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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.




 We utterly deny all outward wars, and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any  pretence whatsoever, and this is our testimony to the whole  world.… The spirit of Christ which leads us into all Truth will  never move us to fight and war against any man with  outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for kingdoms of this world.

george fox, declaration to charles ii, 1660
britain yearly meeting,
quaker faith & practice, 1995, §24.04

 A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it.

william penn, 1693
britain yearly meeting,
quaker faith & practice, 1995, §24.03

 Based upon love and concern for the wellbeing of all, Friends work for reconciliation and active nonviolent resolutions of conflict. Friends have traditionally supported conscientious objectors to military service, while holding in love, but disagreeing with, those who feel that they must enter the armed forces. Friends oppose all war as inconsistent with God’s will.

 Recognizing that violence and war typically arise from unjust circumstances, Friends address the causes of war by working to correct social injustice, and by strengthening communities, institutions and processes to provide nonviolent alternatives to military force. We testify against structural violence implicit in disparities of wealth and income and against discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, class, sexual orientation, and other divisions of people. John Woolman implored Friends to seek out the seeds of war in themselves:

 Oh that we who declare against wars, and acknowledge our trust to be in God only, may walk in the light and therein examine our foundation and motives in holding great  estates. May we look upon our treasures, the furniture of  our houses, and our garments, and try whether the seeds  of war have nourishment in these possessions?

john woolman, 1763

 The work of peace is the work of sustaining relationships of mutual human regard, of seeing and speaking to that of God in everyone, of seeking peace within ourselves, the family, the community and the world. The Kingdom of God is both present in each of us and a goal yet to be fulfilled. The task may never be done, but sustained by God’s love we are called to pursue it.