time. Their words are words of life because they testify of Him who is Life.
Gifts and the Kingdom
In fulfillment of the promise given to Joel, "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh," (Joel 2:28) the Heavenly Father in
His wisdom has bestowed a diversity of gifts upon His children for the building up of His kingdom. "And these were
his gifts: some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip God's people
for work in his service, to the building up of the body of Christ. So shall we all at last attain to the unity inherent in
our faith and our knowledge of the Son of God - to mature manhood, measured by nothing less than the full stature
of Christ." (Ephesians 4:11-13 NEB). Recognizing the inherent spiritual capacity of all persons and the work of grace
that is shared by all believers, Friends cherish these manifold gifts and desire to bring each to full development, that
the whole body may be fitly framed together by that which each member supplies.
Gifts for ¬Service
These spiritual gifts include: sensitiveness to human need and suffering; efficiency in ministering thereto; intuitive
power of religious insight; the personality and language to communi¬cate religious truth and enthusiasm; sympathy,
intelligence, and optimism in personal counsel; comprehension of broad social problems; constructive guidance in
public affairs; powers of dedicated self-expression in writing and teaching; and the skillful exercise of the creative
arts of invention, painting, sculpture, and music. When gifts are used to the glory of God they constitute a vital
exercise of the universal ministry of all Christians.
Gift of Ministry
Friends do not ordain ministers but they recognize that some are es¬pecially called to be prophets, evangelists,
pastors and teachers. The gift, the call, and the careful training and exercise of the gift lead Friends to record some
as ministers of the gospel, to be especially devoted to equipping God's people for the work of his service. However,
no sharp line of distinction can be drawn between different types of ministry or service. All Christians should cultivate
and develop their gifts by prayerful study, close observation of human need, and obedience to the Holy Spirit.
LIFE AND ACTION
Way of Life
Way of Life
The Quaker religious faith leads to a Life way of life. In Friends' thinking, the practice of Christian faith is not
primarily a matter of taking part in rites and ceremonies. What is of primary importance is that we should open
ourselves to the Light of Christ and try to live in obedience to the leading of God's spirit. Friends' missionary
outreach and social service activities alike have grown out of this continuing attempt to translate Christian faith into
life and action. The corporate testimonies and concerns that are set forth in this chapter, and the standards of
conduct that are recommended, have grown out of Friends' experience in trying to be faithful to the teachings of
Jesus and to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in their lives as individuals and as a religious society.
Evangelism and Extension
New Testament Evangelism
The early Christians, in obedience to the divine compulsion to share with others the spiritual riches of Christ,
became zealous apostles of the new message of love, peace, and good will among mankind. This early evangelism
was not a campaign to develop a new religious cult, but was rather the sharing of the joy of a spiritual
transformation. With a zeal and power that stand as a pattern for any age, these first evangelists soon carried the
"good news" to the entire Mediterranean area.
Publishers of Truth
In a similar manner early Friends were irresistibly moved to share their experience of a direct approach to God
without meditating instruments. Their message of free access to divine redemptive grace was preached without
regard to the social rank, race or religion of those who would listen. As a result of their work as earnest "publishers
of truth", Quakerism spread rapidly during the seventeenth century. Those who were convinced sounded forth their
message, first in England and soon in foreign lands, in the faith that a response would be found among many of like
spirit. As early as 1660 they could report "great work and service of the Lord beyond the seas", ranging from
Palestine and Turkey in the East to Newfoundland and Virginia in the West.
Period of Quietism
Early in the eighteenth century the Friends as a group lost interest in active witnessing in and to the outside world.
They became introspective and largely concerned with maintaining a testimony against "creaturely activity". This
period of quietism, which continued through the rest of the eighteenth century, was characterized by extreme
sensitivity to states and conditions, and by a rare union of tenderness and strength as revealed by the journals and
advices of the time. Even. though withdrawn from contact with the outside world, many Friends led surrendered and
During the period of quietism, there were fruitful labors by individuals who responded to deeply-felt calls for
special service at home and abroad. Among these were John Woolman, William Allen, Daniel Wheeler, Elizabeth
Fry, and Stephen Grellet with their concerns for Indians, Negro slaves, Russian serfs, and prisoners in body or spirit
throughout the world. But as one might expect, from the weakening of the evangelistic impulse there resulted not
only a loss of membership but also a decline in spiritual vitality.
Then a new wave of religious revival swept over America, bringing with it a new spirit of evangelism. Among Friends,
the early nineteenth century was marked by a renewed interest in proclaiming the gospel of Christ to the world as
the seventeenth century founders had done. Unfortunately, this period of the new awakening was marked also by
controversies in the Society of Friends over matters of doctrine and practice, leading to the "Orthodox" - "Hicksite"
separation of 1827-28 and to the "Wilburite"-"Gurneyite" separation of 1845-54.
While retaining the distinctive Quaker emphasis on the indwelling Christ, "Orthodox" or "Gurneyite" Friends
wanted to give more attention to some doctrines of historic Christianity which they felt had been neglected. They
wanted to promote systematic Bible study and introduce active evangelistic methods which would alter the form of
Quaker worship as then practiced. The "Hicksite" and "Wilburite" Friends, while differing from each other in doctrinal
outlook, both kept the traditional form of Quaker worship, resisting such innovations as hymn singing and pastoral
As westward migration continued on across the continent, the greatest expansion and numerical growth occurred
among Friends who followed the "Orthodox" or "Gurneyite" path, using active evangelistic methods and gradually
developing a "programmed" style of worship with pastoral leadership. Wilmington Yearly Meeting and the Friends
United Meeting to which it belongs are of "Orthodox" or "Gurneyite" origin.
We recognize the ministries of witnessing, preaching, teaching, Christian service, and fellowship groups as divinely
approved methods for carrying the Christian message wherever the way opens. Evangelistic efforts of various kinds
are acceptable and may be found helpful if adapted to the needs of the Meetings which use them.
Friends have no ordained clergy. There are no ceremonial rites or sacraments to be administered by a special
priesthood. Even in the "programmed" meeting for worship, vocal ministry is considered to be a shared responsibility.
Early Friends, reacting to their perceptions of the clergy in seventeenth century England, proclaimed a
testimony against the training of "hireling ministers". Though the custom of "recording" persons who displayed a gift
for vocal ministry began early in Quaker history, it was not until late in the nineteenth century that some Friends
Meetings began to provide means to free persons for pastoral service. As more meetings felt a need for trained and
steady leadership, the practice spread. The feeling against "hireling ministry" gradually diminished, and meetings
with paid pastoral leadership came to be the prevailing pattern in many Yearly Meetings of Friends.
"The equipping ministry" (see Ephesians 4:11-12) is an expression often used to describe the role of the
Friends pastor, who must exercise his leadership in harmony with the conviction that ministry is a function to be
shared by all the members. The founding of the Earlham School of Religion in 1960 gave to Friends for the first time
in their history a graduate school of their own where men and women could prepare themselves for this kind of
Need of Steady Building
Though periods of intensive evangelistic effort may be spiritually beneficial, the work of deepening and enriching the
religious life of the Meeting should be carried on continually. The most stable and healthful conditions usually result
from constant and steady building. Regular attendance at worship and the fullest possible participation in the work of
the Meeting should be encouraged, not only for the growth of each individual member but for the health of the
Meeting. The relationship of children with the Meeting through junior membership provides a great opportunity for
special work in preparing them for adult membership. Friends should remember the importance of reaching out to
people outside the Meeting sharing their message and concerns, and whenever appropriate, inviting others to join
The earliest activities of the Society of Friends were essentially mission¬ary in character. These activities had
important and far-reaching results, but gradually the conviction grew that such brief and transient visits were not
enough. Needs were recognized which required services continuing for many years, or even for the lifetime of the
workers. This made necessary a greater financial outlay and more systematic methods of securing support.
Beginning in 1866 with the establishment of a station in central India by English Friends and in 1869 with the
work of American Friends in Ramallah, near Jerusalem, mission work under the care of English and American
Friends has extended around the world. At first such work was carried on by committees of concerned Friends, but
later it generally became part of the organized activities of the various Yearly Meetings. Many of the missionary
efforts both at home and abroad are now administered as a united effort by the Wider Ministries Commission of the
Friends United Meeting.
Discerning leaders in the mission field have become convinced that the desired spiritual objectives cannot be
achieved by a reproduction in other lands of the American culture and form of church life. Friends, therefore, should
not insist upon a particular form of worship but should encourage forms of expression and organization that are in
accordance with the aptitudes and experiences of the people among whom they are working. To implant Christ's
principles of living should be always the primary aim.
A Universal Mission
The love of Christ constrains His followers to "go into all the world". As one acts in accordance with this motive, the
spirit of obedience grows and ripens into a fruitage of outgoing love and compassion for those who are in need of
the gospel. Fresh revelations of truth will come and new opportunities for service will open as each new generation
seeks to understand and respond to the will of God in its own day. Twentieth century Friends are challenged by
these words of George Fox, as were those to whom he addressed them in 1656:
"Let all nations hear the word by sound or writing. Spare no place, spare not tongue or pen, but be obedient to the
Lord God and go through the world and be valiant for the Truth upon earth.... Be patterns, be examples in all
countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come, that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of
people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one."
Friends and Education
The Christian nurture of children and young people is an essential goal for Friends. A plan for religious education
should be part of every Meeting's program. Though the focus may be on children, adult members too should have
opportunities to grow in knowledge as well as in grace.
Friends' First-Day Schools
American Friends became interested in Bible Schools soon after their origin in England in 1780. A "Society for the
Institution and Support of the First-Day or Sunday Schools" was organized in Philadelphia in 1791, with Friends
among its members. Some Friends opposed these schools on the ground that such organized study of the Bible was
a departure from the Friends' position of dependence on spiritual guidance. Nevertheless, Bible Schools were
carried on in scattered areas in the early part of the nineteenth century, and multiplied rapidly after 1830. Held first
in homes, then in Friends' schoolhouses, they later became an integral part of most Meetings.
In contrast to earlier days when most Friends' children had their week-day education in Friends' schools, the great
majority now attend public schools. The unity of the family life that formerly prevailed is often broken up by the
diversified interests and responsibilities of members of the household, thus rendering family worship more difficult.
Many parents feel poorly equipped for guiding the spiritual growth of their children. These changes in the
atmosphere in which Friends' children are reared make it especially urgent that the Meeting should have a good
plan for religious education for both children and adults.
Objectives and Content
Acquaintance with the history and principles of Friends, with the Bible, and with the history and teachings of
Christianity are among the objectives of such a plan. A growing understanding and appreciation of Jesus and
commitment to follow him, an increasing sense of the reality of God in human experience, and a deepening respect
for the personality of others should be among the developmental goals. Preparation for worship and an introduction
to the Quaker method of arriving at group decisions should also be included. Those who will serve as teachers and
leaders in this work should earnestly prepare themselves.
Quakers and General Education
Although certain that education alone "was not sufficient to fit a man to be a minister of Christ", early Friends were
none the less determined that the young people under their care should not be hindered in their development by
lack of education. Far in advance of his time, George Fox advised that schools be provided for "girls and young
maidens" as well as for boys, for instruction "in whatever things were civil and useful in the creation". William Penn
also held advanced views on the importance of right methods and aims in the education of children. Schools were
opened in Pennsylvania in 1683, only two years after Penn's grant, and a Friends' public school was set up in
Philadelphia in 1689.
School and Meeting
The democratic structure of the Society of Friends has given empha¬sis to the usefulness of intellectual training as
an aid to spiritual development and effective Christian service. Monthly Meeting minutes and other records from the
very beginning contain many expressions of concern that the education of the young should be promoted and
safeguarded. School and Meeting have constantly gone hand in hand as expressions of Quakerism throughout the
Institutions of Learning
With their many elementary and secondary schools, Friends pioneer¬ed in the development of educational
opportunities and standards in this country. Though not so numerous as they once were, Friends' elementary and
secondary schools, along with a number of Friends' colleges and the Earlham School of Religion, play an important
part in carrying out Friends' objectives and developing leadership for the Society of Friends. Wilmington College
offers persons in the Yearly Meeting opportunities for a Quaker education. To maintain its Quaker identity,
Wilmington College turns to Wilming¬ton Yearly Meeting and other Yearly Meetings for personnel, students and
Aims of General Education
"The aim of education is the full and harmonious development of the resources of the human spirit. Human nature
has within it the promise of a divine growth; upon this we base our faith as a religious community. There can,
therefore, be no task nearer our hearts than to help all our members towards the fulfillment of this promise. Such
fulfillment means that body and mind alike bring all their gifts to fruition in the unity of the Spirit. Here is a clear call to
educative effort as a part of the very purpose of the Christian religion. We desire to testify in word and deed to the
truth that religion gathers the whole of life into its domain. We believe that there are godlike possibilities in every
man. We must proclaim a Christian gospel of education which in breadth and depth shall be worthy of this faith. . .
The intellect is an integral part of man's spiritual equipment; and its development brings with it a growth in
personality and an increased power of facing difficult moral issues. The man whose mind is many-sided has a
special contribution to make to the solution of the complex personal and social problems of modern life." (London
Yearly Meeting, 1925, p. 93, par. 10).
The Social Order
The abolition of slavery, prison reform, the humane treatment of the mentally ill and retarded, systematic relief for
the poor, provisions for their employment and self-help, the education of poor children, the prevention of injurious
employment of children in industry, and the use of fair and fixed prices for goods and services are some of the
activities in which Friends pioneered in times of much indifference and even vigorous opposition. They established
for themselves new ethical standards and sought earnestly that these be applied to every victim of oppression or
Concern for Justice
George Fox felt a deep concern for justice in social and economic rela¬tionships. According to his conception the
practical workings of Christianity reached into every phase of human relations, so that whenever inequity or injustice
was discovered, there was a matter for spiritual concern and remedial action. His intense and constructive
evangelism in the social and economic fields gave a quality to early Quakerism that has survived changing
conditions from the simple, localized industrial and economic systems of his day to the world-wide complexities of
modern times. The Quaker concern for justice was manifest in such well known Friends as Elizabeth Fry in prison
reform, John Woolman, Anthony Benezet, Joseph Sturge, and John Greenleaf Whittier in the abolition of slavery;
and John Bellers and William Allen in the relief of the poor and unemployed and in promotion of popular education.
Change Without Violence
The profound changes wrought by the industrial revolution and the effects of modern invention challenge Quakerism
to adapt its philosophy to the new conditions and prove its applicability to present day problems. The theory of
violent coercion relies on the ability of one group to impose its will upon another by mere preponderance of physical
strength. The yielding of the weak to the strong does not prove that the right has been vindicated nor that opinions
The slower but more effective process of education is a field in which Friends are called to use the weight of
enlightened influence. The mere enactment of good laws does not in itself constitute reform; just and fair
administration is also necessary. Friends, among others, are called to demonstrate that economic wrongs can be
righted and that justice for oppressed minorities or for any underprivileged group can be secured without the use of
The development of a sensitive con¬ science concerning the existing mal¬adjustments, unfair practices, and positive
evils of our economic system should be a vital concern to all Friends. As consumers all should endeavor to control
their purchases so as to encourage healthful living conditions and adequate wages. The producer is under an
ethical obligation to produce goods under sanitary conditions and without deception as to quality. Upon employers
rests the responsibility to see that their employees receive adequate wages and general treatment that will not dwarf
but rather develop their personalities. Employees should feel obligated to render loyal and efficient service to their
employer and to exercise proper care in the use of tools and machinery and in the handling of materials used or
produced in their work. As an investor the individual should strive to avoid support of enterprises which promote
social or economic injustice. The problem of distribution in the world's economic order should be a matter for
profound Christian concern. The availability of the necessities of life to all people is highly important in the promotion
of the political and economic stability of the world.
In every social or business relation ship Friends should seek diligently and experiment actively to find ways of
bringing a social order based on the Christian principles of justice, love, and good will. So keenly did early Friends
feel their responsibility as individual members of society that, when they observed the violation of moral and religious
principles, they assumed an attitude of penitence for society's sins. A greater measure of such responsibility must
be felt by Chris¬tians of the present day if they are to be effective agents in carrying on the work of social
Friends and the State
The first authentic pronouncement of early Friends on their relation to the state was made in the days of Oliver
Cromwell in the form of an advice from a meeting of ministers and elders. It urged fellow members to accept public
office, if they could rightly do so, as a means of serving their community. George Fox professed his loyalty to
Protector and King in turn, declaring, "Our prayers are for them that are in authority, that under them we may live a
godly life in peace". In those days of unsettlement and strife, Friends utterly disowned all plottings and armed
resistance against the government.
Limitations of Authority
Friends do not see their govern¬mental rulers as having unlimited authority, but give their ultimate allegiance to
God. If occasion arises when it is necessary to refuse obedience to unjust laws, such conscientious objection should
not be entered into lightly or hastily, and should be made with love and forbearance toward those who disagree, and
willingness to suffer the consequences. The conquest of evil is to be effected only by the overpowering force of truth
and righteousness. Friends' testimonies in support of these principles in the days of their persecution and their
steadfast insistence on the right of the freedom of conscience, peaceable assembly, and worship did much to gain
religious liberty for citizens of both England and America.
Crime and Punishment
Friends' influence has been felt in the abrogation or modification of harmful laws and customs in many fields.
Government by spiritual forces rather than by arbitrary compulsion and the prevention of criminal acts rather than
their punishment are the primary objectives of Friends. Our testimony against capital punishment is based on the
belief that it is a violation of the sacredness of human life, that it disregards the fundamental capacity of all persons
to respond to right influences, and that it gives no opportunity to reform the offender.
Ever since the days of Elizabeth Fry, Friends have been active in prison reform. Today many Friends are
involved in the ministry of prisoner visitation, education, and the overall improvement of prison life. By acting on this
concern, Friends feel that they can offer the prisoner hope for a changed life, and reduce the likelihood of repeat
Friends regard the state as a social instrument to be used for the cooperative promotion of the common welfare.
The source of its authority and the most reliable guide in its administration should be the inward convictions of right
possessed by its citizens. "Our highest allegiance as Christians is not to the state but to the kingdom of God. But this
does not mean that we have not duties, as Christians, toward the state and the nation to which we belong, or that
our attitude toward the state should be a negative one, or one of indifference." (London Yearly Meeting, 1925).
Good government depends on observance of the laws of God by those in authority. It behooves all Friends to fit
themselves for efficient public service and to be faithful to their performance of duty as they are gifted and guided by
the inspiration of God.
Justice in Interracial Relations
The views of Friends on justice in interracial relations are based upon their conception of the light within as an
endowment of all mankind. This belief makes it impossible for Friends to draw lines of distinction in capacity or
privilege between races or nations. George Fox, in an epistle to Friends in America wrote, "Let your light shine
among the Indians, the blacks and the white, that ye may answer the truth in them, and bring them to the standard
and ensign that God hath set up, Christ Jesus." When Fox visited Barbadoes he was deeply moved by the
sinfulness and cruelty of slavery.
Woolman And Slavery
In 1688, Germantown Monthly and Meeting in Pennsylvania made what slavery is believed to be the first official
protest of any religious body against slavery. Although Philadelphia Yearly Meeting acknowledged the protest by a
minute that a paper had been "presented by some German Friends, Concerning the Lawfulness and Unlawfulness
of Buying and Keeping of Negroes", their position on the question was far from clear and it was not until 1758 that
the Yearly Meeting was ready to call on Friends everywhere to free their slaves. There had always been those who
had testified against the practice, and much effective work had been done in the preceding decades, notably by
John Woolman. His faithfully-borne testimony to the necessity of making conduct conform to profession was so
fruitful a message that Friends were generally free of slaveholding by 1780. Their efforts were then devoted to the
convincing of society in general of the iniquity of slavery.
The Black Race
Preceding the Civil War the homes of many Quakers became stations for the "Underground Railroad" by which
thousands of slaves gained their freedom. After the Emancipation Proclamation, Friends became very active in
aiding Blacks to establish themselves as free citizens in the full enjoyment of their rights. Since the Civil War, various
Yearly Meetings have founded schools and orphans' homes for Black children, and many individual Friends, in the
belief that there should no distinction of privilege on the basis of color, have cooperated with numerous movements
for the promotion of the social and economic welfare of Blacks.
The American Indian
The Indians have at times been treated most unjustly and cruelly, both officially and unofficially. The record of
Friends' relations with the Indians has been one of continuing good will from the time of William Penn. During the
later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries a number of missions and schools were maintained among the
Indian tribes, notably by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting among the Shawnees first in western Ohio and later in Indian
Territory when they were moved by the Government.
In 1869 missionary work among the Indians was placed under the care of the Associated Executive Committee
of Friends on Indian Affairs, and has been carried on principally among the tribes of Oklahoma. In recent years the
American Friends Service Committee has monitored Indian trials and worked with Indians in large urban areas as
well as on reservations. The Friends Committee on National Legislation has taken an active interest in legislation
Of One Blood
The methods by which justice for all for all races can be secured are primarily spiritual. Their success will be
measured by the depth of the divine concern that is the spring of all effective effort. Race prejudice or a feeling of
racial superiority tends to invalidate all attempts to secure justice in interracial relations. It is the concern of Friends
that Indians, Spanish speaking, Blacks, Orientals, and every victim of prejudice or oppression may share with the
most favored the heritage of justice, freedom, and brotherly love which is their equal right. For God "hath made of
one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth." (Acts 17:26). Friends believe that any racial
discrimination is essentially a violation of God's law of love, whether by legal enactment or by inequitable practices
which interfere with democratic liberties or cultural or economic development. To dwell together in friendly relations
on a basis of mutual respect, courtesy, and understanding works toward the fulfillment of this law of love.
Justice in International Relations
Penn and Conciliation
Throughout their history Friends have cherished the testimony that justice in international affairs, as in every other
sphere of human life, can be achieved only by peaceful methods. The use of military force leaves the causes of
disputes unsettled and often aggravated; the participants themselves become embittered and assume an attitude of
hatred that is likely to precipitate another war. William Penn in 1693 drew up a plan for the peace of Europe, in which
he provided for a permanent tribunal for the settlement of international differences. From that time the testimony of
Friends has been in favor of mediation, conciliation, and arbitration instead of war which has been condemned by
them as one of the greatest violations of the sacredness of human personality and as an absolute contradiction of
the message and spirit of Christ.
Statements against war have been issued by Friends during practically every military crisis since the earliest days of
history. In 1660 the following declaration was made to Charles II by George Fox and others: "We utterly deny all
outward wars and strife, and fighting with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretense whatever. . .And we
certainly know and testify to the whole world that the Spirit of Christ, which leads us unto all truth, will never move us
to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ nor for the kingdoms of
this world." In 1805, London Yearly Meeting thus advised in an epistle: "Guard against placing your dependence on
fleets and armies; be peaceful yourselves in words and actions, and pray to the Father of the universe that He would
breathe the spirit of reconciliation into the hearts of His erring and contending creatures." The spirit of this testimony
has been maintained through the years, and Friends groups such as the Friends United Meeting have approved
minutes denouncing war, and sent their appeals for peace to world leaders.
Conscience and Responsibility
Friends hold that it is inconsistent with the teachings and example of Jesus to participate in war or preparation for
war. They have sought, and in recent years have generally been granted exemption on grounds of conscience and
religious conviction. They recognize, however, that a consistent policy of non-violence must include a willingness to
face personal risk in administering relief to all victims of the tragedy of war and in performing other non-military
service. Although Friends teach compliance with the law, there have been and continue to be some members of
their Society that cannot conscientiously register with the draft. These Friends feel that they must make a witness
against the total war system, and therefore choose prison or exile instead of alternative service. Still other Friends
choose to join the armed forces, feeling that they cannot conscientiously refuse military service or choose
alternative service. The Society of Friends holds all of its members in prayerful concern, feeling that this decision is
up to the individual conscience. Although they urge and teach the position of conscientious objection, they hold in
their loving concern those who cannot comply with this teaching. Friends who are not subject to military service must
also search their lives for the seeds of war and seek to avoid practices that contribute, however subtly, to the war
Foundations for Peace
Friends emphasize the fact that the most effective way to end war is to remove its causes, such as
misunderstanding, the desire for revenge, the spirit of aggression, and economic, racial, and territorial rivalries. This
calls for the utmost endeavor to demonstrate the working power of fair dealing, universal equity, friendliness, and
sympathy. The intricate network of modern life demands that Friends use every legitimate means to influence the
attitudes of their government towards other nations, that all may conform to the highest standards of justice and
good will as taught by Jesus. They should equip themselves with a knowledge of the needs and opportunities of
whatever ministries of Christian friendship exist in the world-family of nations. They should cultivate the personal
skills and abilities that will enable them to be¬come interpreters of the Christian way of life which is a sure foundation
for enduring peace.
The work in Europe of the Friends Service Council (London) and the American Friends Service Committee during
and after the World War of 1914-18 may be cited as one example of the practical application of Friends' philosophy
to international affairs. This work included the reconstruction of devastated areas and the feeding of children and
other victims in Germany, Russia and elsewhere. During the Vietnam war for another example, in an effort to bind
the wounds of those directly affected, the American Friends Service Committee set up a hospital in South Vietnam
assisting mostly in the production of artificial limbs. In keeping with the Friends' tradition of helping all victims of war,
some members sailed to North Vietnam with medical supplies for the civilian population injured as a result of
American aerial bombard¬ment. In an effort to promote friendly understanding and good will around the world,
American Friends, through the American Friends Service Committee, in cooperation with Friends of London and
Dublin Yearly Meetings, have established centers of religious fellowship, international comity, and reconciliation in
important cities of Europe and Asia.
Testimonies on Family and Personal Life
Sanctity of the Home
Marriage, if rightly conceived and faithfully maintained, is regarded by Friends as the most sacred of all social
arrangements. The family was Jesus' favorite illustration of the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven. He honored and
blessed marriage as the truest example of divine-human cooperation in perfecting a social structure "for the help
and continuance of the human family" and "for the mutual assistance and comfort of both sexes that they may be
help-mates to each other in things temporal and spiritual." Marriage, therefore, "should be entered upon discreetly,
soberly, and in the fear of the Lord." It can never be truly accomplished by prescribed forms of the church, legal
sanctions, or ministerial pronouncements, but should be consummated as an inward, voluntary, spiritual union of
hearts, in the free initiative of mutual choice and outwardly expressed by the contracting parties. Sanctions of church
and state are the social acknowledgments of the true marriage into which those enter "whom God has joined
together," and are, therefore, to be held in high regard and to be observed with fidelity.
The faithful fulfillment of the marriage covenant is essential to the welfare of the family, the proper nurture of
children, and the strength of the social structure. Every effort should be made in the spirit of mutual forbearance and
forgiveness to reconcile all differences in family life. Failure to practice mutual consideration and to search for divine
guidance in all of the interests and problems of family life often destroys the cohesive power of love, causes the
disruption of the home, and, in many cases leads to divorce. Friends recognize that in some situations of troubled
marriage, divorce is chosen as the least destructive alternative. Friends who have been involved in divorce should
make serious efforts to solve the problems that contributed to the break up of the marriage. Meetings should provide
ministry to persons involved in divorce to help minimize the destructive force of the fierce emotions which are
Homes should be testimonials to the grace of God in human relationships and, if established under the care of
the Meeting and continued in warm Christian fellowship, have great assurance of permanence and success.
Recreation and Amusements
Health and Recreation
Recreation and well chosen physical activities are important in the main¬tenance of physical and spiritual health, but
the question of the type of activity to be pursued must be answered by each individual in line with accepted Christian
principles and standards. The problem of proper recreation and amuse¬ments resolves itself into the question:
Does this or that activity tend to promote the abundant life of which Jesus spoke? Some classes of amusement are
unquestionably unwholesome and degrading; self-respect, as well as high spiritual motives, should rule them out.
Border line forms may raise doubts, and if such doubts cannot be intelligently and conscientiously resolved, these
amusements should also be avoided.
The Meeting and community should cooperate in furnishing wholesome and constructive recreation which
would provide for social and mental as well as physical needs. Friends should be active among those who insist
upon high standards of quality and moral influence in all forms of entertainment. The natural desires of youth for
beauty, activity; social fellowship, and romance must be recognized with wisdom and understanding, and
sympathetically guided into wholesome Christian living.
Alcohol and Drugs
The testimony of Friends regarding the use of alcohol is based on the belief that the human body is the temple of
the Lord and that to mar it is to dishonor Him. Any pleasurable or exhilarating effects produced by alcohol or drugs
are but temporary and tend to react injuriously on both mind and body. Scientific research and experimentation
show that alcoholic beverages tend to dull the ethical sense, impair the judgment, effect the eyesight, and slow up
muscular control and coordination. On the highways, drivers in this condition, often cause accidents and/or loss of
life. Therefore, each has need to be aware of one's social responsibility and that by example one influences others.
Friends recognize that social drinking is not a sound basis for friend¬ship. Friends recommend total abstinence from
alcoholic beverages and from misuse of drugs.
Friends have consistently borne testimony against the use of tobacco as a wasteful and harmful self-indulgence
which tends generally to make the constant user indifferent to the discomfort thrust upon others. Discoveries of the
probable contribution to cancer from the use of cigarettes increase our concern. Our testimony appropriately applies
to the cultivation, manufacture, and sale of tobacco.
The belief that the human body is the temple of the Lord further leads to the belief that all poor health practices
should be deplored. Friends encourage all to practice good nutrition and to follow the best practices known to them
to preserve their health be it through preventative medicine or curative medicine prescribed by the individual's
Gambling and Lotteries
Something for Nothing
Friends are strongly urged to abstain completely from seeking mone¬tary gain or personal pleasure or
entertainment through any form of gambling methods or devices. To receive value when no value is given, results in
wrong attitudes towards property and is destructive of character. The precarious gains of winner are at the cost of
many losers. The current practice of states to legalize lotteries for the purpose of financing government should be
deplored and protested.
Swear Not At All
The word of Jesus, "Swear not at all," emphasizes the importance of honesty in speech. Friends' position in regard
to the taking of the judicial oath is not merely a negation of a procedure which they believe to be wrong, but it is
positive evidence of an ideal by which they endeavor to regulate their lives. They base their attitude upon the
principle that the truth is to be spoken at all times. When oath is to be taken before a judge or in court, instead of
taking the legal oath, Friends simply affirm that they will speak the truth. Most states now have provision by law
whereby persons are permitted to make the affirmation rather than take the oath.
Secret and/or Discriminatory Organizations
Freedom of Action
The rights of individuals to freedom of action, within proper bounds, must be maintained, but it is the duty of the
Meetings to warn its members against whatever may interfere with the development of Christian character. Although
such organi¬zations may have benevolent and useful provisions for their members, Friends are cautioned against
membership in any organization which will directly or indirectly diminish sympathy with any portion of mankind or tend
to take the place of the Church of Jesus Christ as the center of their interest or activity.
The purpose of the Queries is to direct attention to the true source of spiritual strength, to promote individual
faithful¬ness to Christ, and to keep the society in a healthy condition. They are of value in appraising the state of
society and for self-evaluation of the consistency of one's Christian life. The Queries should be read frequently in
private devotions and at specified intervals both in Monthly and in Quarterly Meetings.
1. Do you strive for the constant realization of God's presence in your life? Are you sensitive and obedient to the
leading of the Holy Spirit? Do you attempt to follow the teachings and example of Jesus? Do you engage in prayerful
study of the Bible and other devotional literature?
Meetings for Worship and Business
2. Are all meetings for worship and for business duly held and are you regular and punctual in attending them?
Do you come with heart and mind prepared for communion with God and fellowship with one another? Do you
individually assume your rightful share in the responsibility of the work and worship of the Meeting? Are your
meetings for business times of spiritual concern and prayerful search for the way of truth?
3. Do you love one another as becomes the followers of Christ? Are you careful of the reputation of others?
When differences arise, do you make earnest effort to end them speedily?
Home and Family
4. Do you practice the daily reading of the Scriptures in your families, giving time for reverent meditation? Do
you make your home a place of hospitality, friendliness, peace, and Christian fellowship? Do you promote the moral
and spiritual life of your children through careful supervision of their education, recreation, and friendships?
Youth and the Meeting
5. Do you seek the spiritual develop¬ment and Christian commitment of young people? Do you endeavor to
instruct them in the principles and practices of Friends? Do you strive to create a community life that will promote
their mental and physical well-being?
Standards of Life
6. Believing your body to be a temple of God, are you concerned to attain a high level of physical and mental
health? To this end, is your life an example of temperance in all things? Do you avoid and discourage the use and
handling of tobacco, intoxicants such as alcoholic beverages, and the misuse of drugs?
Do you observe simplicity and moderation in your manner of living, and in your consumption of world
resources? Do you choose such recreations as are wholesome and consistent with Christian character? Are you
careful in your choice of ways to use your money, time and energy?
7. Do you avoid such undue expansion of your business responsibilities as to endanger your personal
integrity? Are you truthful and honest in your business transactions, punctual in fulfilling your promises, and prompt
in the payment of your debts?
8. Do you make diligent effort to ac¬ quaint yourself and those under your care with the spiritual needs of the
world? Do you support by prayer and systematic giving those who are laboring to extend Christ's kingdom? Do you
use your spiritual gifts in serving humanity as God grants you light to see such service?
9. Do you consistently practice the Christian principles of love and good will toward all men? Do you work
actively for peace and for the removal of the causes of war? Do you observe the testimony of Friends against
military training and service? Do you endeavor to make clear to all whom you can influence, that war is inconsistent
with the spirit and teachings of Jesus?
10. Does your attitude and behavior toward people of other races indicate your belief in their right to equal
opportunity? Do you believe in the spiritual capacity of all persons and do you recognize their equality in the sight of
God? Are you aware of your responsibility as a Christian to help eliminate prejudice and inequality of treatment?
11. Are you concerned that our economic system shall so function as to sustain and enrich the life of all? Are
you giving positive service to society in the promotion of peaceful methods of adjustment in all cases of social and
industrial conflict? Do you as workers, employers, producers, consumers, and investors endeavor to cultivate good
will and mutual understanding in your economic relationships? Do you intelligently exercise all of your constitutional
privileges and thus seek to promote Christian influence locally, nationally, and internationally?
Queries for Meetings on Ministry and Counsel
Responsibilities of Membership
1. Do you as Ministry and Counsel recognize your responsibility in set¬ting an example of faithfulness and
loyalty to the meetings for worship and business? Do you accept appointment to this group as a definite response to
the "high calling of God in Christ Jesus?" (Philippians 3:14). Are you concerned that the needs of all are ministered
to in your Meetings, whether by silent worship, inspirational speaking, or reverent music?
Relations with Other Members
2. Are you aware of the necessity of harmonious relations with your fellow members as a basis for the most
effective service to the Meeting? Do you as leaders in the Meeting strive to relate persons to Christ and to
strengthen the faith and loyalty of fellow Christians?
3. Do you endeavor to recognize and develop your special talents and abilities for service in the meeting and
do you pray for divine guidance in their use? Do you stimulate the discovery and cultivation of the spiritual gifts of
members of your Meeting? Are you sufficiently thoughtful for the spiritual awakening of youth? Do you concern
yourself in helping them develop, consecrate and exercise their various talents in the Meeting and the Community?
Are you always ready to encourage and advise those who engage in the vocal ministry or in other Christian work?
Personal Life and Conduct
4. Do you provide in your schedule of activities an opportunity for daily devotions? Do you prayerfully seek the
leading of the Holy Spirit in the interpretation of scriptural truth? Does your personal conduct reflect the true dignity
of Christian character as set forth in the Scriptures? Do you always strive so to live that you will have a "conscience
void of offense toward God and man?" (Acts 24:161.
ORGANIZATION AND BUSINESS PROCEDURE
FORM OF GOVERNMENT
Ideals in Organization
The Church as a Society.
The Christian group whose faith and activities have been described in Part I is known historically as the
Society of Friends and more commonly as Quakers. The name, Friends Church, has been used by many local
Meetings and by certain Yearly Meetings. The choice by early Friends of the term Society, as a name for the group
gives a clear indication of their attitude toward organization. The word meant to them a fellowship, a vitally spiritual
body held together by spiritual forces freshly operating through each individual, without creed, ritual, or any
sacramental administration. The Society of Friends was to be a democratic brotherhood in which there would be but
one Master and no intermediary affecting any individual's relationship to God.
Friends recognize the fact that God has endowed each person with gifts or capacities which he/she is to develop
and exercise to the extent of their ability. Each member has duties and responsibilities varying in character
according to his/her talents and the faithfulness with which each has cultivated them. All have equal rights and
privileges in the consideration of the affairs of the body and in reaching conclusions as to courses of action. No
appointments made for a particular service confer upon the appointed person or group any degree of arbitrary or
final authority. Friends recognize no distinction in the rights, privileges or responsibilities of members because of sex.
Waiting for Guidance
The practice of holding meetings for business following a period of wor¬ship opens the way for a continuance of the
state of religious fellowship experienced during such a period. The right conduct of these meetings, even in matters
of routine, is important to the spiritual life of all; they are a part of the organized undertaking to promote the Kingdom
of God, and service in them may be rightfully regarded as service for God. The same reverent waiting that operates
in the meetings for worship is also helpful in seeking divine guidance and unity of action in the transaction of
It is the practice of Friends to give unhurried and sympathetic consider¬ation to all proposals and expressions
of opinion. They endeavor to respect an earnest and sincere minority and, if it seems necessary, may postpone
action until they have secured more light on the question at issue and have attained a greater degree of unanimity.
After due consideration has been given to all points of view, it is the duty of the clerk of the Meeting to weigh
carefully the various expressions and to state what he/she believes to be the will of the Meeting.
Tenure of Office
In keeping with the Quaker ideals of service and the distribution of responsibility, the Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly
Meetings should not unduly prolong the services of officers and committee members nor give to one person many
appointments. In following this policy of rotation in office, Friends can develop the talents of a wider range of
members. Where numbers permit, appointment and reappointment for one, two, and three-year cycles should not
extend the tenure of office beyond a maximum of six consecutive years. A member may quite properly be
reappointed to a given service after a term out of office.
The Meeting is composed of resident and nonresident members and consists of the meeting for worship and the
meeting for business, including all of the activities and organizations connected therewith. The meeting for worship is
a fellowship of all those who find it spiritually helpful to be associated in worship and service and is a united
expression of the human longing for vital religious experience.
The development of these processes of spiritual enrichment involves certain organizational factors such as the
activities of officers and committees, matters of finance, group concerns, and the determination of attitudes and
policies on subjects of common or public interest. For the care of such matters a meeting for business consisting of
the whole membership, known as the Monthly Meeting, convenes each month. If two or more congregations are
associated in one Monthly Meeting, each congregation may have a local or preparative business meeting,
subordinate to the Monthly Meeting and limited in its authority to purely local matters. For the care of spiritual
interests and the promotion of consistent conduct among the members each Monthly Meeting selects elders who,
together with the ministers, are specifically charged with these responsibilities in the Meeting on Ministry and
The Meeting shall have concern for the Christian nurture of its members and attenders and shall provide the
means of study necessary in every area of concern.
Basis of Membership
Friends receive into membership those whose faith in Christ as a personal Savior is manifest in their lives and who
are in unity with the teachings of Christian truth as held by Friends.
The children of parents who are both Member members are customarily enrolled at birth as Junior Members;
other children may be enrolled under special provisions.
Rules of Membership
Reception by Application
Application for membership should be made in writing to the Monthly Meeting through the Meeting on Ministry
and Counsel. Special application forms may be provided by the Monthly Meeting, if desired.
It shall be the duty of the Meeting on Ministry and Counsel to instruct and guide applicants for membership in their
search for truth, to ascertain whether they make a sincere profession of faith in Christ and accept the principles of
Christianity as held by Friends, and whether they will share in the financial obligations of the Meeting. It shall advise
the applicant that regularity in attendance and faithfulness in service are also obligations of membership. After
hearing the report of the judgment of the Meeting on Ministry and Counsel, the Monthly Meeting shall act upon the
application for membership.
The clerk shall then inform the applicant of the action of the Monthly Meeting. If it has been favorable, a committee
may be appointed to welcome him/her into membership. Announcement of his/her reception may be made at a
regular meeting for worship that all members may have an opportunity to extend a welcome.
Parents and guardians when applying for membership, or when transferring from other denominations, may make
application for the enrollment of minor children as Junior Members. Where but one parent is a member, the children
may be enrolled as Junior Members upon the request of that parent and the consent of the other. Such requests
shall be made to the Meeting on Ministry and Counsel. Other children may be received into Junior Membership upon
the recommendation of that body.
Junior Members to Member
Children enrolled as Junior Member to shall be transferred to membership when they shall have given satisfactory
evidence of faith in Jesus Christ, have accepted the principles of Christian truth as held by Friends, and have
requested transfer to membership. The enrollment of children as Junior Members is an expression of the conviction
that children in this fellowship rightfully possess a precious heritage. As the children mature, the Meeting has the
important responsibility of encouraging their spiritual growth and preparing them for full membership.
Friends should note that transfer from the status of Junior Member to Member is not an automatic one, but is made
by the action of the Monthly Meeting upon the conditions listed above. The continuance of mature men and women
as Junior Members is an indication of the failure or neglect of the Meeting in one of its most important functions.
Resident members are those members of a Meeting whose residence is of geographical nearness to the
Meetinghouse to allow them to be present regularly for participation in the worship, business, work and fellowship of
Non-resident members are those members of a Meeting whose residence is beyond the Meeting's geographical
limits or vicinity, such that the distance from the Meetinghouse makes impossible their regular participation in the
worship, business, work and fellowship of the Meeting.
Monthly Meetings may, at their discretion, accept as Affiliates, students and other persons residing temporarily within
their limits. Such affiliation constitutes a sojourning fellowship, and is not to be included in statistical reports. While
such persons may be granted the standing of Affiliates during their sojourning relationship within a Meeting, they are
not in the same status as members. They are not considered members of the Quarterly Meeting nor of the Yearly
Meeting, nor have they the right to participate in the business of these bodies nor in Monthly Meeting business
matters relating to these superior Meetings. The affiliation automatically ceases when the Affiliate leaves the limits of
Reception and Transfer by Certificate or Letter
Members removing to the limits of another Monthly Meeting should request the transfer of their membership to that
Meeting. At the discretion of the Monthly Meeting, certificates shall be issued for such members if requested; or in
default of such request, when the Monthly Meeting deems it best to do so. Such certificates shall be accepted by the
Monthly Meeting to which they are addressed, unless sufficient reason shall appear to the contrary. In every case
the Monthly Meeting receiving a certificate shall inform the Meeting which issued it, of the action taken thereon. A
certificate of membership shall be issued only to a Monthly Meeting and shall be sent to the clerk thereof.
Joining Other Bodies
If a member in good standing wishes to unite with some other denomination, the Monthly Meeting may grant a
letter of recom¬mendation. Upon official acknowledgement of its receipt, his/her membership with Friends shall
When an applicant for membership brings a letter of recommendation from another denomination, the Monthly
Meeting may exercise its judgment in regard to receiving him/her on this recommendation. All certificates and letters
should first be presented to the Meeting on Ministry and Counsel.
The acceptance and issuance of all certificates and letters shall be recorded in the minutes of the Monthly Meeting,
and the list of members shall be changed accordingly. Removal certificates for recorded ministers shall include a
statement to the effect that they are recorded ministers.
Discontinuance of Membership
Resignation of membership shall be made to the Monthly Meeting in writing. The Monthly Meeting may exercise its
discretion in accepting a resignation.
When any member shall have united with another denomination without having requested a letter of
recommendation, the Monthly Meeting, upon receipt of such information, shall remove the name from its list of
members and inform the member of its action.
A member removing beyond the limits of the Monthly Meeting should correspond with the Meeting and contribute to
its support. Monthly Meetings should correspond with absent members. If no information has been, or can be,
received from a member for a period of three years, the Monthly Meeting, at its discretion, may remove his/her name
from its list of members.
When any member habitually neglects attendance at Meeting, fails to contribute to its support, and is generally
inactive in the work of Friends, the Monthly Meeting, after due consideration, may remove his/her name from its list
Junior Members Discontinued
If a Junior Member, after reaching mature years, has shown no interest in becoming a member, he/she may,
upon recommendation of the Meeting on Ministry and Counsel, be dropped from the records by the Monthly Meeting.
Dealing with Offenders
All formal complaints against a member shall be introduced to the Monthly Meeting by the Meeting on Ministry
and Counsel. The Monthly Meeting shall appoint a committee to confer with the offender. It shall, in a spirit of love
and tenderness, endeavor to lead the member to a state of mind and heart that will result in restored fellowship with
the Meeting. If the exercise of due care and forbearance shall be of no avail, the Meeting shall execute a minute of
disownment and furnish the offender with a copy of the same. The membership records shall be corrected
When an offender is dissatisfied with the decision of the Monthly Meeting, he/she may, within two months, file
an appeal with that body to the Quarterly Meeting for a review of the case. If the Quarterly Meeting upholds the
decision of the Monthly Meeting, the offender may appeal to the Yearly Meeting through the Quarterly Meeting. The
decision of the Yearly Meeting shall be final.
When a case is reviewed before a superior Meeting, a committee of three shall be appointed to represent the
Meeting from which the appeal is made.
Guidelines for Continuing Membership
In order that membership may continue to be a vital experience, each individual is encouraged to carry on a
continual process of re-examination of his/her faith.
The historic "Queries" (questions for spiritual examina¬tion) have served this purpose in the past and it is
recommended that they continue to be the guidelines by which one determines the basis for continuing membership
in the Society of Friends.
Elders of the Meeting shall counsel with persons desiring membership and shall deal lovingly and firmly with
Friends whose life and witness may hinder the fellowship of the Meeting.
Membership should be regarded as a life-long matter only for those who maintain close ties with the local
meeting and share in its ministry, outreach and support.
This Electronic Version of Faith and practice contains the changes made to Chapters 2, 3 and 4 of the 1977 edition
of Faith and Practice. These changes were approved July 22, 2000 at the Year¬ly Meeting session at Hiwassee
College at Madisonville, Tenn.
THE MONTHLY MEETING
Organization and Function
Duties and Responsibilities
A Monthly Meeting is a regular organi¬zation of one or more congregations and consists of all persons who are
record¬ed upon its list of members. It is charged with the administration of the Meeting and has authority to receive,
transfer and dismiss members; to deal with offend¬ers; to grant appeals; to consider and act upon all questions
affecting the mem¬bership; to hold and administer real estate and other prop¬erty for the use of the Meeting; and to
carry out pro¬grams for the improvement of the spiri¬tual interest of the Meet¬ing. Each member has a responsibility
to partici¬pate in the business and service of the Meeting. The Mon¬thly Meeting should convene at a regu¬larly
appointed time prefera¬bly month¬ly, for the transaction of busi¬ness. A regular session may be ad¬journed, to be
recon¬vened at an ap¬pointed time to consider matters not attended to at the regular session.
Special meetings of the Monthly Meeting may be called by either the Clerk or the assistant Clerk upon the request of
three members. Notice shall be given at a regular meeting of the congregation at least seven days prior to the date
of holding the special meeting; it shall name the business to be considered and the per¬sons calling for the special
meeting. No business may be considered at a special meeting other than the business for which it was called.
A Monthly Meeting is duly organized for the transaction of busi¬ness when it has been established by a superior
Meeting and has appointed a Clerk or Clerks to present its business and record its action.
Appointment of Officers
It is recom¬mended that persons appointed as offi¬cers or to standing boards/committees
be duly recorded members of the Meet¬ing. A Monthly Meeting shall appoint Clerks as needed, such as: Presiding,
It shall be the duty of the Presiding Clerks to see that the business is prop¬erly presented to the Meeting for its
consideration, to announce deci¬sions when made, to make certain that all actions are properly recorded and to
sign documents on behalf of the Monthly Meeting. The Recording Clerk shall keep an accurate set of minutes
showing all matters brought to the attention of the Meeting and the action taken. These minutes shall be kept in
permanent form in a Minute Book. They will become the permanent record of the Meeting when they have been
approved and signed by the Clerks and properly dated.
The Recording Clerk may serve as the Statistical Secretary and correspondent for the Meeting if the size of the
Meeting does not warrant separate ap¬pointments for these services.
The Statistical Secretary shall keep an accurate record of all matters per¬taining to the membership, such as births,
marriages and deaths; members received by application, by transfer from junior membership to membership; and
transfers of membership to or from other Meetings or denominations.
The Monthly Meeting shall appoint a Treasurer, who shall receive and disburse funds as directed by the Meeting,
keep a regular account of money so received and disbursed, and submit a complete report of the state of the
treasury at the end of the fis¬cal year; he/she should be ready to report each month to the Monthly Meet¬ing, if
The Monthly Meeting shall appoint Auditors who shall audit the accounts of the Treasurer at least once a year.
Unless the laws of the state pertaining to the appointment and ser¬vice of trustees provide otherwise, the Monthly
Meeting shall appoint three or more Trustees for the period of three years; it shall appoint one-third of the number
each year. Where the finan¬cial responsibility of the Meeting is involved, and in other matters, the Trustees should,
except in emergencies, act only in accordance with the ex-pressed will of the Meeting.
Tenure in Office
All officers of the Monthly Meeting shall be appointed annually, unless otherwise stated. All appointees hold their
positions until their successors are appointed. Where numbers permit, committee members may be appointed to a
two-year or a three-year cycle.
Monthly Meeting minute books and valuable papers shall be carefully preserved and, wherever conditions permit,
shall be placed in a fireproof safe or vault. The Yearly Meeting urges the Monthly Meeting to send all record books
and valuable papers to the vault of the Quaker Room at Wilmington Col-lege, when there is no longer an
imme¬diate need for them. This would include the deeds and abstracts to property, as well as membership records
Each Monthly Meet¬ing should appoint Committees to carry forward the activities of the Meeting, as well as relate to
the Boards and Committees of the Yearly Meeting. In Monthly Meetings, at least one person should be appointed to
represent each department. This will provide a means of communication between the local Meeting and the Yearly
Meeting Boards. In the experience of various Yearly Meetings several departments of work have proven their worth,
such as Minis¬try and Counsel, Outreach, Education, Peace and Society, Finance, and Youth. The Monthly Meeting
may appoint such other committees as may be needed to accomplish its work. It is to be under¬stood that any
Committee is at liberty to appoint to a task force such persons as may be qualified and willing to serve with approval
of the Monthly Meeting. Such appointments shall be for a specific purpose and a definite peri¬od of time and the
task force shall be responsible to the committee ap¬pointing the same.
Each committee shall submit a complete report to Monthly Meeting at the end of each fiscal year or at more frequent
intervals on matters of spe¬cial importance or interest.
Ministry and Counsel
Ministers, elders, and pastors can accomplish their work with greater efficiency through close coop¬eration and
frequent consultation. For this purpose Meetings on Ministry and Counsel shall be established for Month¬ly
Meetings. Those appointed to Minis¬try and Counsel shall be considered Elders of the Meeting. The position of
Elder is not transferable by removal of membership to another meeting. Where two or more congregations constitute
a Monthly Meeting, the members of the Meeting on Ministry and Counsel shall constitute congregational committees
in their own congregations respective¬ly.
The Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel shall be composed of all the elders and those resident ministers
appointed to this body by the Monthly Meeting. Resident ministers shall be subject to appointment to this body on
the same basis as other mem¬bers. Pastors or those serving the Meeting in a similar capacity shall be members of
this body by virtue of their position in the Meeting. The Meeting on Ministry and Counsel shall appoint one or more
members of this body to serve as clerks who shall keep a writ¬ten record of proceedings.
Each Meeting shall have at least six elders so that an interchange of counsel will give weight to their
con¬clusions. Without sacrificing efficien¬cy, attention should be given to pro¬viding rotation in office as a means by
which other Friends with gifts may be introduced to the responsibility of membership on Ministry and Counsel, one-
third of the members to be ap¬pointed each year. Length of service should be limited to 2-three year terms with
reappointment possible after a period of time off of the committee.
To coordinate and strengthen the work of the Monthly Meeting, the Meeting on Ministry and Counsel may call in for
consultation the leaders of religious education, the chairmen of the standing committees of the Monthly Meeting, and
other persons as needed.
Time of Meetings
The Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel shall hold regular sessions, preferably each month, but not less
frequently than once in three months. Special meetings may be called by the clerk on request of three members.
It shall be the duty of this body to have general care of the spiritual welfare of the congregation. Therefore it has the
responsibility for the meetings for worship, the quality of the vocal ministry, the pastoral leadership and the
development of min¬istry on the part of all the members.
It shall be aware of the entire membership and all non-member attenders and seek to nurture their spiritual
lives by every means suitable. Non-resident members should be urged, where appropriate, and helped to affiliate
with a Meeting or church in their geo¬graphical location.
The Ministry and Counsel shall see that classes of instruction for member¬ship in Friends will be offered
regu¬larly. Elders should encourage any who render vocal service in Meetings for Worship and who give evidence
of having spiritual gifts. The development and use of these gifts shall be a concern of elders. They should be alert to
find and suggest avenues of service to mem¬bers of the Meeting.
It is the responsibility of Minis¬try and Counsel to initiate the process of recording for any who, in their
judgment, have the gift of ministry. The entire process of recording is described in the Yearly Meeting section below.
Pastors or Meeting Secretaries
Meet¬ings desiring the help of Pastors or Meeting Secretaries shall make such arrangements through the
recommendation of Ministry and Counsel to the Monthly Meeting. These arrangements should be made only after
consultation with the Yearly Meeting Executive Secretary, or other persons made responsible by the Yearly Meeting
for such service. If and when a Meeting calls a pastor or Meet¬ing Secretary to serve in its behalf, the Meeting
should see that the salary and other considerations are sufficient to free the worker for such service to enable him
or her to work effectively; the amount shall be recommended by the Meeting on Ministry and Counsel in conjunction
with the Finance Committee to Monthly Meeting. The Meeting shall provide a job description of expecta¬tions and
reach an agreement on duties. Employee relationships shall be re¬viewed on behalf of the Meeting and counseling
with the employee shall be an accepted responsibility of Ministry and Counsel. It is helpful to have an annual review.
The time of employment shall be July 1 to June 30. Meetings are encouraged to make two or three year or indefinite
calls for service with provision for adequate advance notification by either party when change is desired.
Ministry and Counsel shall have responsibility to evaluate the needs of the Meeting when an employment
change is before the Meeting. It shall give prayerful and thoughtful consider¬ation to spiritual maturity, educa¬tional
qualifications, knowledge and experi¬ence of Friends' principles and history of a person who may be avail¬able for
pastoral and/or administrative service. Ministry and Counsel shall bring its recommendations to Monthly Meeting for
decision. Employees shall not be en¬gaged or dismissed without the action of the Monthly Meeting.
Memorials for deceased mem¬bers may be prepared by Ministry and Counsel and forward to Monthly Meeting. If
approved by that body, such memorial shall be entered on its minutes and may also be forward to the Meeting on
Min¬istry and Counsel of the Quarterly Meeting. This body may transmit the same, with or without revision, to the
Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel to be read. Names of all deceased members should be forwarded in like
State of Society
The Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel shall annually appoint one or more members to prepare and present
to its sessions a report on the spiritual condition of the Monthly Meeting (State of Society). The report when
approved shall be forwarded to the Monthly Meeting for its approval and by that body to the Clerk of Minis¬try and
Counsel of the Quarterly Meet¬ing. These reports shall be presented to the Quar¬terly Meeting session preceding
Yearly Meeting. The Clerk of Ministry and Counsel of Quarterly Meet¬ing shall forward reports to the State of
Society Committee of the Yearly Meeting Minis¬try and Counsel which shall summarize the same and report. The
report shall cover such activities as give evidence of spiritual vitality of the members, their social concern, special
Christian work in which members may be engaged outside the limits of the Meeting, the character of the min¬istry in
the meet¬ings for worship, and significant ac¬complishments which may give incentive to others.
The Monthly Meeting shall annual¬ly appoint a Finance Committee which shall have charge of raising of funds
and the preparation of a budget for the consid¬eration of the Monthly Meeting and its congregations. There may be
a separate committee for each congrega¬tion if desirable. Careful attention should be given to wise methods for
interesting the members and attenders in the ser¬vice of the Meeting and for raising funds for the support of its
work. The Meeting should encourage voluntary giving and extend to every member an opportunity to make regular
and system¬atic contributions.
The Monthly Meeting shall appoint a Nominating Committee which shall function throughout the year. Care
should be taken that this committee shall represent all of the interests of the Monthly Meeting. It shall make
nominations for all officers, commit¬tees, and representatives as directed by the Monthly Meeting. It should con¬sult
with the proposed nominees before presenting their names to the Monthly Meeting for appointment. The
function¬ing of a Nominating Committee shall not abridge the right of any member to suggest additional nominations
in the sessions of the Monthly Meeting.
Meetings are encouraged to form auxiliary groups of Quaker Men, United Society of Friends Women, and
Young Friends and cooperate with Yearly Meet¬ing and National Organizations of these groups.
The Queries should be read in Monthly Meeting or in series during Meeting for Worship at regular inter¬vals,
allowing due time for thoughtful consideration.
Special Responsibilities for Ministry
Pastors and Meeting Secretaries
Pastors and Worship
It is recommended that pastors be recorded ministers of the Society of Friends. Non-recorded ministers, called to
serve as a pastor, may be issued a temporary certificate of service at the discretion of the Committee on
Evangelism, Church Exten¬sion and Pastoral Care. Pastors are called by meetings to fulfill certain special lines of
service and to assume a measure of guidance and direction in the conduct of the affairs of the Meet¬ing. They are
expected to serve the Meeting in the field of the public ministry, although they should always have due regard for
other ministers in the Meeting and for visiting Friends who may come with a message. Consider¬ation should be
given by pastors to the value of silent worship and to the need of preserving in every Meeting that freedom of
expression which is vital to the membership in group worship. Pas¬tors are considered as co-workers with the
members of the Meeting. They should endeavor to bring all the members of the Meeting to a sense of their
respon¬sibility for ministry.
Some Meetings employ Meeting Secretaries instead of pastors. They are not necessarily re¬corded ministers. Their
relation to the Boards/Committees of the Monthly Meet¬ing is the same as that of pastors.
The Pastor or Meeting Secretary and the Community
In the development of a sense of responsibility on the part of the Meeting toward the community, pas¬tors or
meeting secretaries should maintain an interest in public affairs and should cooperate with other church¬es and
associations in fostering the welfare of the community.
Relationship of Pastor or Meeting Sec¬retary and Ministry and Counsel
The Pastor or Meeting Secretary shall be a member, but not an officer, of the Monthly Meeting Ministry and Counsel.
He/she should present concerns for the consideration of this body but possess¬es no more authority over its
decisions than other members. All matters of policy affecting the Meeting for Wor-ship, the undertaking of special
evan¬gelistic efforts, and programs of work shall be submitted to the Ministry and Counsel for discussion and
Relationship of Pastor or Meeting Sec¬retary and Committees
Pastors or Meeting Secretaries will sustain a cooperative relationship with all com¬mittees of the Meeting, assisting
in their programs and policies when called upon.
Information received in counseling shall be consid¬ered a privileged communication by the pastor and others
serving the Meeting in a counseling capacity.
Minutes For Service
When any Friend feels called of God to service beyond the limits of the Yearly Meeting, he/she shall present
the concern to the Monthly Meeting of which he/she is a member. If this Meet¬ing concurs, it shall transmit a minute
of the proposed service, together with an expression of its unity and concur¬rence therein, to the Clerk of the
Quarterly Meeting who shall, in turn, if the Meeting approves, transmit the same to the Yearly Meeting. If that body
approves it shall express the unity and concurrence of the Yearly Meeting in the Minute for Service to be borne by
the traveling Friend.
All minutes shall, after the per¬formance of the labor, be seasonably returned to the Meeting that granted
them. The same procedure shall be fol¬lowed in the case of requests for Trav¬eling Minutes.
With the Minister Participating
Friends of Friends United Meeting, influenced by the gen¬eral acceptance of pastoral leadership, recognize the fact
that many young people are looking to pastors and other Friends' ministers for guidance in rela¬tion to marriage.
The Meeting should share with the pastor a concern for the happiness and spiritual welfare of those who request
pastoral partici¬pa¬tion in the solemnization of their marriage. It should cooperate in every possible way with the
pastor in keeping the marriage procedure harmoni¬ous with the ideals of Friends.
Advice to Ministers
Since Friends' ministers are recognized by the state as qualified to perform the functions of clergy in the
solemnization of mar¬riage, they have equality in performing this service along with the ministers of other churches.
They are advised, therefore, to exercise due care to observe all legal requirements as set by the several states, and
also to endeavor to make the exchange of mar¬riage vows a matter of the deepest religious import to the
contracting parties and to all who are present.
Pastors are encouraged to conduct classes in which helpful coun¬sel may be given to those contemplating
marriage, and to all youth in the mat¬ter of choosing their life companions. Personal counsel with individuals and
couples is also advised. Pastors are urged to be sure that all legal and moral obligations have been met. Pas¬tors
should endeavor to help the couple to consider carefully the sacredness of the obligations they are assuming and to
assure themselves they are prepared to enter into such a covenant.
A ceremony is provid¬ed (see appendix) for the help it may give to those who feel the need for suggestions or
guidance. Pastors, in consultation with the couple, are en¬couraged to work out a ceremony in keeping with the
highest aspirations of the couple and the ideals of Friends.
When Arranged by the Meeting
As a traditional prac¬tice, Friends have provided a form of ceremony in keeping with their idea of the deep religious
significance of marriage. The avoidance of undue haste, the emphasis upon the equality of the sexes, the
responsibility assumed by the Monthly Meeting, the thoughtful attention given to the religious, mor¬al, and physical
qualifications, and the impressive statement of the mar¬riage vows by the contracting parties are all important
features of the Fr¬ien¬ds' marriage practice. Persons de¬siring to unite in marriage through the Meeting shall
proceed as follows. . .
The parties shall report their intentions to the Monthly Meeting of which both are members, or to the Monthly
Meeting of which the woman is a member if they belong to different Meetings.
The Meeting or Meetings shall appoint a committee or committees of two men and two women, who shall make
inquiry as to the quali¬fications of the parties for marriage, such as their clearness from other engagements, the
consent of parents or guardians in the case of minors, and suitable provisions for the rights of children by a
previous marriage, if there are such. If the parties belong to different Meetings, committees shall be appointed in
each Meeting. Reports may be made to the next regular ses¬sions of the respective Monthly Meet¬ings or to special
sessions and, if the reports are found to be satisfacto¬ry, the other Monthly Meeting shall send its findings to the
one in which the marriage is to be consummated, and the parties will be at liberty to pro¬ceed accordingly.
One Not a Member
If one party is not a member of Friends, a committee may be appointed by said Meeting which may proceed as in the
A Monthly Meeting may allow a marriage to be solemnized with the Meeting when both parties are non members. In
such a case the Meeting shall appoint a committee to proceed as in paragraph 3 [above]. If the findings of the
committee are satisfactory, the pro¬ceedings in relation to the proposed marriage shall be in the same manner as if
the contracting parties were members of Friends.
Oversight of Marriage
After a couple has been liberated to proceed with arrangements for their marriage, a committee of not less than two
women and two men shall be appointed by the Monthly Meeting to attend the marriage and report to the following
session of the Monthly Meeting as to whether it has been properly solemnized.
Marriage in Meeting
The marriage shall be solemnized in regular meeting of the congregation or in a special meeting arranged by the
Monthly Meeting at a time convenient to the contracting parties.
Following the exchange of vows, the marriage certificate shall be signed by both parties; it shall then be audibly read
by a designated person. At the conclusion of the meeting, it shall be signed by others as witnesses.
The pastor or other minister may assist in the solemnization of a marriage within the Meeting, if the couple so
Relations to Superior Meetings
Two or more represen¬tatives shall be appointed by each Monthly Meeting to attend the Quarterly Meeting.
Once in three months the Mon¬thly Meeting shall report in an ab¬stract to its minutes, such business as should be
laid before the Quarterly Meeting of which it is a part. Annu¬al reports shall be made to the Quar¬terly Meeting of
such information as the Yearly Meeting may direct.
Each Monthly Meeting shall appoint representatives to the Permanent Board according to its mem-bership. (See
Yearly Meeting section on Permanent Board).
Right of Petition
Monthly Meetings, through their Quarterly Meetings, have the right to petition Yearly Meetings to establish,
discontinue, or divide a Quarterly Meeting, to unite two or more Quarterly Meetings, and to promote other religious
interests for which there is a concern.
Independent Meet¬ings are composed of Friends from vari¬ous branches who unite to form a meet-ing for worship.
Such Meetings should be encouraged to affiliate with estab¬lished Quarterly and Yearly Meetings. Friends' methods
are more effective when a fellowship of service and a wholesome example are brought to bear upon the life of the
members by contact with others in established Meetings with their historic backgrounds and their inclusive variety of
Outreach and New Meetings
Growth and Outreach
Friends should be encouraged to be on the alert for op¬portunities to extend their efforts into new fields of service.
New work which gives promise of permanence should be placed under the care of the Monthly Meeting, and new
meetings for worship should be established when desirable.
An Indulged Meeting is a congregation of Friends who gather regularly for worship, mutual spiritual help, the
Christian education of chil¬dren and testimony to the gospel as held by Friends, but which meets at a time and place
different from a recog¬nized Monthly Meeting. Its members are members of the Monthly Meeting (or Quarterly
Meeting) whose meeting on Ministry and Counsel has care and over¬sight for the members of the Indulged Meeting,
and are granted membership by the Monthly Meeting (or Quarterly Meet¬ing) of which the Indulged Meeting is a part.
A Monthly Meeting may organize or recognize an Indulged Meeting after determining that it is meeting
regu¬larly and that its testimony is consis¬tent with the gospel as held by Friends. A parent Monthly Meeting shall
inform the Quarterly Meeting (QM) and Yearly Meeting (YM) of its action in organizing and recognizing an Indulged
The parent Monthly (Quarterly) Meeting is responsible for the YM and QM assessments of the members of its
Indulged Meetings. Members of the In¬dulged Meetings are expected to con¬tribute to the Monthly Meeting
finan¬cially and to participate on Monthly Meeting committees as other members of the Monthly Meeting do.
If a Monthly Meeting determines that one of its subordinate meetings no longer meets regularly for worship,
then it shall make diligent attempts to see that regular meetings for worship are held. If such attempts fail, it shall
discontinue the Indulged Meeting and inform the QM and YM of its action.
When an Indulged Meeting is of sufficient numerical and financial strength to own and maintain property, it may
petition its parent meeting to be recognized as a Prepara¬tive Meeting. If the parent meeting determines that the
Indulged Meeting can meet the legal requirements to own property, it shall grant permission for the Indulged Meeting
to incorporate for the purpose of owning property with provision that the corporation name the Wilmington Yearly
Meeting Fiduciary Corporation as receiver, if the Pre¬parative Meeting should be discontin¬ued.
A Preparative Meeting shall orga¬nize itself as a committee of the Mon¬thly Meeting of which it is a part, and
1. A Clerk who shall preside over meetings for the business of the Pre¬parative Meeting and shall report on the
status of the Preparative Meeting to each session of the parent Monthly Meeting;
2. A Recording Clerk who shall keep the records of the Preparative Meeting and convey the same to the
Recording Clerk of the Monthly Meeting annually;
3. A Treasurer who shall receive and disburse funds on behalf of the Preparative Meeting and;
4. Such number of Trustees as the state in which the parent Monthly Meet¬ing resides may require, who shall
hold deed to the property of the Pre¬parative Meeting and see that the prop¬erty is cared for.
When a Monthly Meeting sees that one of its Preparative Meetings is unable to meet the requirements for
holding property, or is unable to care for its property, the Monthly Meeting shall inform the Quarterly Meeting, of
which it is a part, of the condition of the Preparative Meeting and recommend that it be discontinued.
New Monthly Meetings
Upon recommenda¬tion of one of its Monthly Meetings or when the Quarterly Meeting shall deem it advisable for a
new Monthly Meeting to be established, it shall appoint a committee to consider the subject and to make a report. A
committee shall see that a suitable meeting place can be arranged, that the prospective member¬ship is able to
meet the requirements of a Monthly Meeting as set forth in Faith and Practice, and that any other considerations
that may affect the establishment of the Meeting can be accomplished in good order.
When the Meeting, which is to be established, will be composed of mem¬bers of existing Monthly Meetings, the
consent of each Meeting shall be ob¬tained.
If the supervisory committee is satisfied, the arrangements shall be laid before the Quarterly Meeting for its
approval. Once approval is given, and as soon as is practical, the Clerk of Quarterly Meeting shall convene the first
session of the new Monthly Meet¬ing at which the officers and commit¬tees of the new Monthly Meeting shall
officially be appointed. The Monthly Meeting shall then be considered to have been established and shall proceed
with its duties as a regular Monthly Meeting. These actions shall be report¬ed to the YM.
Organization and Functions
A Quarterly Meeting con¬sists of the members of the Monthly Meetings within its limits and subordi¬nate to it.
Officers shall consist of a Presiding Clerk, a Recording Clerk, and a Treasurer, and others as needed, whose names
shall be presented by a Nominating Committee to the Quarterly Meeting for their approval.
A Nominating Committee shall be appointed annually to serve throughout the year. The functioning of this committee
shall not abridge the right of any member to suggest additional nominations in the sessions of the Quarterly Meeting.
Relation to Monthly Meetings
A Quarterly Meeting has responsibility to establish, or discon¬tinue, Monthly or Preparative Meetings, or to divide a
Monthly Meeting, or to unite two or more Monthly Meetings under its jurisdiction.
A Quarterly Meeting has supervision over the Monthly Meeting. It may review their proceedings and examine the
records thereof, so that any irregularities in proceedings may be corrected by the Monthly Meeting. It shall receive
appeals from Monthly Meetings and decide upon them, and shall grant appeals from its own deci¬sions to the
If a Quarterly Meeting sees that one of its Monthly Meetings habitually neglects one or more of its Indulged or
Preparative Meetings, the QM may instruct the Monthly Meeting to have a concern for the neglected body. If over a
period of time, the QM determines that one of its Monthly Meetings con¬tinues to neglect one of its Indulged or
Preparative Meetings, the QM shall transfer the neglected meeting to an-other Monthly Meeting, or assume
re¬sponsibility for the spiritual over¬sight of the neglected body. If the neglected meeting is found to be unable to
function as described in Faith and Practice, it shall be discontinued. The QM shall inform YM of its action in any
Uniting of Monthly Meetings
If the Monthly Meetings to be united are in different quarters, uniting shall be supervised by both Quarterly Meetings.
When uniting of two or more meetings seems wise, the meetings involved shall ask the Quarterly Meeting to appoint
a supervisory committee. The supervisory committee shall see that both meetings agree to disposition and use of
proper¬ty held by each meeting; that a suit¬able name for the united meeting is mutually agreed to; that the officers
for the new Monthly Meeting and members of those committees required of a Mon¬thly Meeting by Faith and
Practice are selected and mutually agreed to; and that any other considerations that may affect the uniting of the
meetings is accomplished in good order.
When the supervisory committee and the Monthly Meetings are satisfied that all matters are arranged and in
good order, the arrangements shall be laid before the Quarterly Meeting for its approval. Once approval is given,
and as soon as is practical, the Clerk of Quarterly Meeting shall convene the first session of the new Monthly
Meet¬ing at which the officers and commit¬tees of the united meeting shall offi¬cially be appointed. The united
Monthly Meeting shall then be considered to have been established and shall proceed with its duties as a regular
A Quarterly Meeting may tran¬sfer a Monthly Meeting upon the request of that body, to the jurisdiction of another
Quarterly Meeting within the Yearly Meeting with the consent of the Quarterly Meeting to which transfer is to be
made. A request from a Monthly Meeting for transfer to a Quarterly Meeting within the limits of another Yearly
Meeting must first be referred to its Quarterly Meeting and then to its Yearly Meeting for action. In all cases the
Meeting to which transfer is made shall act upon said transfer and notify the Meetings involved of its action.
Discontinuance of Meetings
If a Quar¬terly Meeting determines that one of the Monthly or Preparative Meetings within its jurisdiction is no longer
able to function as described in Faith and Practice, the QM shall make dili¬gent attempts to strengthen the
meet¬ing. If, after some time, it becomes clear that the meeting will remain non-functional, the QM shall discontin¬ue
the meeting. The remaining membership may be organized as an Indulged Meet¬ing, attached to a functioning
Meeting or taken under the care of the Quarterly Meeting.
The QM shall inform the YM Trust¬ees of the discontinuance of the meet¬ing and convey title to any property
to the Fiduciary Corporation according to the rights of receivership established by Faith and Practice. This action
may be appealed to the YM but the decision of the YM shall be final.
Relations to the Yearly Meeting
In order to es¬tablish, discontinue, or divide a Quar¬terly Meeting, or to unite two Quar¬terly Meetings, applications
should be made by the Monthly Meetings concerned through their Quarterly Meeting or their respective Quarterly
Meetings to the Yearly Meeting for its action.
Permanent Board Appointments
The Quarterly Meeting shall forward to the Yearly Meeting names of those appointed by Monthly Meetings to
Permanent Board. If ap¬pointments have not been received by the last Quarterly Meeting prior to Yearly Meeting
sessions, Quarterly Meeting shall have authority to fill, on an at-large basis, any vacancies.
The Quarterly Meeting, upon recommendation of its Nominating Committee, shall appoint annually one person each
to the Yearly Meeting Stew¬ardship and Fi¬nance and Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee for terms of three
The Quarterly Meeting shall, at its last session before Yearly Meeting, appoint chair¬persons in accordance with the
Yearly Meeting boards or committees. These chairpersons shall act as conveners for group activities in their
particu¬lar fields as carried on by the Quar¬terly Meeting and shall serve as ex-officio members of the
corresponding Yearly Meeting boards. They shall pre¬pare and present, at appropriate times, reports of the work
Meeting on Ministry and Counsel
A Quarterly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel shall be composed of all the pastors, recorded ministers and elders
belonging to its constituent Monthly Meetings. It shall meet regu¬larly, near the time of the Quarterly Meeting, to
transact the business per¬taining to its responsibilities.
At the last session before Yearly Meeting, the Quarterly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel shall review reports on the
spiritual condition and work received from the Monthly Meet¬ings, and shall forward them to the Ministry and
Counsel State of Society Committee of the Yearly Meeting.
The Quarterly Meeting on Minis¬try and Counsel shall have the general oversight of the pastoral work within its
limits. It shall be diligent and judicious in advising measures and means for the promotion of spiritual life and
godliness, and it shall give special attention to new congregations, weak Meetings, and those without minis¬try. It
shall name one person annually to the Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel Nominating Committee. Memorials
received from Monthly Meetings shall be reviewed and forward to Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel.
Organization and Functions
A Yearly Meeting consists of the members of the Quarter¬ly Meetings and thus the constituent Monthly Meeting
subordinate to them. The purpose of its annual assemblies is the general ordering and regulating of the affairs of
the constituent bodies in the service of God and the mainte¬nance and promotion of Christian faith, love, unity, life
and practice through¬out the subordinate Meetings. All mem-bers have the privilege and responsi¬bility of
attendance and participation in its sessions. Monthly Meetings are encouraged to appoint representatives whose
responsibility is to attend and participate in Yearly Meeting sessions and to report the work of the sessions to their
respective Quarterly and Mon¬thly Meetings.
The Yearly Meeting has authority to decide all questions of administration, to counsel, admonish, or discipline its
subordinate Meetings, to institute measures and to provide means for the promotion of truth and righteousness, and
to inaugurate and carry on departments of religious and philanthropic work.
A Presiding Clerk, Recording Clerk and Assistants shall be appoint¬ed. The Yearly Meeting shall be opened at the
appointed time and place by the Presiding Clerk. In the absence of the Presiding Clerk, the Assistant Pre¬sid¬ing
Clerk shall perform this ser¬vice. If neither shall be present, the Meet¬ing shall appoint a temporary
clerk. The Presiding Clerk and Assis¬tant Presiding Clerk shall be appointed annually, but not to exceed six
consec¬utive years in one office or a total of nine consecutive years for one person in both offices. The Recording
Clerk, or Assistant, shall keep approved min¬utes of all sessions.
The Yearly Meeting shall appoint six (6) Trustees in accordance with the law and this discipline. The said Trustees
shall be appointed for terms of six years and one third of the num¬ber shall be appointed every two years, with a
limit of two consecutive terms of service. Due care must be exercised by the Trustees in carrying out their fiduciary
The Wilmington Yearly Meeting Fiduciary Corporation is an Ohio, non-profit corporation orga-nized in accordance
with the Ohio Re¬vised Code, Section 1715.12. Members of the Corporation shall be the current members of the
Trustees of Wilmington Yearly Meeting. Upon any action of the Yearly Meeting electing or removing one of its
Trustees, the membership of the Corporation shall change at the same time.
The Wilmington Yearly Meeting Fiduciary Corporation is to provide for the establishment and administra¬tion of
an endowment fund for the bene¬fit of Wilmington Yearly Meeting. The Corpora¬tion has authority to receive, hold
and disburse gifts, devises, be¬quests and funds from other sources; and, to in-vest, manage and dispose of such
funds, subject to the regulations of the donor and/or Wilmington Yearly Meeting.
The Corporation has charge of all property owned by Wilmington Yearly Meeting with authority to hold, invest,
control and manage such property for its benefit; and, to purchase, sell, lease and mortgage any real estate owned
by Wilmington Yearly Meeting.
The Corporation shall have all the authority accorded such a Corporation by Sec¬tion 1715.12 of the Ohio
Revised Code, subject to the limitations con¬tained in the Corporation's Articles and its Code of Regulations.
The financial books of the Corpor¬ation shall be audited annually and a report made to Yearly Meeting.
Property of Discontinued Meetings
When a Meeting is discontinued, the physical property and investments belonging to said Meeting shall be vested in
the Wilmington Yearly Meeting Fiduciary Corporation, a subsidiary Corporation of Wilmington Yearly Meeting, except
when otherwise determined by deed or other legal restriction.
Such property is to be held for some specific purpose, or used for the advancement of the general work of the
Yearly Meeting, as that body may deter¬mine. All funds held for such discon¬tinued Meetings shall be administered
as far as possible in accordance with the directions of the original donors. A Meeting is not to be considered as
discontinued if it unites as an orga¬nized group with another Friends Meet¬ing.
Stewardship and Finance Committee
The Stewardship and Finance Committee shall annually solicit projections of expen¬ditures from the Boards and
Committees of the Yearly Meeting, and shall deter¬mine the financial status of the Month-ly and Quarterly Meetings.
It shall balance and refine these into a budget to be presented to Yearly Meeting in session together with an
apportionment between the Monthly Meetings of funds to be raised to support the proposed budget. The
Stewardship and Finance Committee shall promote fund raising, planned giving and individual steward¬ship to
finance and support Yearly Meeting programs.
The Yearly Meeting Nominating Committee and each Quarterly Meeting shall annually appoint one (1)
person to the Stewardship and Finance Commit¬tee for a three-year term. A person may be appointed to two
consecutive full terms.
The Stewardship and Finance Com¬mittee shall meet during Yearly Meeting sessions to appoint a Clerk and
plan its work.
The fiscal year of the Yearly Meeting shall be the calendar year.
The Nominating Committee shall annually recommend to Yearly Meeting in session a person to serve as Treasurer.
The Treasurer shall receive monies from Monthly Meetings and others, and shall keep records of the same.
The Treasurer shall, within budgetary au¬thority, pay out monies as directed by the Yearly Meeting, its Permanent
Board, its Executive Committee, or the chairperson of appointed boards and committees, and shall keep records of
the same. The Fiduciary Corporation shall annually audit the Treasurer's books and present its report to the Yearly
A new position of assistant to the treasurer was created in 2000 and also is to be appointed by the WYM
The Nominating Committee of the Yearly Meeting shall be composed of those persons designated by the Quarterly
Meetings for this purpose. Each Quarterly Meeting shall annually appoint one person to the Yearly Meeting
Nominating Committee for a three-year term. The Nominating Com¬mittee shall be responsible for all Yearly Meeting
nominations except the Nominating Committee itself, some mem¬bers of the Stewardship and Finance Committee
and Friends United Meeting Commission Members who shall be recom¬mended by the Executive Committee to the
A person may not continue service on a given committee or board more than two consecutive terms. After a
year out of office a person may be reap¬pointed.
The Nominating Committee shall obtain the consent of each nominee before presenting the name to the
The Permanent Board shall consist of representatives from each Monthly Meeting and of persons in the following
administrative positions in the Yearly Meeting: Presiding Clerk, Assistant Presiding Clerk, Recording Clerk,
Treasurer, Clerk of Ministry and Counsel, United Society of Friends Women President, Quaker Men President,
Young Friends Committee Chairman, Ch¬airman of Stewardship and Finance Com¬mittee, Chairman of Education
Board, Chairman of Outreach Board, Chairman of Board on Christian Concerns for Peace and Society, Chairman of
Camp Board, Chairman of Trustees, Wilmington Col¬lege president or representative and the Executive Secretary.
Each Monthly Meeting shall have one representative on the Permanent Board plus one for each two hundred
members or fraction thereof over the first two hundred. These representa¬tives shall serve a term of three years
and may be reappointed for one addi¬tional three year term. A substitute may be authorized by the Monthly
Meet¬ing to serve in place of its regular representative.
Each Monthly Meeting should for¬ward the names of its Permanent Board representatives to Quarterly Meeting
prior to the annual sessions of Yearly Meeting. The Quarterly Meeting shall have the authority to fill, on an at-large
basis, any vacancies not filled by the Monthly Meetings.
The Permanent Board shall rep¬resent the Yearly Meeting in the inter¬im between annual assemblies. It may act on
behalf of the Yearly Meeting in accordance with Faith and Practice in cases where the interests of Friends render it
Time of Meeting
The Permanent Board shall meet as necessary through the year. Ten days notice of meetings must be given in
writing to all members and the business to come before the meeting shall be stated in the call. The Yearly Meeting
Presiding Clerk shall be the Clerk of the Permanent Board. The Per¬manent Board shall name its own Record¬ing
Clerk. All matters of business referred to the Permanent Board shall be presented in writing to one of the clerks.
It shall keep a record of its proceedings and annually lay the same before the Yearly Meeting.
Executive Committee Organization
An Executive Committee of the Permanent Board is formed of the following twelve members: Presiding Clerk,
Assistant Presiding Clerk, Clerk of Ministry and Counsel, Chairman of Board on Outreach, Chairman of Board on
Educational Con¬cerns, Chairman of Board on Christian Concerns for Peace and Society, Chair¬man of Trustees,
Chairman of Steward¬ship and Finance Committee, Executive Secretary and three members-at-large,
representatives of the Yearly Meeting geographically. Preceding Yearly Meet¬ing, members-at-large are to be
named for the following year from the member¬ship of the Permanent Board. The Assis¬tant Presiding Clerk shall
be chairman of the Executive Committee.
Executive Committee Duties
The Execu¬tive Committee is responsible to the Permanent Board and shall have the power to act on its behalf on
those matters of business referred to it by that Board.
The Executive Committee shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Executive Secretary. After reviewing the
work of the Executive Secretary, it shall make recommendations to the Permanent Board concerning employment,
salary, travel expense and other mat¬ters.
The Executive Committee shall plan the program of Yearly Meeting sessions, and shall make provisions for
handling items of new business.
Upon nomination of the Executive Committee the Permanent Board may appoint a person to serve as Executive
Secretary. Such a person shall be responsible to the Executive Committee and shall serve the interests of all
departments of the work of the Yearly Meeting, meeting with Boards and Committees and be ready to assist and
advise wherever helpful. The Executive Secretary shall work with local meet¬ings in the process of selecting
pasto¬ral leadership. The Executive Secretary shall give immediate attention and counsel to pastors and meetings if
difficulties arise in meetings. The Executive Secretary shall keep the members of Wilmington Yearly Meeting
informed of the needs and opportunities in all departments of the Yearly Meet¬ing work.
Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel
The Yearly Meeting on Min¬istry and Counsel is composed of the members of the Quarterly Meetings on Ministry
and Counsel within its limits. It shall meet annually at such times as the Yearly Meeting shall direct, and thereafter on
its own adjournment, but in no case so as to conflict with the sessions of the Yearly Meeting.
It shall appoint Clerks annually and receive reports from the Quarterly Meetings on Ministry and Counsel, and it shall
report annu¬al¬ly to the Yearly Meeting the condi¬tions and work of the ministry and of the membership; it may
address epistles of advice and instruction to its subordinate Meetings, and appoint commit¬tees to visit them. The
Clerks shall serve no more than six consecutive terms.
The Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel shall carefully consider subjects which have reference to spiri¬tual
needs and may report its judgment to the Yearly Meeting for its action.
There will be the following Committees: (a) The Committee on Train¬ing and Recording of Ministers will be
composed of six members, at least one-half of whom shall be other than re¬corded ministers. Appointments shall be
made for three years, the term of two memberships expiring each year. (b) The Committee on Evangelism, Church
Exten¬sion and Pastoral Care will be composed of twelve members. Each year the Yearly Meeting Ministry and
Counsel will name two members at-large for three-year terms. In addition one from each Quar¬terly Meeting will be
named each year for two-year terms by the respective Quarterly Meetings. No more than six years can be served
consecutively. The Yearly Meeting Clerk of Ministry and Counsel shall serve ex-officio. (c) Committee to Edit
Memorials will have three-year terms, one member's term expiring each year. (d) State of Soci¬ety Committee will be
composed of three persons serving three-year terms, one term expiring each year.
The Executive Committee of Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel will be composed of the Clerks, the Chairmen
of the four Committees and the Clerks of the Quarterly Meetings. The Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk and Yearly
Meeting Executive Secretary will serve in an ex-officio capacity.
Each Quarter will name one person to the Nominating Com¬mittee. These names shall be presented
annually to Yearly Meeting. (In case of failure to send these names, the Year¬ly Meeting Ministry and Counsel has
the right to name said persons.)
Recording of Ministers
Evidence of Gift
When a member has spoken to the edification and spiri¬tual help of the congregation, and has ren-dered said
service in such a manner and to such an extent as to afford a basis for the formation of a judgment as to the nature
of his/her gifts and call¬ing, the Meeting on Ministry and Coun¬sel shall carefully consider whether there is evidence
of a gift in the ministry that should be officially recognized. While a spoken message may be helpful in its place, and
should be esteemed and encouraged accordingly, not every person who speaks in public should be given official
recognition. It should be borne in mind that such recognition in ministry is not only a seal of approval of one who is
locally helpful but that it also involves extension of service beyond the local community. Recorded ministers not only
have opportunity for service among Friends generally but, because of the increase of interdenominational activ¬ity,
such recognition opens the way for contacts and associations with minis¬ters and members of other relig¬ious
When the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel is satisfied that a member has a gift in the minis¬try and in its
judgment, is of suitable character and aptitude, it shall report its judgment to the Monthly Meeting, which shall in turn
report back to the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Coun¬sel. If this report is favorable, the Monthly Meeting on
Ministry and Counsel shall report its judgment by a minute to the Quarterly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel, which
shall appoint a committee that shall appraise the general fitness of the individual under consideration. This
committee shall visit the member under consideration to ascertain maturity, experience and knowledge of the
Christian faith and desire to continue in the public minis¬try as a Friends' minister as well as willingness to pursue a
course of in¬struction to develop understanding of Christian truth and Friends' princi¬ples. It shall also confer with
persons who know this member and will testify as to his/her qualifications for the ministry. It may, if desirable, meet
with the Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel. If the Committee of the Quarterly Meeting on Ministry and
Coun¬sel reports favorably, the matter shall be brought before the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel by an
extract from the minutes of the Quarterly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel.
Training and Recording
If the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel, after due inquiry, concurs in the action of the subordinate Meeting, it
shall refer the matter to the Committee on Training and Recording of Ministers. This com¬mittee shall have the
person under its care until he/she has completed the educational requirements as set up by the Yearly Meeting.
When the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel has received a report from the Committee on Training and
Recording of Ministers that a member who has been under their care has satisfactorily met the educa¬tional
requirements of the Yearly Meet¬ing they shall consider again the whole question of the fitness of the individ¬ual to
be recognized as a minister. After due consideration, if the way seems clear, the Yearly Meeting on Ministry and
Counsel shall recommend to the Yearly Meeting that the mem¬ber under consideration be recorded as a minister.
When the Yearly Meeting has acted favorably upon the matter, the recording is thereby completed and the Clerk
shall furnish a copy of the minute to the Quarterly Meeting and through it to the Monthly Meeting of which the
individual is a member. Both Meetings shall enter in full this min¬ute on their books of record.
When a proposition to record a member as a minister is disap¬proved, the body taking this action shall so inform the
Monthly Meeting on Ministry and Counsel in which the prop¬osition originated.
In case a member who has been recorded as a minister appears to have lost his/her gift and usefulness in the
ministry, a proposition to re¬scind the action of recording as a minister may originate in the Meeting on Ministry and
Counsel of the Monthly Meeting, or the Quarterly Meeting, or of the Yearly Meeting of which he/she is a member. In
every case, procedure shall follow the usual course through superi¬or bodies, and final action shall rest with the
Yearly Meeting. The indi¬vidual concerned and the Monthly Meet¬ing shall be notified before final act¬ion is taken
and care shall be exer¬cised that all rights involved are fully safeguarded.
The status of a minister is transferable by certificate of member¬ship from one Yearly Meeting to anoth¬er. It is
expected, however, that a minis¬ter planning to engage in the pastoral ministry will endeavor to meet the
educational requirements of the Yearly Meeting to which transfer is made.
Standards of Preparation for Record¬ing
The minimum requirement for one to be recorded a minister in Wilmington Yearly Meeting shall be the equivalent of
a high school education. All persons contemplating service in the ministry shall be encouraged, insofar as
possible, to attend college and seminary. All candidates for Recording will sub¬mit transcripts of college and
seminary work for examination by the Training and Recording Committee. The Yearly Meeting Committee shall
determine areas of deficiency, if any, and shall recom¬mend specific courses for completing training. All student
minis¬ters shall also be urged strongly to attend other helpful assem¬blies, in¬cluding the Ohio Pastor's
Convocation, the Yearly Meet¬ing's Pas¬tor's Short Course, Yearly Meeting sessions, and the sessions of Friends
United Meeting, etc.
Yearly Meeting Boards
Board on Property
The Board on Proper¬ty shall coordinate the property and financial interests of the Yearly Meet¬ing and shall be
composed of members of the Trustees of the Yearly Meeting, the Camp Board, Historical Materials, rep¬resentatives
of Wilmington College, Legal Counsel and the Yearly Meeting Treasurer. The Chairman of the Yearly Meeting
Trustees shall be the Chairman of the Board on Property and shall call the Board together at the request of the
Executive Committee of the Per¬ma¬nent Board or one of the groups with¬in the Board on Property.
Board on Christian Concerns for Peace and Society
The duties of this board shall be to carry forward concerns of Friends for peace, public morals and the improvement
of the social order.
The board shall be composed of 12 members appointed by the Yearly Meet¬ing Nominating Committee, with
terms stag¬gered so that four members are appoint¬ed each year. The terms are to run for three years and one
person may serve for two consecutive full terms. Ex-officio members of the board are those persons appointed to
the American Friends Service Committee, Friends Committee on National Legislation, William Penn House and
Quarterly Meet¬ing Chairmen.
Board on Christian Outreach
This board shall be composed of persons appointed by the Yearly Meeting plus ex-officio members: Yearly Meeting
Treasurer, United Society of Friends Women Presi¬dent, Quaker Men President, FUM repre¬sentatives to Wider
Ministries Commis¬sion and Quarterly Meeting Chairmen.
Its duties shall be to carry for¬ward concerns regarding missions, stew¬ardship, cooperation with Friends
groups and other Christian groups.
Board on Educational Concerns
This board shall be composed of persons appointed by the Yearly Meeting plus ex-officio members: Quarterly
Meeting Chairmen, FUM representatives to the Meeting Ministries Commission plus three Young Friends named by
Young Friends Quarterly Conference.
Its duties shall include planning and supervision of camping activities at Quaker Knoll, directing children and
youth programs throughout the year and at Yearly Meeting sessions, strengthen¬ing relationships with Wilmington
Col¬lege and leadership training programs.
Other Committees and Boards
Other Committees and Boards may be appointed by the Yearly Meeting to carry forward concerns and programs as
desired, such as the Quaker Knoll Camp Board.
Relations with Wilmington College
Trustees--The Board of Trustees gov¬erning Wilmington College shall consist of at least twelve and not more than
twenty-four members, a majority of which shall be members of the Religious Society of Friends. (Charter
The Board of Trustees shall be elected in accordance with the pro¬cedure set forth in the amended Arti¬cles of
Incorporation provided however, that: (a) The Joint Committee shall consist of three members of the Board of
Trustees, and three members of Wilm¬ington Yearly Meeting appointed by the Yearly Meeting. (b) Every member of
the Joint Committee has an equal right to suggest names in nomination to the committee. (c) Should the Yearly
Meet¬ing not accept one or more of nomina¬tions of the Joint Committee, the mat¬ter of the remaining vacancies will
be re¬ferred back to the Joint Committee for further nominations, but if after this referral the Yearly Meeting is in
dis¬agreement with the nominations, or if there is no clear majority recommen¬da¬tion of the Joint Committee, the
Yearly Meeting may make its own selec¬tion.
The Board of Trustees is responsible for the general manage¬ment of the affairs of Wilmington Col-lege, all within
the limitations of the law, and the Articles of Incorpora¬tion. The Board of Trustees shall be atten¬tive to advises
from representa¬tives from the Yearly Meeting, duly appointed for that purpose, giving careful con¬sideration to any
concern proposed with possible deferment of action until an understanding is reached, with the Board of Trustees
however, having re¬sponsibility and authority for final action.
The Board of Trustees shall keep correct and complete records of accounts and minutes of the proceedings of the
Trustees and committees of the Trustees. Such books, records, and minutes may be examined by any member of
the Board of Trustees, by any autho¬rized representative of Wilmington Yearly Meeting, or by the agent or attorney
representing either body, for any reasonable or proper purpose and in any reasonable time.
Term of Office
Beginning with the 1962 election, each newly elected Trustee shall be eligible for a maximum of two successive
terms of six years duration, after which he/she shall become emeri¬tus and eligible for re-election for active
trusteeship only after a lapse of one year.
The President of the College or the Chairman of the Board of Trust¬ees shall make an annual report to the Yearly
Meeting upon the condition of the college including significant events of the year, its physical prop¬erty,
endowments and finances, and the developments of its faculty and academ¬ic achievements, and its goals.
Yearly Meeting Relations
The Yearly Meeting will exercise its supervisory power as provided in the Articles of Incorporation over Wilmington
College through: (1) Appointment of all members of the Board of Trustees. (2) Sharing with the faculty and the
Board of Trus¬tees in the nomination of a President. (3) Sharing with the Board of Trustees in Charter
Amend¬ments, and Amendments to the Regula¬tions. (4) Reports from the President of the College or the
Chairman of the Board of Trustees to the Yearly Meeting at the Yearly Meet¬ing sessions. (5) Consultations with the
President or the Board of Trust¬ees, both formal and informal, which may be carried out by representatives from the
Yearly Meeting duly appointed for the purpose.
Amendments to the Articles of Incorporation will be made by the Yearly Meeting, but only after consul¬tation with the
Board of Trustees.
Amendments to the Regula¬tions may be initiated either by the Board of Trustees or by Wilmington Yearly
Meeting, but before their final adoption by the Yearly Meeting, the Board of Trustees must concur.
Sources of Business
Quarterly Meeting Concerns
Quarterly Meeting concerns may be introduced at Yearly Meeting for consideration and action.
Boards, Committees--Business may be introduced to the Yearly Meeting from the Permanent Board, its Executive
Committee, Yearly Meeting Boards or Committees, or from Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel.
Business may be intro¬duced by Friends United Meeting or from other Yearly Meetings. Business may also be laid
before a Yearly Meeting by any of its members in which case it is referred to the Executive Committee before
discussion by the Yearly Meet¬ing.
Young Friends and Junior Yearly Meeting
Young Friends and Junior Yearly Meetings may be held during Yearly Meeting sessions under the di¬rection of the
Board on Educational Concerns.
The youth and chil¬dren appoint officers and committees from their own number and carry on their business
according to the manner of Friends. They participate in the meetings for worship and conduct dis¬cussions of such
topics as missions, peace and temperance. Classes are pro¬vided for the study of the Bible, and of the history,
teaching, and prac¬tices of Friends. Reports are forwarded to the adult Yearly Meeting and communica¬tions
exchanged with other Young Friends and Junior Yearly Meetings.
Wilm¬ington Yearly Meeting is a member of the Ohio Council of Churches. Appoint¬ments requested by this body
shall be named by the Nominating Committee. Persons named to represent Wilmington Yearly Meeting may report to
appropri¬ate Boards or Committees.
Member Meetings outside of Ohio may affiliate with a comparable inter¬denominational group on approval of
the Yearly Meeting.
New Yearly Meetings
When it is pro¬posed to establish a new Yearly Meeting by setting off a portion of an existing Yearly Meeting, or
portions of two or more Yearly Meetings, or when two or more Yearly Meetings wish to be united, such meeting or
meetings shall consult and seek approval of the Yearly Meet¬ings involved. If approved, the Yearly Meetings
involved shall request Friends United Meeting to establish a new Year¬ly Meeting.
Transfer of Quarterly Meeting
A Yearly Meeting may transfer a Quarterly Meet¬ing, upon request of that body, to the jurisdiction of another Yearly
Meeting. The Yearly Meeting to which transfer is made shall act upon said transfer and notify the Meetings involved
of its action.
Revising Faith and Practice
Proposi¬tion for the amendment or revision of the Book of Faith and Practice, coming to the Yearly Meeting from
constituent Meetings, must be referred to the Per¬manent Board or to a special committee for consideration for one
year before being acted upon.
Bond of Union
The bond of union be¬tween Yearly Meetings is maintained by annual correspondence, by issuing and receiving
credentials of ministers and others for special service, by grant¬ing and receiving certificates of mem¬ber¬ship in
cases of removal, by joint participation in religious and benevo¬lent enterprises, and by common member¬ship in
the Friends United Meeting. Though the constituent Yearly Meetings delegate certain authority to the Friends United
Meeting, they retain their original independence in the transaction of business.
FRIENDS UNITED MEETING
The Five Years Meeting of Friends, while convened in Richmond, Indiana, October 19-25, 1950, authorized an
official statement for its own organization and procedure. In keeping with that action a chapter on Five Years
Meeting of Friends Business Procedure was printed in the FAITH AND PRACTICE which was subsequently issued.
The 1955 session of Five Years Meeting made changes in procedure which were noted in the 1957 edition of FAITH
AND PRACTICE. Further changes came in the wake of the 1960, 1963 and 1966 sessions, which were incorporated
in the 1966 edition of FAITH AND PRACTICE.
An outstanding action of the 1960 session was the approval of triennial sessions and the setting of the next
session in 1963 on a trial basis. The triennial sessions were approved as a regular procedure in the 1963 session.
Recommendations for a new name were considered and action was taken in 1963 as follows: "It was approved
to ask the Executive Council to choose a name and it was empowered to act." (Minute 67, p. 81).
The Executive Committee of the Executive Council in the council sessions of March, 1965 recommended the
name "Friends United Meeting." The Council (Minute 65 E 22-A) took the action: "Friends United Meeting was
approved, and the Executive Committee was directed to follow through on necessary adjustments and legal
procedures...." The final legal steps required were taken in the July, 1966 sessions.
The Triennial Sessions held in July, 1972 authorized rewriting this Chapter in FAITH AND PRACTICE in order to
incorporate the changes in structure and business procedure effected by the reorganization authorized by the
Triennial Sessions in 1969.
Friends United Meeting is composed of members of fifteen constituent Yearly Meetings: Baltimore, California,
Canadian, Cuba, East Africa, Indiana, Iowa, Jamaica, Nebraska, New England, New York, North Carolina,
Southeastern, Western and Wilmington.
Friends United Meeting shall have full jurisdiction over all matters delegated to it by the constituent Yearly Meetings.
It shall have advisory supervision of the interests of the Yearly Meetings and shall publish a complete record of its
proceedings for their information.
The fiscal year of the Friends United Meeting shall be the calendar year with a grace period of ten days.
The time and place for holding the sessions of Friends United Meeting shall be designated by the minute of its own
adjournment or by the General Board.
Each Yearly Meeting is entitled to appoint five representatives and one additional representa¬tive for each one
thousand members or major fraction thereof. Vacancies in the quota of any one Yearly Meeting may be filled by
action of that Yearly Meeting, or by its representatives at the Triennial session. The representatives may participate
in a travel pool.
The Clerks and/or Assistant Clerks of Friends United Meeting shall be the Clerks of the Representative Body.
Major matters and proposals shall be considered by the Representative Body before they are presented for
action in the General Meeting. Routine procedural matters shall be acted upon by the Representative Body and
reported to the General Meeting which reserves the right to approve, disapprove or reconsider.
Each Yearly Meeting shall name one of its Representatives to serve on the Nominating Committee and another to
serve on the New Business Committee. These Committees serve the Representative Body only during the Triennial
Sessions. The Nominating Committee makes recommendations to the Representative Body for Clerks, Trustees and
the Treasurer. It makes other recommendations as directed by the Clerk or by the Representative Body.
New Business Committee
The New Business Committee screens and channels new items of business either to the Representative Body or to
the Clerk, as may be appropriate.
The Presiding, Assistant Presiding, Recording, Assistant Recording, Reading and Announcing Clerks shall be
named early in the sessions and shall take their positions as Clerks at the end of the sessions, continuing through
the triennium and through the following sessions, when their successors will be appointed. In the absence of one or
more Clerks, nominations for temporary appointments shall be made by the Nominating Committee of the
The Clerks shall receive correspondence from the Yearly Meetings, the General Board, affiliated groups or
concerned Friends, which shall then be referred to the appropriate bodies.
The Clerk, or the Representative Body, may refer appropriate matters to the General Board or to the proper
Commission of the Friends United Meeting.
Those presenting new proposals may appeal to the Representative Body if not satisfied with the channels used by
the Clerks or the New Business Committee.
Organization and Functions
General Board Authority
In the interim between Triennial Sessions, the General Board is the responsible body and legal representative of the
Friends United Meeting. It shall have the authority and responsibil¬ity to act for Friends United Meeting between
The General Board shall report to the Representative Body of the Friends United Meeting in triennial session.
Its report shall include its recommendations for the appoint¬ment of the General Secretary, the Associate General
Secretaries and the Editor of QUAKER LIFE. These appointments shall be considered by the Representative Body
before they are presented for action by the Friends United Meeting in triennial session. The General Board is
authorized to fill vacancies in these positions or among the Clerks, if they occur during the interim between sessions.
General Board Composition
The General Board shall consist of members appointed as follows:
Yearly Meeting appointments -29 (may vary)
Presiding and Assistant
Presiding Clerks - 2
Recording Clerk - 1
Chairman of Commissions - 3
U.S.F.W. appointment - 1
Quaker Men appointment - 1
Treasurer - 1
Trustees appointment - 1
Young Friends appointments - 3
The formula for Yearly Meeting appointments to the General Board is:
Membership - 3,000 or less - one appointee
3,001 to 10,000 - two appointees
10,001 and over - three appointees
The General Secretary, Associate General Secretaries, and Editor of QUAKER LIFE are resource members of
the General Board. At the discretion of the General Board, resource members may serve on any committee but the
The FUM Recording Clerk is a member and recording secretary of the General Board.
Yearly Meetings shall make their appointments to the General Board and Commissions during the year
preceding the Friends United Meeting Triennial Sessions, and they shall take office at the first session of the
respective bodies following these Sessions. Appointments to fill vacancies shall take office at the first meeting of
their respective bodies following the appointment by their Yearly Meeting.
The Young Friends members of the General Board are to be appointed by the Chairman of the Meeting
Ministries Commission in consultation with this Commission until such time as a Friends United Meeting Young
Friends organization might come into existence. If such an organization should materialize, then the organization
would appoint the Young Friends representatives.
The United Society of Friends Women and National Quaker Men each shall appoint one person to each
Commission, and from those appointed to the Commissions shall choose one from each organization to serve on the
The Presiding Clerk of the Friends United Meeting shall serve as the Clerk of the General Board. In his
absence the Assistant Presiding Clerk shall preside. When the Presiding Clerk is reporting he shall yield his
presiding role to the Assistant Presiding Clerk.
The General Board shall have four regular internal Committees: Executive Committee, Personnel Committee,
Priorities and Budget Committee, and Nominating Commit¬tee.
Executive Committee of General Board
The Executive Committee of the General Board shall be made up of eight members all of whom are mem¬bers of the
General Board: Presiding Clerk, Assistant Presiding Clerk, General Secretary, Commission Chairmen and two
members-at-large shall represent different Yearly Meetings and shall be appointed for terms of three years by the
General Board at the first meeting following the Triennial Sessions of Friends United Meeting.
This Committee shall assume responsibility for active counsel with and guidance of the General Secretary. It
shall have authority to act for the General Board within limits as prescribed by the General Board and shall make a
full report thereto.
The members of this Committee should be willing and able to meet at least five times a year.
Personnel Committee of the General Board
The Personnel Committee of the General Board shall have the re¬sponsibility for screening and recommending to
the General Board names for those to serve as General Secretary, Associate General Secretaries and Editor of
QUAKER LIFE. It shall work in close consultation with the General Secretary, the Executive Committee and the
Commissions and shall present its recommendations to the General Board. It shall review periodically all personnel
policies applying to the total staff and shall recommend changes to the General Board. The basic salary structure
shall be reviewed by this Committee and salary recommendations shall be sent to the Priorities and Budget
Committee for budget preparation.
This Committee shall be made up of five appointees from the General Board broadly representative of the
interest of Friends United Meeting, and shall serve for three years.
Priorities and The Priorities and Budget Committee
Budget Commit¬tee of the General Board shall be of the General Board composed of: The General Secretary and
Associate General Secretaries, Treasurer of Friends United Meeting and the three Yearly Meeting representa¬tives,
clerks or committee chairmen, to be named by the General Board. From the ongoing and projected needs of the
Commissions it shall prepare the budget for review by the Executive Committee and approval by the General Board.
The five steps in developing the budget are:
1. Prepared by the Priorities and Budget Committee
2. Reviewed by the Executive Committee
3. Approved by the General Board
4. Interpreted by the General Services Commission
5. Implemented by the Commissions and their staffs
Nominating Committee of the General Board
At its first meeting following the Triennial Sessions of Friends United Meeting the General Board shall appoint from
its membership five persons to serve for a three year term as a Nominating Committee.
The Nominating Committee of the General Board shall present names to the General Board for its approval:
two members-at-large to serve on the Executive Committee, the five members of the Personnel Committee, the three
Yearly Meeting executives, clerks or committee chairmen to serve on the Priorities and Budget Committee, and the
chairmen of these committees. It shall also make other nominations for
appointments as directed by the General Board.
Commissions and their Functions
In cooperation with the General and Associate General Secretaries, and under broad policies established by
the General Board, the Commissions shall delineate their areas of service, study and recommend priorities, and
appoint such task groups, project units or ad hoc committees as are found necessary to carry out their
responsibilities, and suggest staff, financial support and arrangements needed therefore. Each Commission shall
name a Chairman, Vice Chairman and such other officers as may be required to carry out their responsibilities.
Meeting Ministries Commission
This Commission focuses its energies on those services which are designed to facilitate Monthly and Yearly
Meetings in their ministries. Concerns relating to curriculum and leadership development, Meeting growth, social and
ethical issues, youth, family life and creative aging are illustrative of the appropriate agenda considerations of the
Meeting Ministries Commission.
Wider Ministries Commission
The concerns of this Commission focus largely on educational and program activities designed to encour¬age
Monthly and Yearly Meetings in two ways: to reach out beyond themselves and to provide programs for channeling
their outreach ministries. Besides administration of outreach ministries some of which are in cooperation with some
of our constituent Yearly Meetings, this Commission seeks to enable the development of new Meetings and new
creative ministries in areas of special human need. Such programs or projects may have quite varied objectives. But
whether their chief accent is on education, proclamation, social concerns, leadership development, health,
agriculture or economics, they have a common under girding assumption. It is that the Christian mission calls
Friends to reach out beyond themselves in ministry to the whole of life wherever a need may be found and wherever
Friends sense through a corporate leading that they may make a contribution.
General Services Commission
This Commission encompasses the business and office administration of the Friends United Meeting. In this sense it
provides a supportive role and back-up role for the ministries of the other two Commissions. General Services
Commission assumes major responsibilities for interpretation and promotion, publishing, Friends United Press,
Bookstore services, curriculum promotion and sales, accounting, office management, and oversight of our national
group pension and health insurance programs. In 1969 the Friends United Meeting inaugurated a new retirement
plan designed to provide more appropriate benefits to the retired than did our earlier plan established in 1945. The
new plan, in contract with Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, is designed for pastors and other
employees of Monthly and Yearly Meetings and others employed by any Quaker organization or agency. Minimum
eligibility requirements include an annual minimum salary and specify that the participant be under age 70. The Plan
is managed by the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company and is under the supervision of a five-member
Pension Committee which reports to the Business Manage¬ment sub-committee of the General Services
The Pension Committee consists of five members appointed by the General Board of Friends United Meeting.
Inquiries may be directed to the Pension Committee at the Friends Central Offices in Richmond, Indiana.
National Friends Insurance Trust - in order to provide for sharing medical treatment expenses at a moderate
cost the Friends United Meeting offers a group plan open to all employees of Monthly and Yearly Meetings and
others employed by Quaker organizations and agencies. This Health, Hospitalization and Major Medical coverage
includes life insurance on the employee, plus accidental death benefit. Single and family memberships are available.
Responsibility for this insurance program is lodged with the Business Management sub-committee of the General
Composition of Commissions
Yearly Meeting appointments -
Membership - 3,000 or less
- one to General Services Commission
- one to Meeting Ministries Commission - one to Wider Ministries Commission
3,001 to 10,000
- one to General Services Commission
- three to Meeting Ministries Commission three to Wider Ministries Commission
10,001 or over
- one to General Services Commission
- four to Meeting Ministries Commission - four to Wider Ministries Commission
The United Society of Friends Women shall appoint one person to each of the three Commissions.
Quaker Men shall also appoint one person to each of the three Commissions. Young Friends shall have one
representative on each of the three Commissions to be appointed by the Meeting Ministries Commission until such
time as a Friends United Meeting Young Friends organization shall materialize. (see section on General Board
For information concerning terms and time of Yearly Meeting appointments to Commissions see same section.
In making appointments to Commissions it is suggested that Yearly Meetings give careful consideration to
those named so that the areas of function of the Yearly Meeting are fairly represented in their Commission
appointments. Yearly Meeting appointments shall be for a term of three years and should coincide with the Triennial
year of Friends United Meeting. It is suggested that terms of Yearly Meeting appointees be limited to two consecutive
At present, time, distance and travel costs preclude regular participation by East Africa Yearly Meeting in full
quota representation. By utilizing EAYM members in the United States it is hoped that EAYM might fill its full quota
(3) on the General Board as frequently as possible and that at least one representative might serve on each
Yearly Meetings shall first appoint members to serve on the Commissions and shall then choose from among
Commission appointees those to serve on the General Board.
Members of the General Board who are not serving on Commissions as well as other Friends are invited to
meet with the Commission of their preference as guests and observers.
The appointment of the General Secretary, Associate General Secre¬taries and the Editor of QUAKER LIFE shall be
made by the Friends United Meeting in its Triennial Sessions. They shall administer the work of the Friends United
a. GENERAL SECRETARY: The person in this office serves as the Executive of the Friends United Meeting. He shall
be responsible to the General Board. The General Secretary, in addition to his executive functions, has field
responsibilities with freedom to travel among Friends, visiting Yearly Meetings, attending conferences and giving
inspiration and encouragement to Friends wherever a way opens. He is a resource member of all Boards and
Commissions and Committees of Friends United Meeting.
b. ASSOCIATE GENERAL SECRETARIES: The Asso¬ciate General Secretaries shall assist the General Secretary
and may be assigned by the General Secretary to meet with the Commissions and to carry out specific duties in the
area of a particular Commission's responsibility.
c. EDITOR of QUAKER LIFE: The Editor of QUAKER LIFE shall be responsible for producing QUAKER LIFE, the
preparation and distribution of regular news releases to the Yearly Meetings, and such other duties as may be
designated by the General Board and the General Secretary.
d. ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS: The General Secretary shall be responsible for the appointment and assignment
of administrative assistants.
Property and Financial Interests
The Board of Trustees shall hold and administer such property as Friends United Meeting shall place in its custody
and shall have the management of annuity, trust and endowment funds given for the use of the Friends United
Meeting or one of its Commissions, Committees or programs.
The Board shall consist of seven members chosen for periods of six years, three to be selected at one triennial
session and four at the next. They shall be appointed by Friends United Meeting upon the recommendation of the
Nominating Committee of the Representative Body. In keeping with Quaker ideals of service and the distribution of
responsibility, the service of Trustees should not extend beyond the limit of twelve consecutive years, not counting
the filling of unexpired terms.
The Friends Extension Corporation
Friends Extension Corporation serves to offer financial assistance through loans and small grants to new fellowship
groups preparing to establish a Friends Meeting and to existing Friends Meetings planning to extend their physical
facilities. Consideration is also given for financial assistance to Friends retirement homes, camps, conference
grounds and educational buildings. The Corpora¬tion solicits funds and property from individuals, Meetings and
Trustee groups who wish to invest in this program of extending the witness and work of Friends.
The membership of the Friends Extension Corporation Board of Directors shall consist of the Chairman of the
Wider Ministries Commission, the Chairman of the Meeting Ministries Commission, two Associate General
Secretaries to be named by the General Secretary, Friends United Meeting Treasurer, one member designated by
FUM Trustees and three members at large to be appointed by the General Board.
The Executive Committee shall conduct interim business delegated to it by its Board. The Committee consists
of the four officers and one other Director appointed by the chairman.
The Treasurer shall be appointed by Friends United Meeting upon the recommendation of the Nominating
Committee of the Representative Body.
United Services Budget
The United Services Budget is a financial system by which the work of the Commissions is sup-ported. It is raised by
the Yearly Meetings on a voluntary basis.
The permanent expenses for the administration of Friends United Meeting and the operation of the Central Offices
are provided through per capital giving by the Yearly Meetings to the Assessment Budget.
Expenses for travel of the designated number of representatives to and from the sessions of Friends United Meeting
shall be paid by the Yearly Meetings (see section on Representatives). To equalize these expenses, a pool shall be
arranged whereby each Yearly Meeting shall pay the expenses of its quota of representa¬tives according to the
average expenses of all the representatives in attendance. Details in connection with the pool shall be determined
by the General Board.
When the Travel Pool is inadequate to cover the expense of the representatives to the Triennial Sessions, the
Yearly Meetings shall make such financial arrangements as may be necessary to ensure their proper representation
at the Sessions.
Membership of Yearly Meetings
Upon the approval of the Meetings involved, Friends United Meeting may establish a new Yearly Meeting by setting
off a portion of an existing Yearly Meeting, or portions of two or more Yearly Meetings, or upon the request of a
group of new Meetings.
Applications for membership in Friends United Meeting received from Yearly Meetings already established will
be considered on an individual basis.
Yearly Meetings on Mission Field
The Wider Ministries Commission shall inform Friends United Meeting when the organization of a Yearly Meeting is
proposed on any of its mission fields. Friends United Meeting shall carefully consider the proposition and, if it deem
it advisable, shall establish the new Yearly Meeting. Such Yearly Meetings shall be constituent members of Friends
United Meeting but shall not necessarily be expected to assume the financial and representative responsibilities
required of other Yearly Meetings.
Relationship to Interdenominational Agencies
All Commissions shall seek and I maintain cooperation with such church affiliated agencies as may best serve to
increase the range and effectiveness of their work.
There are several groups that are closely associated with the Friends United Meeting, some of which are
represented on our Boards or Commissions. (Others share in the concerns and activities while not officially identified
with the Friends United Meeting). They are classified as Affiliated, Cooperative or Ecumenical Relationships.
a. Affiliated organizations include the United Society of Friends Women and the National Quaker Men. They
ap¬point representatives to the three Commissions and the General Board. They share in the discussion of
business matters and in the decisions made.
b. Cooperative organizations are those that are made up largely of Friends and whose interests and concerns
paral¬lel or supplement the work of the Friends United Meeting. They are welcome to attend Commissions and
General Board sessions as observers at their own expense. An ob¬server has the privilege to speak but may not
enter into the decision making.
c. Ecumenical organizations are those that promote Chris¬tian fellowship and service through national or
interna¬tional structures. These so identified are the National Council of Churches and the World Council of
Churches, as well as the State and local Councils of Churches. They may attend the General Board and
Commission sessions by request as observers at their own expense. The General Board may make appointments to
these organizations in response to requests from them.
United Society of Friends Women
The United Society of Friends Women has as its principal objective the unification and correlation of the activities
and concerns of all women in their Meetings in one inclusive organization with a view to an enlarged program of
study and giving. As a part of this approach to their task the name of the organization was changed in 1948 from the
Women's Missionary Union to its present name. The United Society includes the women's societies in the following
Yearly Meetings: Baltimore, California, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, New England, New York, North Carolina,- .
Western, Wilmington, Jamaica and East Africa Yearly Meeting.
National Quaker Men
The Quaker Men movement among Friends started essentially as a local Meeting enterprise, later becoming a
Yearly Meeting and Friends United Meeting movement. It seeks to enlist the manpower of its membership for
effective service through the local Meeting. With a background of development in several Yearly Meetings, the
Quaker Men organization of Friends United Meeting was formed during the sessions of 1950. This organization
promotes and supports special projects for which the local Meetings, Yearly Meetings and Friends United Meeting
American Friends Service Committee
The American Friends Service Committee is a channel for service in a wide range of humanitarian activities at home
and abroad through which many Friends in Friends United Meeting may express their convictions in relief and
service. Its membership includes representatives of many of the constituent Yearly Meetings of Friends United
Friends Committee on National Legislation
The Friends Committee on National Legislation, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., seeks to relate Friends
principles to current nation¬al policy. Through meetings and literature, the F.C.N.L. informs Friends on matters
pertinent to Friends beliefs and provides a channel for action. It seeks to work with legislators and administrative
officers for those laws which will help to make a peaceful world. The Executive Board of the F.C.N.L. is made up of
Friends many representing constituent Yearly Meetings of the Friends United Meeting.
Friends World Consultation for Consultation
The Friends World Committee for Committee has headquarters in London, England and offices in the United States
at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Plainfield, Indiana. Other offices are located in Edinburgh, Scotland and Nairobi,
Kenya. The Friends World Committee seeks to nurture the spiritual life and growth of the world-wide community of
Friends through literature, conferences, inter-visitation and outreach. It is composed of representa¬tives from Yearly
Meetings around the world. Its purpose is to strengthen in Friends the sense of unity and inter¬dependence and to
enable Friends to take their place in the development of a world Christian community.
National Council of Churches
The National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America is an organization whose object is to
manifest the essential oneness of the Christian Churches of America in Jesus Christ as their Divine Lord and Savior
and to promote the spirit of fellowship, service, and cooperation among them. Friends United Meeting is a
constituent member represented in the organization. The General Board may make appointments to the National
Council of Churches as requested by this body.
World Council of Churches
The World Council of Churches is an organization of like purpose to the above, but world-wide in scope. It is
basically, "A fellowship of Churches which accept our Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior." Friends were
represented at the Advisory Conference in 1938, which drafted the Constitution of the proposed Council, and in
1940 the Five Years Meeting approved the proposal of membership in the World Council of Churches in this
statement: "The Five Years Meeting of Friends in America wholeheartedly accepts the invitation to join the World
Council of Churches. Our central interest is to affirm our absolute loyalty to Jesus Christ as Head of the Church and
to express the spirit of love, the power of truth, and the promotion of vital religion of life." The General Board may
make appointments to the World Council of Churches as requested by that ecumenical body.
Amending, Revising Discipline
Propositions for amendment or revision of these procedures may originate with a Yearly Meeting, or with Friends
United Meeting, or its General Board. These provisions may be considered as administrative procedure of Friends
United Meeting and may be amended or revised by that body at its triennial session.
AUTHORIZED DECLARATION OF FAITH
"We recognize with profound sorrow that there is in the world today a great drift of religious unsettlement,
unconcern and unbelief. We desire at this time to call our own membership to a deeper religious life, a greater
consecration of heart and will to God and a more positive loyalty to the faith for which so many of our forerunners
suffered and died. We wish to reaffirm the statements and declarations of faith contained in our Uniform Discipline,
viz., `The Essential Truths', `The Declaration of Faith' issued by the Richmond conference in 1887 and `George
Fox's Letter to the Governor of Barbados' and we urge up¬on all our membership to refresh their minds by a careful
reading of these documents which gather up and express the central truths for which we stand, now as in the past.
But we would further remind our membership that our Christian faith involves more than the adoption and profession
of writ¬ten statements however precious they may be. It stands and lives only in free personal loyalty and devotion
to a living Christ and in an inward experience of His spiritual presence and power in the soul, making the facts of our
religion as real and as capable of being soundly tested as are the facts of the physical universe. May Friends
everywhere bear in their bodies the marks of the Lord Jesus.
"Hardly less important for the promotion of our spiritual influence and power in the world is an increase of faith,
trust and confidence in one another, a love that suffers long and is kind and a unity of spirit which will bind us more
closely together than uniformity of thought could ever do. ..."
The vital principle of the Christian faith is the truth that man's salvation and higher life are personal matters
between the individual soul and God.
Salvation is deliverance from sin and the possession of spiritual life. This comes through a personal faith in
Jesus Christ as the Savior, who, through his love and sacrifice draws us to Him.
Conviction for sin is awakened by the operation of the Holy Spirit causing the soul to feel its need of
reconciliation with God. When Christ is seen as the only hope of salvation, and a man yields to Him, he is brought
into newness of life, and realizes that his son ship to God has become an actual reality. This transformation is
wrought without the necessary agency of any human priest, or ordinance, or ceremony whatsoever. A changed
nature and life bear witness to this new relation to Him.
The whole spiritual life grows out of the soul's relation to God and its cooperation with Him, not from any
outward or traditional observances.
Christ Himself baptizes the surrendered soul with the Holy Spirit, enduing it with power, bestowing gifts for
service. This is an efficient baptism, a direct incoming of divine power for the transformation and control of the whole
man. Christ Himself is the Spiritual bread which nourishes the soul, and He thus enters into and becomes a part of
the being of those who partake of Him. This participation with Christ and apprehension of Him become the goal of life
for the Christian. Those who thus enter into oneness with Him become also joined in living union with each other as
members of one body.
Both worship and Christian fellowship spring out of this immediate relation of believing souls with their Lord.
The Holy Scriptures were given by inspiration of God and are the divinely authorized record of the doctrines
which Christians are bound to accept, and of the moral principles which are to regulate their lives and actions. In
them, as interpreted and unfolded by the Holy Spirit, is an ever fresh and unfailing source of spiritual truth for the
proper guidance of life and practice.
The doctrines of the apostolic days are held by the Friends as essentials of Christianity. The Fatherhood of
God, the Deity and humanity of the Son; the gift of the Holy Spirit; the atonement through Jesus Christ by which men
are reconciled to God; the Resurrection; the High priesthood of Christ, and the individual priesthood of believers,
are most precious truths, to be held, not as traditional dogmas, but as vital, life-giving realities.
The sinful condition of man and his proneness to yield to temptation, the world's absolute need of a Savior, and
the cleansing from sin in forgiveness and sanctification through the blood of Jesus Christ, are unceasing incentives
to all who believe to become laborers together with God in extending His kingdom. By this high calling the Friends
are pledged to the proclamation of the truth wherever the Spirit leads, both in home and in foreign fields.
The indwelling Spirit guides and controls the surrendered life, and the Christian's constant and supreme
business is obedience to Him. But while the importance of individual guidance and obedience is thus emphasized,
this fact gives no ground for license; the sanctified conclusions of the Church are above the judgment of a single
The Friends find no scriptural evidence or authority for any form or degree of sacerdotalism in the Christian
Church, or for the establishment of any ordinance or ceremonial rite for perpetual observance. The teachings of
Jesus Christ concerning the spiritual nature of religion, the impossibility of promoting the spiritual life by the
ceremonial application of material things, the fact that faith in Jesus Christ Himself is all-sufficient, the purpose of His
life, death, resurrection and ascension, and His presence in the believer's heart, virtually destroy every ceremonial
system and point the soul to the only satisfying source of spiritual life and power.
With faith in the wisdom of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and believing that it is his
purpose to make His Church on earth a power for righteousness and truth, the Friends labor for the alleviation of
human suffering; for the intellectual, moral and spiritual elevation of mankind; and for purified and exalted
citizenship. The Friends believe war to be incompatible with Christianity, and seek to promote peaceful methods for
the settlement of all the differences between nations and between men.
It is an essential part of the faith that a man should be in truth what he professes in word, and the underlying
principle of life and action for individuals, and also for society, is transformation through the power of God and
implicit obedience to His revealed will.
For more explicit and extended statements of belief, reference is made to those officially put forth at various
times, especially to the letter of George Fox to the Governor of Barbados in 1671, and to the Declaration of Faith
issues by the Richmond Conference in 1887.
Extract from George Fox's Letter to the
Governor of Barbados, 1671
We do own and believe in God, the only wise, omnipotent, and everlasting God, the Creator of all things both in
heaven and in earth, and the Preserver of all that He hath made; who is God over all, blessed forever; to whom be
all honor and glory, dominion, praise and thanksgiving, both now and forevermore.
And we own and believe in Jesus Christ, His beloved and only-begotten Son, in whom He is well pleased; who
was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary; in whom we have redemption through His blood, even
the forgiveness of sins; who is the express image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature, by whom were
all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or
dominions, principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him. And we do own and believe that He was made a
sacrifice for sin, who knew no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth; that He was crucified for us in the flesh,
without the gates of Jerusalem; and that He was buried, and rose again the third day by the power of His Father, for
our justification; and that He ascended up into heaven, and now sitteth at the right hand of God. This Jesus, who
was the foundation of the holy prophets and apostles, is our foundation; and we believe that there is no other
foundation to be laid than that which is laid, even Christ Jesus; who tasted death for every man, shed His blood for
all men and is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world according
as John the Baptist testified of Him, when he said, "behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!"
(John 1:29). We believe that He alone is our Redeemer and Savior, even the captain of our salvation, who saves us
from sin, as well as from hell and the wrath to come, and destroys the devil and his works; he is the Seed of the
woman that bruises the serpent's head, to wit, Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. He is (as
the Scriptures of truth say of Him) our wisdom and righteousness, justification, and redemption; neither is there
salvation in any other for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we may be saved. It is
He alone who is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls: He is our Prophet, whom Moses long since testified of,
saying, "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of the brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all
things whatsoever he shall say unto you; and it shall come to pass, that every soul that will not hear that prophet
shall be destroyed from among the people." (Acts 3:22, 23).
He it is that is now come, "and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true." He rules in
our hearts by His law of love and of life, and makes us free from the law of sin and death. We have no life. but of
Him; for He is the quickening Spirit, the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, by whose blood we are cleansed, and
our consciences sprinkled from dead works, to serve the living God. He is our Mediator, that makes peace and
reconciliation between God offended and us offending: He being the Oath of God, the new covenant of light, life,
grace and peace; the author and finisher of our faith. This Lord Jesus Christ, the heavenly man, the Emmanuel, God
with us, we all own and believe in; He whom the high-priest raged against the said, He had spoken blasphemy; whom
the priests and elders of the Jews took counsel together against and put to death; the same whom Judas betrayed
for thirty pieces of silver, which the priests gave him as a reward for his treason; who also gave large money to the
soldiers to broach a horrible lie, namely, "That his disciples came and stole him away by night whilst they slept." After
He was arisen from the dead, the history of the acts of the apostles sets forth how the chief priests and elders
persecuted the disciples of this Jesus, for preaching Christ and His resurrection. This, we say, is that Lord Jesus
Christ, whom we own. to-be our life and salvation.
Concerning the Holy Scriptures, we do believe that they were given forth by the Holy Spirit of God, through the
holy men of God, who, as the Scripture itself declares, (II Peter 1:21) spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
We believe they are to be read, believed, and fulfilled: (He that fulfills them is Christ), and they are "profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteous-ness, that the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (II Tim. 3:15); and are able to make wise unto salvation," through faith in
Declaration of Faith Issued by the
Richmond Conference in 1887
(N.B. It should be understood that the quotations from Scripture are made from the Authorized Version unless stated
to be from the Revised Version.)
It is under a deep sense of what we owe to Him who has loved us that we feel called upon to offer a declaration
of those fundamental doctrines of Christian truth that have always been professed by our branch of the Church of
We believe in one holy, (Isa. 6:3, 57:15) almighty, (Gen. 17:1) all-wise, (Rom. 11:33, 16:27) and everlasting
(Ps. 90:1, 2) God, the Father, (Matt. 11:25-27) the Creator (Gen. 1:1) and Preserver (Job 7:20) of all things; and in
Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, by whom all things were made, (John 1:3) and by whom all things consist; (Col.
1:17) and in one Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, (John 15:26, 16:7) the Reprover (John 16:8)
of the world, the Witness for Christ, (John 15:26) and the Teacher, (John 14:26) Guide, (John 16:13) and Sanctifier
(II Thes. 2:1.3) of the people of God; and that these three are one in the eternal Godhead; (Matt. 28:19, John 10:
30, 17:21) to whom be honor, praise and thanksgiving, now and forever. Amen.
The Lord Jesus Christ
It, is with reverence and thanksgiving that we profess our unwavering allegiance to our Lord and Savior, Jesus
Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath
declared Him (John 1:18). In Him was life, (John 1:4) and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4). He is the true Light
which lighteth every man that cometh into the world; (John 1:9) through whom the light of truth in all ages has
proceeded from the Father of lights. (James 1:17). He is the eternal Word (John 1:1) who was with God and was
God, revealing Himself in infinite wisdom and love, both as man's Creator (Col. 1:13-16) and Redeemer; (Col. 1:14)
for by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible. Conceived of the
Holy Ghost (Matt. 1:20) born of the virgin Mary, (Matt. 1:23-25, Luke 1:35) the word was made flesh, (John 1:14) and
dwelt amongst men. He came in the fullness (Gal. 4:4) of the appointed time, being verily foreordained before the
foundation of the world (I Peter 1:20) that He might fulfill (Isa. 11:1-5, 52:13-15) the eternal counsel of the
righteousness and love of God for the redemption of man. (Isa. 53). In Him dwelleth all the full-ness of the Godhead
bodily. (Col. 2:9). Though He was rich, yet for our sakes, He became poor, veiling in the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7)
the brightness of His glory, that, through Him the kindness and love of God (Titus 3:4) toward man might appear in a
manner every way suited to our wants and finite capacities. He went about doing good; (Acts 10:38) for us He
endured (Isa. 53:4, Luke 12:50, Luke 19:41, Luke 22:44) sorrow, hunger, thirst, weariness, (John 4:6) pain,
unutterable anguish (Luke 22:43, 44) of body and of soul, being in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
(Heb. 4:15). Thus humbling himself that we might be exalted, He emphatically recognized the duties and the
sufferings of humanity as among the means whereby, through the obedience of faith, we are to be disciplined for
heaven, sanctifying them to us, by Himself performing and enduring them, leaving us the one perfect example (I
Peter 2:21) of all righteousness (Matt. 3:15) in self sacrificing love.
But not only in these blessed relations must the Lord Jesus be ever precious to His people. In Him is revealed
as true God and perfect man, (Eph. 4:13) a Redeemer, at once able to suffer and almighty to save. He became
obedient (Phil. 2:8) unto death, even the death of the cross, and is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours
only, but also for the sins of the whole worth; (I John 2:2) in whom we have redemption through His blood, (Eph. 1:7)
the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace. It is our joy to confess that the remission of sins which
any partake of is only in and by virtue of His most satisfactory sacrifice and no otherwise. (Barclay's Apology,
Propos. 5 and 6 par. 15, p. 141). He was buried and rose again the third day (I Cor. 15:4) according to Scriptures,
becoming the first fruits (I Cor. 15:23) of them that sleep, and having shown Himself alive after His passion, by many
infallible proofs. (Acts 1:3). He ascended into heaven, and hath sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
now to appear in the presence of God for us. (Heb. 1:3, 9:24). With the apostles who beheld His ascension, we rest
in the assurance of the angelic messengers, "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven shall so
come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven," (Acts 1:11, and see v. 7). With the apostle John, we
would desire to unite in the words "Amen; even so, come, Lord Jesus." (Rev. 22:20). And now, whilst thus watching
and waiting, we rejoice to believe that He is our King and Savior. He is the one Mediator of the new and everlasting
covenant, (I Tim. 2:5, Hb. 9:15) who makes peace and reconciliation between God offended and man offending;
(George Fox's Epistle to the Governor of Barbados) the great High Priest whose priesthood is unchangeable. (Heb.
4:14, 7:24). He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him seeing He ever liveth to make
intercession for them. (Heb. 7:25). All power is given unto Him in heaven and in earth. (Matt. 28:18). By Him the
world shall be judged in righteousness; (Acts 17:31) for the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment
unto the Son, that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. (John 5:22, 23). All that are in the
graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they
that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:28, 29 R.V.).
We reverently confess and believe that divine honor and worship are due to the Son of God, and that He is in
true faith to be prayed unto and His name to be called upon, as the Primitive Christians did because of the glorious
oneness of the Father and the Son; and that we cannot acceptably offer prayers and praises to God, nor receive
from Him a gracious answer or blessing, but in and through his dear Son. (Declaration of 1693, in Sewel's History,
vol. II, 379).
We would, with humble thanksgiving, bear an especial testimony to our Lord's perpetual dominion and power in
His church. Through Him the redeemed in all generations have derived their light, their forgiveness, and their joy. All
are members of this church, by whatsoever name they may be called among men, who have been baptized by the
one Spirit into the one body; who are builded as living stones upon Christ, the Eternal Foundation, and are united in
faith and love in that fellowship which is with the Father and with the Son. Of this church the Lord Jesus Christ is the
alone Head. (Eph. 1:22). All its true members are made one in Him. They have washed their robes and made them
white in His precious blood. (Rev. 7:14) and He has made them priests unto God and His Father. (Rev. 1:6). He
dwells in their hearts by faith, and gives them of His peace. His will is their law, and in Him they enjoy the true liberty,
a freedom from the bondage of sin.
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is, in the unity of the eternal Godhead, one with the Father and with the Son
(Matt. 28:19, II Cor. 13:14). He is the comforter "Whom" saith Christ, "the Father will send in my name." (John 14:26).
He convinces the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. (John 16:8). He testifies of the glorifies Jesus.
(John 16:14). It is the Holy Spirit who makes the evil manifest. He quickens them that are dead in trespasses and
sins, and opens the inward eye to behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world (Eph. 2:1). Coming
in the name and with the authority of the risen and ascended Savior. He is the precious pledge of the continued love
and care of our exalted King. He takes of the things of Christ and shows them, as a realized possession, to the
believing soul. (John 16:14). Dwelling in the hearts of believers, (John 14:17). He opens their understandings that
they may understand the Scriptures, and becomes, to the humbled and surrendered heart, the Guide, Comforter,
Support, and Sanctifier.
We believe that the essential qualification for the Lord's service is bestowed upon His children through the reception
and baptism of the Holy Ghost. This Holy Spirit is the seal of reconciliation to the believer in Jesus, (Eph. 1:13, 14)
the witness to his adoption into the family of the redeemed; (Rom. 8:15, 16) the earnest and the foretaste of the full
communion and perfect joy which are reserved for them that endure unto the end.
We own no •principle of spiritual light, life or holiness, inherent by nature in the mind or heart of man. We believe in
no principle of spiritual light, life or holiness, but the influence of the Holy Spirit of God, bestrowed on mankind, in
various measures and degrees, through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is the capacity to receive this blessed influence,
which in an especial manner, gives man pre-eminence above the beasts that perish; which distinguishes him, in
every nation and in every clime, as an object of the redeeming love of God, as a being not only intelligent but
responsible; for whom the message of salvation through our crucified Redeemer is, under all possible
circumstances, designed to be a joyful sound. The Holy Spirit must ever be distinguished, both from the conscience
which He enlight¬ens, and from the natural faculty of reason, which when unsubjected to His Holy influence, is in the
things of God, very foolishness. As the eye is to the body so is the conscience to our inner being, the organ by
which we see; and, as both light and life are essential to the eye, so conscience, as the inward eye, cannot see
aright. without the quickening and illumination of the Spirit of God. One with the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit
can never disown or dishonor our once crucified and now risen and glorious Redeemer. We disavow all professed
illumination or spirituality that is divorced from faith in Jesus Christ of Nazareth, crucified for us without the gates of
The Holy Scriptures
It has ever been, and still is, the belief of the Society of Friends that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New
Testament were given by inspiration of God; that, therefore, there can be no appeal from them to any other
authority whatsoever; that they are able to make wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Jesus Christ. "These
are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life
through His name." (John 20:31). The Scriptures are the only divinely authorized record of the doctrines which we
are bound, as Christians, to accept, and of the moral principles which are to regulate our actions. No one can be
required to believe, as an article of faith, any doctrine which is not contained in them; and whatsoever any one says
or does, contrary to the Scriptures though under profession of the immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit must be
reckoned and accounted a mere delusion. To the Christian, the Old Testament comes with the solemn and repeated
attestation of his Lord. It is to be read in the light and completeness of the New; thus will its meaning be unveiled,
and the humble disciple will be taught to discern the unity and mutual adaptation of the whole, and the many-
sidedness and harmony of its testimony to Christ. The great Inspirer of Scripture is ever its true Interpreter. He
performs this office in condescending love, not by superseding our understandings, but by renewing and
enlightening them. Where Christ presides, idle speculation is hushed; His doctrine is learned in the doing of His will,
and all knowledge ripens into a deeper and richer experience of His truth and love.
Man's Creation and Fall
It pleased God, in His wisdom and goodness, to create m in out of the dust of the earth, and to breathe into his
nostrils the breath of life, so that man became a living soul; formed after the image and likeness of God, capable of
fulfilling the divine law, and of holding communion with his Maker. (Gen. 2:7, 1:26, 27). Being free to obey, or to
disobey, he fell into transgression, through unbelief, under the temptation of Satan, (Gen. 3:1-7) and, thereby, lost
that spiritual life of righteousness, in which he was created; and, so, death passed upon him, as the inevitable
consequence of his sin. (Rom. 5:12). As the children of fallen Adam, all mankind bear his image. They partake of his
nature, and are involved in the consequences of his fall. To every member of every successive generation, the
words of the Redeemer are alike applicable, "Ye must be born again." (John 3:7). But while we hold these views of
the lost condition of man in the fall, we rejoice to believe that sin is not imputed to any, until they transgress the
divine law, after sufficient capacity has been given to understand it; and that infants, though inheriting this fallen
nature, are saved in the infinite mercy of God through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
Justification and Sanctification
"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). We believe that justification is of God's free grace, through which, upon
repentance and faith, He pardons our sins, and imparts to us a new life. It is received, not for any works of
righteousness that we have done, (Titus 3:5) but in the unmerited mercy of God in Christ Jesus. Through faith in
Him, and the shedding of His precious blood, the guilt of sin is taken away, and we stand reconciled to God. The
offering up of Christ as the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, is the appointed manifestation both of the
righteousness and of the love of God. In this propitiation the pardon of sin involves no abrogation or relaxation of
the law of holiness. It is the vindication and establishment of that law, (Rom. 3:31) in virtue of the free and righteous
submission of the Son of God himself to all its requirements. He, the unchangeably just, proclaims Himself the
justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. (Rom. 3:26). From age to age, sufferings and death of Christ have been a
hidden mystery, and a rock of offense to the unbelief and pride of man's fallen nature; yet, to the humble penitent
whose heart is broken under the convicting power of the Spirit, life is revealed in that death. As he looks upon Him
who was wounded for our transgressions, (Isa. 53:5) and upon whom the Lord was pleased to lay the iniquity of us
all, (Isa. 53:6) his eye is more and more opened to see, and his heart to understand, the exceeding sinfulness of sin
for which the Savior died; whilst, in the sense of pardoning grace, he will joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom we have now received the atonement. (Rom. 5:11).
We believe that in connection with Justification is Regeneration: that they who come to this experience know
that they are not their own, (I Cor. 6:19) that being reconciled to God by the death of His Son, we are saved by His
life;..(Rom. 5:10) a new heart is given and new desires; old things are passed away, and we become new creatures,
(II Cor. 5:17) through faith in Christ Jesus; our wills being surrendered to His holy will, grace reigns through
righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. 5:21)
Sanctification is experienced in the acceptance of Christ in living faith for justification, in so far as the pardoned
sinner, through faith in Christ, is clothed with a measure of His righteousness and receives the Spirit of promise; for,
as saith the Apostle, "Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the
Spirit of our God." (I Cor. 6:11). We rejoice to believe that the provisions of God's grace are sufficient to deliver from
the power, as well as from the guilt, of sin, and to enable His believing children always to triumph in Christ. (II Cor. 2:
14). How full of encouragement is the declaration, "According to your faith be it unto you." (Matt. 9:29). Whosoever
submits himself wholly to God, believing and appropriating His promises, and exercising faith in Jesus Christ, will
have his heart continually cleansed from all sin, by His precious blood, and, through the renewing, refining power of
the Holy Spirit, be kept in conformity to the will of God, will love Him with all his heart, mind, soul and strength, and be
able to say, with the Apostle Paul, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin
and death." (Rom. 8:2). Thus, in its full experience, Sanctification is deliverance from the pollution, nature, and love
of sin. To this we are every one called, that we may serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness
before Him, all the days of our life. (Luke 1:74, 75). It was the prayer of the apostle for the believers, "The very God
of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you who also will do it" (I Thes. 5:23, 24). Yet the most
holy Christian is still liable to temptation, is exposed to the subtle assaults of Satan, and can only continue to follow
holiness as he humbly watches unto prayer, and as kept in constant dependence upon his Savior, walking in the
light, (I Jn. 1:7) in the loving obedience of faith.
The Resurrection and Final Judgment
We believe, according to the Scriptures, that there shall be a resurrection from the dead, both of the just and of
the unjust, (Acts 24:15) and that God hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, by
Jesus Christ whom He hath ordained. (Acts 17:31) For, as saith the apostle, "We must all appear before the
judgment seat of Christ, that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done,
whether it be good or bad. (II Cor. 5:10).
We sincerely believe, not only a resurrection in Christ from the fallen and sinful state here, but a rising and
ascending into glory with Him hereafter; that when He at last appears we may appear with Him in glory. But that all
the wicked, who live in rebellion against the light of grace, and die finally impenitent, shall come forth to the
resurrection of condemnation. And that the soul of every man and woman shall be reserved, in its own distinct and
proper being, and shall have its proper body as God is pleased to give it. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a
spiritual body; (I Cor. 15:44) that being first which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual. And though it is
said, "this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality," (I Cor. 15:53) the change
shall be such as will accord with the declaration, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, neither doth
corruption inherit incorruption." (I Cor. 15:50). We shall be raised out of all corruption and corruptibility, out of all
mortality, and shall be the children of God, being the children of resurrection. (Luke 20:36) (See also Declaration of
1693, Sewel's History, vol. 11, 383-384.).
"Our citizenship is in heaven" (R.V.), from whence also we look for the Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall
change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is
able even to subdue all things unto Himself. (Phil. 3:20, 21).
We believe that the punishment of the wicked and the blessedness of the righteous shall be everlasting;
according to the declaration of our compassionate Redeemer, to whom the judgment is committed, "These shall go
away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (R.V., Matt. 25:46).
We would express our continued conviction that our Lord appointed no outward rite or ceremony for
observance in His church. We accept every command of our Lord in what we believe to be its genuine import, as
absolutely conclusive. The question of the use of outward ordinances is with us a question, not as to the authority of
Christ, but as to His real meaning. We reverently believe that, as there is one Lord and one faith, so there is, under
the Christian dispensation, but one baptism, (Eph. 4:4, 5) even that whereby all believers are baptized in the one
Spirit into the one body. (I Cor. 12:13, R. V .) . This is not an outward baptism with water, but a spiritual experience;
not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, (I Pet. 3:21) but that inward work which, by transforming the heart and
settling the soul upon Christ, brings forth the answer of a good conscience towards God, by the resurrection of
Jesus Christ, in the experience of His love and power, as the risen and ascended Savior. No baptism in outward
water can satisfy the description of the apostle, being buried with Christ by baptism unto death. (Rom. 6:4). It is with
the Spirit alone that any can thus be baptized. In this experience the announcement of the Forerunner of our Lord is
fulfilled. "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." (Matt. 3:11). In this view we accept the commission
of our blessed Lord as given in Matthew 28:18, 19 and 20: "And Jesus came to them and spake unto them saying,
All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye, therefore, and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the bun and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe
all things whatsoever I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (R.V.). This
commission, as we believe, was not designed to set up a new ritual under the new covenant, or to connect the
initiation into a membership, in its nature essentially spiritual, with a mere ceremony of a typical character. Otherwise
it was not possible for the Apostle Paul, who was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostle, (II Cor. 11:5) to have
disclaimed that which would, in that case, have been of the essence of his commission when he wrote, "Christ sent
me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel. ,'41 Cor. 1:17) Whenever an external ceremony is commanded, the
particulars, the mode and incidents of that ceremony, become of its essence. There is an utter absence of these
particulars in the text before us, which confirms our persuasion that the commission must be construed in connection
with the spiritual power which the risen Lord promised should attend the witness of his apostles and of the church to
Him and which, after Pentecost, so mightily accompanied their ministry of the word and prayer, that those to whom
they were sent were introduced into an experience wherein they had a saving knowledge of, and living fellowship
with, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Supper of the Lord
Intimately connected with the conviction already ex-pressed is the view that we have ever maintained as to the
true supper of the Lord. We are well aware that our Lord was pleased to make use of a variety of symbolic
utterances, but He often gently upbraided His disciples for accepting literally what He had intended only in its
spiritual meaning. His teaching, as in His parables or in the command to wash one another's feet, was often in
symbols, and ought ever to be received in the light of His own emphatic declaration, "The words that I speak unto
you they are spirit and they are life." (Jn. 6:63). The old covenant was full of ceremonial symbols; the new covenant,
to which our Savior alluded at the last supper, is expressly declared by the prophet to be "not according to the old."
(Jer. 31:32, Heb. 8:9). We cannot believe that in setting up this new covenant the Lord Jesus intended an institution
out of harmony with the spirit of this prophecy. The eating of His body and the drinking of His blood cannot be an
outward act. They truly partake of them who habitually rest upon the sufferings and death of their Lord as their only
hope, and to whom the indwelling Spirit gives to drink of the fullness that is in Christ. It is this
inward and spiritual partaking that is the true supper of the Lord.
The presence of Christ with His church is not designed to be by symbol or representation, but in the real
communication of His own Spirit. "I will pray the Father and He shall give you., another Comforter, who shall abide
with you forever," (John 14:16) convincing of sin, testifying of Jesus, taking of the things of Christ, this blessed
Comforter communicates to the believer and to the church, in a gracious, abiding manifestation the real presence of
the Lord. As the great remembrancer, through whom the promise is fulfilled, He needs no ritual or priestly
intervention in bringing to the experience of the true commemoration and communion. "Behold," saith the risen
Redeemer, "I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and sup with
him and he with me." (Rev. 3:20). In an especial manner, when assembled for congregational worship, are believers
invited to the festival of the Savior's peace, and in a united act of faith and love, unfettered by any outward rite or
ceremonial, to partake together of the body that was broken and of the blood that was shed for them, without the
gates of Jerusalem. In such a worship they are enabled to understand the words of the apostle as expressive of a
sweet and most real experience: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?
The bread that we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one
body: for we are all partakers of that one bread." (I Cor. 10:16, 17).
Worship is the adoring response of the heart and mind to the influence of the Spirit of God. It stands neither in
forms nor in the formal disuse of forms; it may be without words as well as with them, but it must be in spirit and in
truth. (John 4:24). We recognize the value of silence, not as an end, but as a means toward the attainment of the
end; a silence, not of listlessness or of vacant musing, but of holy expectation before the Lord. Having become His
adopted children through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is our privilege to meet together and unite in the worship of
Almighty God, to wait upon Him for the renewal of our strength, for communion one with another, for the edification
of believers in the exercise of various spiritual gifts, and for the declaration of the glad tidings of salvation to the
unconverted who may gather with us. This worship depends not upon numbers. Where two or three are gathered
together in the nine of Christ there is a church, and Christ, the living Head, in the midst of them. Through His
mediation without the necessity for any inferior instrumentality, is the Father to be approached and reverently
worshiped. The Lord Jesus has forever fulfilled and ended the typical and sacrificial worship under the law, by the
offering up of Himself upon the cross for us, once for all. He has opened the door of access into the inner sanctuary,
and graciously provided spiritual offerings for the service of His temple, suited to the several conditions of all who
worship in spirit and in truth. The broken and the contrite heart, the confession of the soul prostrate before God, the
prayer of the afflicted when he is overwhelmed, the earnest wrestling of the spirit, the outpouring of humble
thanksgiving, the spiritual song and melody of the heart, (Eph. 5:19) the simple exercise of faith, the self denying
service of love, these are among the sacrifices which He, our merciful and faithful High Priest, is pleased to prepare,
by His Spirit, in the hearts of them that receive Him, and to present with acceptance unto God.
By the immediate operations of the Holy Spirit, He as the Head of the church, alone selects and qualifies those
who are to present His messages or engage in other service for Him; and hence, we cannot commit any formal
arrangement to any one in our regular meetings for worship. We are well aware that the Lord has provided a
diversity of gifts (I Cor. 12:4-6) for the needs both of the church and of the world, and we desire that the church may
feel her responsibility, under the government of her Great Head, in doing her part to foster these gifts, and in
making arrangements for their proper exercise.
It is not for individual exaltation, but for mutual profit, that the gifts are bestowed; (I Cor. 12:7) and every living
church, abiding under the government of Christ, is humbly and thankfully to receive and exercise them, in subjection
to her Holy Head. The church that quenches the Spirit and lives to itself alone must die.
We believe the preaching of the Gospel to be one of the chief means, divinely appointed, for the spreading of the
glad tidings of life and salvation through our crucified Redeemer, for the awakening and conversion of sinners, and
for the comfort and edification of believers. As it is the prerogative of the Great Head of the church alone to select
and cal4he ministers of His Gospel, so we believe that both the gift and the qualification to exercise it must be
derived immediately from Him; and that, as in the primitive church, so now also, He confers spiritual gifts upon
women as well as upon men, agreeably to the prophecy recited by the apostle Peter, "It shall come to pass in the
last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy."
(Acts 2:17). Respecting which the apostle declares, "the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are
afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." (Acts 2:39). As the gift is freely received so it is to be freely
exercised, (Matt. 10:8, See also Acts 20:33-35) in simple obedience to the will of God.
Spiritual gifts, precious as they are, must not be mistaken for grace; they add to our responsibility, but do not
raise the minister above his brethren or sisters. They must be exercised in continued dependence upon our Lord
and blessed is that ministry in which man is humbled, and Christ and His grace exalted. "He that is greatest among
you," said our Lord and Master, "let him be as the younger; and he that is chief as he that doth serve. I am among
you as he that serveth." (Luke 22:26, 27).
While the church cannot confer spiritual gifts, it is its duty to recognize and foster them, and to promote their
efficiency by all the means in its power. And while, on the one hand, the Gospel should never be preached for
money, (Acts 8:20, 20:33-35) on the other, it is the duty of the church to make such provision that it shall never be
hindered for want of it.
The church, if true to her allegiance, cannot forget her part in the command, "Go ye into all the world, and
preach the Gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15). Knowing that it is the Spirit of God that can alone prepare and
qualify the instruments who fulfill this command, the true disciple will be found still sitting at the feet of Jesus,
listening that he may learn, and learning that he may obey. He humbly places himself at his Lord's disposal, and,
when he hears the call, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" is prepared to respond, in childlike reverence
and love, "Here am I, send me." (Isaiah 6:8).
Prayer and Praise
Pray is the outcome of our sense of need, and of our continual dependence upon God. He who uttered the
invitation, "Ask and it shall be given you." (Matt. 7:7) is himself the Mediator and High Priest who, by His Spirit,
prompts the petition, and who presents it with the acceptance before God. With such an invitation, prayer becomes
the duty and the privilege of all who are called by His name. Prayer is, in the awakening soul, the utterance of the
cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner," (Luke 18:13) and, at every stage of the believer's course, prayer is essential
to his spiritual life. A life without prayer is a life practically without God. The Christian's life is a continual asking. The
thirst that prompts the petition produces, as it is satisfied, still deeper longings, which prepare for yet more
bounteous supplies, from Him who delights to bless. Prayer is not confined to the closet. When uttered in response
to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, it becomes an important part of public worship, and, whenever the Lord's people
meet together in His name, it is their privilege to wait upon Him for the spirit of grace and supplications. (Zech. 12:
10). A life of prayer cannot be other than a life of praise. As the peace of Christ reigns in the church, her living
members accept all that they receive, as from His pure bounty, and each day brings them fresh pledges of their
Father's love. Satisfied with the goodness of His house, whether as individuals, in families, or in congregations, they
will be still praising Him, (Psalm 84:4) heart answering to heart, "Bless the Lord, 0 my soul: and all that is within me,
bless His holy name." (Ps. 103:1).
Liberty of Conscience in its Relation to Civil Government
That conscience should be free, and that in matters of religious doctrine and worship man is accountable only
to God, are truths which are plainly declared in the New Testament; and which are confirmed by the whole scope of
the Gospel and by the example of our Lord and His disciples. To rule over the conscience, and to command the
spiritual allegiance of his creature man, is the high and sacred prerogative of God alone. In religion every act ought
to be free. A forced worship is plainly a contradiction in terms, under that dispensation in which the worship of the
Father must be in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24).
We have ever maintained that it is the duty of Christians to obey the enactments of civil government, except
those which interfere with our allegiance to God. We owe much to its blessings. Through it we enjoy liberty and
protection, in connection with law and order. Civil government is a divine ordinance, (Rom. 13:1, I Pet. 2:13-16)
instituted to promote the best welfare of man, hence magistrates are to be regarded as God's ministers who should
be a terror to evil doers and a praise to them that do well. Therefore, it is with us a matter of conscience to render
them respect and obedience in the exercise of their proper functions.
Marriage is an institution graciously ordained by the Creator Himself, for the help and continuance of the
human family. It is not a mere civil contract, and ought never to be entered upon without a reference to the sanction
and blessing of Him who ordained it. It is a solemn engagement for the term of life, (Matt. 19:5, 6) designed for the
mutual assistance and comfort of both sexes, that they may be helpmates to each other in things temporal and
spiritual. To this end it should imply concurrence in spiritual as well as temporal concerns, and should be entered
upon discreetly, soberly, and in fear of the Lord.
We feel bound explicitly to avow our unshaken persuasion that all war is utterly incompatible with the plain
precepts of our divine Lord and Law-giver, and the whole spirit of His Gospel, and that no plea of necessity or policy,
however urgent or peculiar, can avail to release either individuals or nations from the paramount allegiance which
they owe to Him who bath said, "Love your enemies." (Matt. 5:44, Luke 6:27). In enjoining this love, and the
forgiveness of injuries, He who has bought us to Himself has not prescribed for man precepts which are incapable of
being carried into practice, or of which the practice is to be postponed until all shall be persuaded to act upon them.
We cannot doubt that they are incumbent now, and that we have in the prophetic Scriptures the distinct intimation of
their direct application not only to individuals, but to nations also. (Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:1). When nations conform
their laws to this divine teaching, wars must necessarily cease.
We would, in humility, but in faithfulness to our Lord, express our firm persuasion that all the exigencies of civil
government and social order may be met under the banner of the Prince of Peace, in strict conformity with His
We hold it to be the inalienable privilege of the disciple of the Lord Jesus that his statements concerning
matters of fact within his knowledge should be accepted, under all circumstances, as expressing his belief as to the
fact asserted. We rest upon the plain command of our Lord and Master, "Swear not at all"; (Matt. 5:34) and we
believe any departure from this standard to be prejudicial to the cause of truth and to that confidence between man
and man, the maintenance of which is indispensable to our mutual well being. This command, in our persuasion,
applies not to profane swearing only, but to judicial oaths also. It abrogates any previous permission to the contrary,
and is, for the Christian, absolutely conclusive.
The First Day of the Week
Whilst the remembrance of our Creator ought to be at all times present with the Christian, we would express our
thankfulness to our Heavenly Father that He has been pleased to honor the setting apart of one day in seven for the
purpose of holy rest, religious duties. and public worship; and we desire that all under our name may avail
themselves of this great privilege as those who are called to be risen with Christ, and to seek those things that are
above where He sitteth at the right hand of God. (Coloss. 3:1). May the release thus granted from other occupations
be diligently improved. On this day of the week especially ought the households of Friends to be assembled for the
reading of the Scriptures and for waiting upon the Lord; and we trust that, in a Christianly wise economy of our time
and strength, the engagements of the day may be so ordered as not to frustrate the gracious provision thus made
for us by our Heavenly Father or to shut out the opportunity either for public worship or for private retirement and
In presenting this declaration of our Christian faith, we desire that all our members may be afresh encouraged,
in humility and devotedness, to renewed faithfulness in fulfilling their part in the great mission of the Church, and
through the Church to the world around us, in the name of our Crucified Redeemer. Life from Christ, life in Christ,
must ever be the basis of life for Christ. For this we have been created and redeemed, and, by this alone, can the
longings of our immortal souls be satisfied.
We recommend for further reading: Christian Faith and Practice in the Experience of the Society of Friends, London
A. Application for Membership
“Friends receive into active membership those whose faith in Christ as a personal Saviour is manifest in their
lives and who are in unity with the teachings of Christian truth as held by Friends.” Faith and Practice Part II,
Chapter I, Basis of Membership.
On the basis of the above statement, accepting Jesus Christ as my Saviour, declaring it to be my purpose to
devote my life to His services and to follow His teachings, agreeing to observe the rules and practices of Friends,
and to be loyal to the interests of this Meeting, I do hereby make application for membership in
Monthly Meeting of Friends.
Approved by the Meeting on Ministry and Counsel and recommended to the Monthly Meeting.
B. Removal Certificate
(One Monthly Meeting to Another)
To Monthly Meeting of Friends:
This is to certify that is a member of this Meeting. Upon due inquiry no
obstruction appears to the granting of request for a certificate to your Meeting. We
therefore recommend to your Christian care. Please acknowledge reception
of by returning to our clerk the annexed statement, properly filled and signed.
In love, we are your Friends,
By direction, and on behalf of
Monthly Meeting of Friends, held at
State of day of month, 19
To Monthly Meeting of Friends:
We have received the removal certificate issued by you the
Day of month, 19 , and have accepted
into membership with us.
In behalf of Monthly Meeting of Friends,
held at , day of
C. Letter to Other Denominations
of Monthly Meeting of Friends, having expressed the desire to unite in
membership with the above named Church, this letter of dismissal is granted in favor of said Church, and he (she) is
(they are) commended to your Christian fellowship. Upon receipt of official acknowledgment of the acceptance of this
letter, the membership with Friends will cease.
By Direction of Monthly Meeting
To Monthly Meeting of Friends:
We have received the letter issued by you the day of month,
19 , and have accepted into membership with us.
In behalf of Church, day
of month, 19
D. Form of Affirmation
I affirm that I will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
K. Marriage Vows
(Within the Meeting)
At a suitable time in the Meeting the parties shall stand, and taking each other by the right hand shall declare -- the
“In the presence of the Lord and before these friends, I take thee, D.E., to be my wife, promising, with divine
assistance, to be unto thee a loving and faithful husband as long as we both shall I live.”
The woman in like manner:
“In the presence of the Lord and before these friends, I take thee, A.B., to be my husband, promising, with
divine assistance, to be unto thee a loving and faithful wife as long as we both shall live.”
F. Certificate of Marriage
Whereas, A.B. of , County and State of ,
son of C.B., and E., his wife of ,and D.F., of , County and State
of , daughter
of H.F. and K., his wife, of declared their intentions of marriage with each other
to the Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends of held
State of , on the Day of the
month of the year , and nothing being found to obstruct, they were set at liberty by that Meeting to
accomplish their intentions.
Now these are to certify to whom it may concern, that from the accomplishment of their marriage, this
Day of the Month of the year , they, the said A.B. and D.F. appeared at an appointed
meeting held at Under the oversight of the Monthly Meeting of the
Society of Friends in the presence of a committee thereof appointed for that purpose, and A.B., taking D.F. by the
hand, declared that he took her to be his wife, promising, with divine assistance, to be unto her a loving and faithful
husband as long as they both shall live; and then D./F., did in like manner declare that she took him, A.B., to be her
husband, promising, with divine assistance, to be unto him a loving and faithful wife as long as they both should live.
And in further confirmation thereof, they, the said A.B. and D.F., (she, according to the custom of marriage,
adopting the surname of her husband) did then and there to these presents set their hands.
And we, having been present at the solemnization of the said marriage, did as witnesses thereto, set our
G. Marriage Service, A Minister Participating
Marriage, in its deepest meaning, is an inward experience — the voluntary union of personalities effected in the
mutual self-giving of hearts that truly love, implicitly trust, and courageously accept each other in good faith. Such
marriage is honored and blessed of God as the fulfillment of His supreme design for man and woman, who alone of
all creation bears His divine image. The State sanctions and the Church adorns marriage as the ideal relationship in
human society. The wisdom of the ages bears testimony to the beneficent values which this honorable estate yields
in the happiness and well being of mankind.
(If the “giving of the bride” is desired, the minister may say:)
“Who among the kinsfolk (or friends) of this bride-to-be shares her great joy and presents her to the man of
her choice with benediction of her family?”
The father, brother, or other person will answer: “I do.”
To the Contracting Parties
Marriage involves at once the highest privileges and the greatest responsibilities of life. Its achievement of
happiness and success is dependent upon the mutual love, the unfailing patience, and the absolute fidelity of one to
the other. You will from henceforth live a blended life, each seeking and promoting the joy, the comfort, the health,
and the enrichment of the other, all of which will divide your sorrows and multiply your satisfaction.
The Vows of Marriage
If you have carefully considered the sacredness of the obligations assumed when lives are wed, and are well
assured that you are prepared to enter into this covenant, binding yourselves each to the other in holy sanctuary of
the home as long as you both shall live, will you please face each other, clasp your right hands, and repeat these
vows which have brought joy to so many others:
(Each repeat from memory if possible; if not, then follow the minister.)
The Man: “In the presence of the Lord, and before these friends, I take thee, (D.F.) to be my wife, promising,
with divine assistance, to be unto thee a loving and faithful husband, as long as we both shall live.”
The Woman: “In the presence of the Lord, and before these friends, I take thee (A.B.) to be my husband,
promising, with divine assistance, to be unto thee a loving and faithful wife, as long as we both shall live.”
(Unclasp hands and face the minister.)
(If a ring is [or rings are] to be given and received, the minister may say:)
“What do you offer as a token of your pledge of love and loyalty?”
(The groom or an attendant places the ring, or both place rings, in the minister’s hand, or upon his book,
saying simply, “This ring.”)
To the Man: “Do you, (A.B.) offer this ring as a token that you will keep this covenant and perform these vows?”
He answers, “I Do.”
To the Woman: “Do you, (D.F.), accept this ring as a token that you will keep this covenant and perform these
vows?” She answers, “I Do.”
(In case of a double ring service, the minister may say:)
To Both Parties: “Do you, (A.B.), and you, (D.F.), give and receive these rings as a pledge that you will keep
this covenant and perform these vows?”
Together, they answer: “We Do.”
The Minister: “Let this ring (these rings) ever be to you a symbol of the preciousness, the purity, and the
permanence of true wedded love.”
In recognition of that real marriage between you, accomplished in the uniting of your hearts by mutual love and
confidence, and in conformity to the laws of this state by whose sanctions these visible expressions of your pledged
fidelity have been given and received, as a minister acknowledged by the church, I do now recognize you as
husband and wife. Those whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.
Prayer by the Minister.
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the
Lord life up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen.
(If more formal vows than those in the foregoing ceremony are desired, the following is suggested:)
To the Man: (A.B.), will you take (D.F.), whose hand you hold, choosing her alone from all the world, to be your
wedded wife? Will you love her and comfort her, support and cherish her in sickness and in health, in prosperity and
adversity, and, forsaking all others, remain faithful to her as long as you both shall live?
He answers: “I Will.”
To the Woman: (D.F.), will you take (A.B.), whose hand you hold, to be your wedded husband? Will you love
him and comfort him in sickness and in health, in sunshine and in storm, and forsaking all others, remain faithful to
him as long as you both shall live?
She answers: “I Will.”