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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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Contents page

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.


 quaker service in america

 During the twentieth century, many Quaker organizations were created to respond to Friends’ needs for service opportunities and connection with one another. In 1917, shortly after the United States entered WWI, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was founded in Philadelphia to enable American Quakers to act on their humanitarian concerns.Much of its early effort was to prepare Quaker conscientious objectors for relief and reconstruction work in Europe. During World War II, the AFSC also helped to organize many Friends on the West Coast to provide legal and material support to interned Japanese-Americans, including helping to place Japanese-American students in colleges and universities east of the Rockies. Today, the AFSC has regional offices throughout the United States including the Pacific Southwest Regional Office in Pasadena, and the Pacific Mountain Regional Office in San Francisco.

 These modern-day service activities grow naturally out of Friends history. Prison reform, relief for victims of strife, feeding the starving, improving the plight of native peoples are themes woven into the Quaker experience — in America and elsewhere.

 Friends’ concern for the political process led to the founding of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), a Quaker lobbying group in Washington DC. FCNL enables Friends and likeminded people to follow and influence legislative issues. They "seek a world free of war and threat of war; a society with equity and justice for all; community where every person’s potential may be fulfilled; an Earth restored.” (FCNL mission statement)

 The Friends Committee on Legislation (FCL) is based in Sacramento, and is charged with maintaining a Quaker presence in California’s capital while informing Friends of upcoming legislative issues and the voting records of elected officials. Although it was not established to serve beyond California, it does serve Friends within the state and some members of Pacific Yearly Meeting in other areas. Both FCNL and FCL reflect Friends’ lively concern for and interaction with the worldly society in which they live.

 Although Friends withdrew from politics early, they have maintained a lively concern for the health of the social order. Led by conscience to resist participation in war and looking toward a world beyond war, Friends have supported the efforts of the United Nations and established an office in Geneva, Switzerland and one at the U.N. headquarters in New York. These Quaker United Nations Offices (QUNOs) serve representatives, ambassadors and legislators, by presenting accurate, unbiased data and by creating a safe space in which informal conversations can occur.