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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.




 Friends’ testimonies on integrity, unity, equality, simplicity, and peace come together in our testimony on community, which calls us to sustain caring relationships for all. In today’s interconnected world, human survival depends more than ever on discerning and actualizing the truth of our corporate experience, on mutual regard and support, on nurturing our relationships with one another, with society, and with the environment as a whole.

 We need to find the courage to assert and act upon the hope, however naïve, that community can be found, because only  by acting “as if” can we create a future fit for human  habitation… Community means more than the comfort of souls. It means, and always has meant, the survival of the species…

parker palmer, a place called community,
pendle hill pamphlet 212, 1977

 Without mutual regard and concern, without the trust that comes from the observance of mutual expectations developed and sustained over time, without commitment to a collective search for unity around that of the Divine that each of us shares, there is separation, and separation is the root of conflict. Community is the necessary foundation for social justice and peace. As we live in a community which is committed to honor that of God in all, we are, as individuals, strengthened in the work to which we are called.

 The Quaker exhortation to “know one other in that which is eternal” is an exhortation to a mutual knowing in which we are affected by, and responsive to, one another. We come to know one another as we seek our collective, Spirit-led Truth — our shared sense of the common good within which we discover who we are and where we each fit in the larger scheme of things. We see and speak from that of God in ourselves to that of God in all others when we discover and acknowledge our common ground and common good. We see Jesus’ command to love one another as a command to be in community. We testify against all appeals to divisiveness.

 Within Friends’ spiritual community, the collective search for truth, undertaken in the Meeting for Worship, is the foundation for the beloved community to which Friends aspire. Gathered together in the Light, the work of community involves empathic searching for the Divine in self and other. It nourishes our witness to the world.

 Love, trust, fellowship, selflessness are all mediated to us through our interdependence. Just as we could not live physically without each other, we cannot live spiritually in isolation. We are individually free but also communally bound. We cannot act without affecting others and others cannot act without affecting us. We know ourselves as we are reflected in the faces, action and attitudes of each other.

janet scott, what canst thou say?
swarthmore lecture, friends home service, 1980, pp.41-42

 The Spirit calls Friends to acknowledge their connection to one another and to all creation. This understanding strengthens us to minister to one another and the wider community, to test individual leadings, and to witness to the truth as it is revealed to us. Living by faith is not a private matter. It calls us outward to the needs of the community at large. The Spirit we follow is present in each individual human being. To be true to that Spirit, we must recognize and nourish the spiritual worth of all people, particularly those who have been devalued or excluded. Following the Spirit’s leadings together, we hope to overcome the causes of racism, sexism, homophobia, and the neglect or disrespect of children, the poor, and the socially marginalized, in the world and in ourselves.