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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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iii: testimony and experience of friends

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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.


harmony with nature

110 It were happy if we studied nature more in natural things, and acted according to nature, whose rules are few, plain and most reasonable.… The heavens, earth, and waters with their respective, various, and numerous inhabitants, their productions, nature, seasons, sympathies, and antipathies, their use, benefit and pleasure, would be better understood by us; and an eternal wisdom, power, majesty, and goodness very conspicuous to us through those sensible and passing forms, the world wearing the mark of its Maker, Whose stamp is everywhere visible and the characters very legible to the children of wisdom.

william penn

111 I have known landholders who… being intent on paying their debts by raising grain, have by too much tilling, so robbed the earth of its natural fatness, that the produce thereof hath grown light. … The produce of the earth is a gift from our gracious Creator to the inhabitants, and to impoverish the earth now to support outward greatness appears to be an injury to the succeeding age.

john woolman

112 We are a part, a dependent part, of a living whole. There can be no true health (or “wholeness” — the two words mean the same) in humanity unless, at the same time, we look to the health of the whole earthfamily of living creatures. For far too long in our blind selfishness, we have misused the verses in Genesis and the Psalms which tell us how God gave man “dominion” over the works of his hands. Our “dominion” has become a power-drunk tyranny. Let us listen to John Ruskin: “God has lent us the earth for our life: it is a great entail. It means as much to those who come after us, as to us; and we have no right, by anything we do or neglect, to deprive them of benefits which it was in our power to bequeathe.”

marjorie sykes, 1970

113 When I steward the earth, I believe I am caring for God’s body. This belief gives me a gentle push to work harder. For me that push works better than if I see my environmental work as mere civic responsibilities.

judith brown

114 HEALING — the healing of a cut or wound of any kind is an experience of personal miracle. The healing moves from inside out and takes as long as it needs to knit the rupture together. It may take days or weeks … that is why we do not see it as a miracle. But it is a job of inner work doing its work with patience.We often overlook the mystical work of our own bodies.

robert w. edwards, 1924-1981

115 Gospel order is the order established by God that exists in every part of creation, transcending the chaos that seems too often prevalent. It is the right relationship of every part of creation, however small, to every other part and to the Creator. … [It] enables the individual aspects of creation to achieve that quality of being which God intended from the start, about which God could say that ‘it was very good.’ … Gospel order is not God … but it is an organizing principle by which Friends come to a clearer understanding of our relationship to God in all of the divine manifestations and the responsibilities of that relationship.… It has been the experience of Friends that no part of their lives as individuals or as a faith community is separate from their vision of gospel order.

lloyd lee wilson, 1993

116 It is as if the Divine Presence said to us, “Ever seek balance.… You are to love and appreciate yourself, other persons, plants and creatures around you, stars, earth, snow, rocks. Do not ‘fall in love’ with any of these to be possessed by them and swallowed up; neither turn away from them, nor renounce them.”

francis hole, 1995