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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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Corporate Search and Practice

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.



144 We have searched again for the meaning of membership in the Society of Friends. … We find some of that meaning in the concepts of responsibility and communion. … We are reminded that ours has always been a religion of experience, not of assent to a statement. Through communion in the quiet meeting on the basis of spiritual inspiration we seek to know God and to know each other in that which is Eternal.

pacific yearly meeting, 1951

145 Entry into membership of the Religious Society of Friends is a public acknowledgment of a growing unity with a community of people whose worship and service reflect, however imperfectly, their perception of discipleship and their recognition of the work of the Holy Spirit in the world.

to lima with love, london yearly meeting, 1987

146 Membership in the Society of Friends is membership in a particular monthly meeting. One who joins Friends usually has experience with a meeting for worship, and joins because that particular group experience is meaningful, comfortable, or supportive. It can be disillusioning to discover later that other meetings are not exact copies, and that all kinds of variety exists.Why is it that we feel too fragile to expose our diversity? Diversity has been around a long time. Why else would Isaac Penington write in 1659, “… and mark, it is not the different practice from corporate search and practice testimony and experience one another that breaks the peace or unity, but the judging of one another because of different practices…”

heather c. moir, 1992

147 Membership should mean that both the Meeting and the member know what they expect from each other and from other Friends. It is a covenant relationship. We have no creed, no doctrine, no single statement of faith. How then do we know each other? By our deeds and by our commonalties, among them that we choose to worship together regularly.

jane peers, 1996

148 Membership must be active. It should really be a verb. It is not something you are but something you do. And it must be something worth doing. It must deserve an investment of time, relationships, money, personal action, and self-sacrifice. It must be a part of your integrity and it must be a commitment that you expect to last a lifetime. The Society of Friends of Truth is destroyed by passive “membership.”

robert griswold, 2000