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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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ii: quaker faith and spiritual practice

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Living Our Faith

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.



 Another descriptive saying of Friends is that “Quakerism is a way of life,” which is to suggest that the testimonies are the moral and ethical fruit of the inward leading of the Spirit. … Because the testimonies have a religious base they might also be called the Quaker “articles of faith,” but clearly for Friends it is faith that must be translated into action.

wilmer a. cooper,
the testimony of integrity in the religious
society of friends, pendle hill pamphlet 296, 1991

 For more than three hundred years, Friends have acted upon a set of shared convictions. While the specific details have varied over time, today’s concerns and underlying beliefs are remarkably similar to those of past generations. The word “testimonies” refers to this set of deeply felt, historically rooted attitudes and ways of living in the world. Testimonies bear witness to the Truth as Friends in community perceive it: Truth known through relationship with God. Testimonies are expressions of lives turned toward the Light, outward expressions that reflect the inward experience of divine guidance.

 Spiritual evolution of the Religious Society of Friends occurs largely through individual Friends’ openness to spiritual insights. Insights widely held by Friends over time, guiding and informing the community, become testimonies.

 There is no single list of testimonies. To understand the role of testimonies in Friends’ history and spiritual practice, it is first important to understand their essential oneness.