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Faith and Practice

Pacific Yearly Meeting

of the

Religious Society of Friends

a guide to quaker discipline in the experience of pacific yearly meeting of the religious society of friends.
published 2001

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i: Pacific Yearly Meeting In Context

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A Brief History of the Religious Society of Friends

pym in context
quaker faith & spiritual practice
testimony & experience of friends
organization of the society
activities & organization of the YM
sources of quotations
index of sources
subject index

We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Friends who have permitted us to use material for this Faith and Practice.


 steps toward wholeness

 Following the divisions, Friends in America began reaching out to each other. Beginning in 1887, a series of conferences among Gurneyite Yearly Meetings at Richmond and Indianapolis, Indiana, led to the founding of a national organization in 1902, called the Five Years Meeting of Friends. It is now Friends United Meeting (FUM). An attempt to articulate a common declaration of faith was not entirely successful; however eleven Yearly Meetings eventually accepted a common Book of Discipline. Nearly half of the Quakers in the United States are members of FUM.

 Friends General Conference (FGC) was formed in 1900 to bring together Friends from Hicksite Meetings. It did not attempt to create a unified national organization, but to serve Friends in their diversity.

 Philadelphia Quakers bridged the schism in 1945 with the establishment of Philadelphia General Meeting, which encompassed both Hicksite and Orthodox Yearly Meetings. In 1955 they formalized this by establishing a single Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and Uniform Discipline. Similar unification followed in other Yearly Meetings.

 In 1937, the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) was founded to promote better understanding among Friends the world over. Today, FWCC is widely seen as the appropriate instrument to serve Friends in consultation, work, or witness that transcends the boundaries of Yearly Meetings, traditions or nations. The Wider Quaker Fellowship was established in 1936 to serve “friends of Friends” and link isolated Friends across the world. It is now under the umbrella of FWCC.

 Founded in 1965 in response to secessions from FUM, Evangelical Friends International (EFI), formerly Evangelical Friends Alliance, links Meetings that share both a strong evangelical component and deeply held Christian doctrine.

 The first Western Gathering of Friends occurred in 1992, bringing together Friends from all eight of the western Yearly Meetings. Although no ongoing formal organization was planned at the time, some connections have resulted such as joint retreats for women of North Pacific, Northwest, and Canadian Yearly Meetings. The Western Association of Friends was established in 1996. Through it, individuals or Monthly Meetings may participate fully in Friends United Meeting activities. (For more information about Friends organizations and the relationship of Pacific Yearly Meeting to each of them, see the section Links to Other Friends Organizations, p. 133.)

 In 2000, the various branches of the Religious Society of Friends worldwide numbered about 250,000 members. The majority belong to evangelical Meetings that follow a pastoral form for Meeting for Worship. Unprogrammed Meetings exist primarily in Europe, the United States and Canada. In the United States, most unprogrammed Yearly Meetings belong to FGC. Conservative Yearly Meetings, and Pacific, Intermountain, and North Pacific Yearly Meetings are unaffiliated. (Appendix 8 shows the evolution and affiliations of the various branches of Quakerism in the United States.)