Quaker (Religious Society of Friends)


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more wonderings about (today's) Puritans, and a broken education system

Date: 09/19/2014

Window, Old Ship Church, Puritan meetinghouse, Hingham, Massachusetts via Wikipedia Today I was thinking -- again -- about the similarities between contemporary conservative Christianity (at least in everyday life) and historical Puritanism. Several of us were discussing the sad state of Oklahoma's schools. One mentioned that she has 30 (yes, THIRTY) kids in her kindergarten class. I added t ...

Related Topics: Health And Wellness, Britton Gildersleeve, Buddhism, Quakers, Engaged Buddhism, Buddhist Blogs, Education, Common Core, Puritans


Enjoy Every Moment

Date: 09/15/2014

Feeling emotionally raw at the moment, having just returned from a day of honoring my friend Delane Lipka. I had written about another extraordinary day in a previous Beliefnet article called In the Garden of Eden that described a gathering of kindred spirits that had been organized by Delane. For decades, she had run Mount Eden Retreat and this event two weeks ago was a last hurrah of sorts. We d ...

Related Topics: Blog 107, Divine Feminine, Beliefnet, Mt. Eden Retreat, Florida, Rabbi, Elaine Silver, Judaism, Goddess, Yiddish, Hebrew School, Edie Weinstein, Delane Likpa, Kindred Spirits

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    Quaker Basics

    History: Quakerism originated in mid-17th century England, originally as a break-away branch of Puritanism. George Fox (1624-1691), an English preacher, founded the Society of Friends, whose open structure reflects his aversion to church hierarchy and titles. Fox held that the “Inner Light,” the inspiring presence of God in each person, stands above Scripture and creed. This belief resonates through Quakerism despite a fairly wide variety of practices.

    Main Tenets: Quaker beliefs include the emphasis on plain speech and dress; opposition to slavery and war; and the refusal to swear oaths, which Quakers believe undermine the daily mandate for truth-telling. Many early feminists and abolitionists were Quakers, and a strong social ethic continues to pervade the work of the American Friends Service Committee, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947.

    Quakers, who often met persecution for their beliefs, have also been champions of religious freedom. English Quaker William Penn founded Pennsylvania as a "holy experiment," a refuge for Quakers and other religious minorities.

    Organizations: Quaker congregations are called "meetings," which range from structured services led by ministers to open sessions where participants speak when inspired by their own Inner Light. Major Quaker umbrella organizations are the Friends General Conference of Philadelphia and Friends United Meeting, based in Richmond, Ind.

    Membership: According to "Quakers in America," by Thomas D. Hamm, there are about 100,000 Quakers in the U.S. and about 350,000 worldwide. Kenya has the largest Quaker population in the world, with about 130,000 Friends.