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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.


 quakers in northern california

 In 1861, two well-known Quakers from Iowa Yearly Meeting (Orthodox), Joel and Hannah Bean, worshiped briefly with Friends in San Jose on their way to a two-year sojourn in Hawaii. Following their ministry, a Meetinghouse was built in San Jose in 1866. Iowa Yearly Meeting recognized it in 1873, making it the first Friends Meeting on the West Coast. Joel Bean continued his ministry in Hawaii and a strong Quaker presence continued there after he and Hannah returned to Iowa.

 However, while Joel Bean was Clerk of Iowa Yearly Meeting in 1877, a separation occurred which eventually led to the formation of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative). Although he sympathized with the dissidents who were defending traditional Quaker ways against new trends, he did not join them. The discord was so troubling to him that he and Hannah left Iowa and returned to San Jose in 1882, becoming leaders in that Meeting. He wrote two strong defenses of Quaker traditions, which were circulated by Friends journals in America and England, and the discord escalated.

 With the return of Joel and Hannah Bean, Friends in San Jose began to separate into two groups. One group followed the theology and practices of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Orthodox) and the new revivalist Quakerism of the Great Awakening. The other group remained with the Beans in their unprogrammed worship. In 1885 Joel Bean’s followers, who were not members of San Jose Meeting, built their own Meetinghouse for unprogrammed worship. Iowa Yearly Meeting denied this group’s request for status as College Park Monthly Meeting and also laid down San Jose Monthly Meeting, leaving the San Jose area with no recognized Monthly Meeting.

 Nevertheless, the new Meeting continued and membership grew. In 1893, Iowa Yearly Meeting withdrew its recognition of Joel and Hannah Bean as Recorded Ministers evoking strong negative responses in Philadelphia and London. In 1889 Joel Bean and others founded the College Park Friends Association, which consisted of Friends who retained their membership in their various home Meetings. In 1918, the by-laws were amended to allow Monthly Meetings to join the association. Berkeley, Palo Alto, and Los Gatos joined at the outset; ten years later, there were 30 associated Meetings.Above is an early Discipline of the College Park Association, probably from the early 1890s.


Discipline of the College Park
Association of Friends

Doctrine: Friends believe in the continuing reality of the living Christ, available to all seeking souls.

Worship: The worship of God is in spirit and in truth and shall be held on a basis of the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Ministry: All members and all Attenders are free to participate vocally in Meetings, under a sense of God’s Presence.

Manner of Living: Friends are advised to conduct their private lives with simplicity and directness, ever sensitive to the world’s needs and eager to engage in service.

Relation to State: Friends are urged to feel their responsibility to the nation, and at the same time to recognise their oneness with humanity everywhere, regardless of race


The above is an early Discipline of the College Park Friends Association, from which Pacific Yearly Meeting evolved.