Faith and Practice
Faith and Practice, 2001
We, like every generation, must find Light and Life again for ourselves. Only what we have valued and truly made our own, not by assertion but by lives of faithful commitment, can we hand on to the future. Even then, we must humbly acknowledge that our vision of the truth will, again and again, be amended.*
*Britain Yearly Meeting, Quaker Faith and Practice, p. 17, 1995
The Quaker way emphasizes experience over religious belief or doctrine. It is inherently difficult to capture the essence of that experience in words. Yet every edition of Faith and Practice does that very thing.
As time passes, the body of experience grows and shifts and a Yearly Meeting may be moved to take up the task of revising its book of Faith and Practice. The book offered here is a revision of the 1985 edition, which in turn was based on revisions of 1973, 1963, 1957, and 1952, and the original plan of organization adopted at Palo Alto in 1942.
This Faith and Practice describes the beliefs of Friends and the structures and processes of Pacific Yearly Meeting, and its Quarterly and Monthly Meetings. It also explains the spiritual foundation of these processes and of our way of worship. It should be of interest and value to newcomers and old-timers alike.
For more information, including a version in Spanish, go to https://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/wordpress/faith-and-practice/
I would like in this book to explain the Quaker way, as far as that is possible. It will not be easy. The Quaker way, after all, is based on a practice of silence, the deliberate letting go of words and ideas. It is an attempt to get beyond all the things we say and write about our life to a direct experience of it. Yet as we shall see, there is some point in trying to explain why we do this. If we cannot provide a rational case for the Quaker way, we can at least point to those human experiences that help make sense of it and persuade of its rightness. And we Quakers are confident that everyone has some awareness, some inkling, of the experience we take most seriously, the experience that takes us beyond all words to an encounter with life in the silence. But how
to evoke that awareness? Part of the answer is to encourage people to try the practice for themselves, to attend a Quaker meeting for example, and see what the experience yields. But another part of the answer is to attempt to describe the experience, and to try to explain why it is important, how it can be gained, and what difference it makes to our lives and to our engagement with the world. I can only hope that, in offering such an account I will find echoes in your own experience, that my 'testimony’, as we Quakers like to say, ‘will answer the of God in everyone.’
--Rex Ambler - The Quaker Way