Renewing the Quaker community's story
A group of Quakers has been tasked to revise the book of discipline that has guided Quaker witness, community and worship across the centuries. In a bid to include voices, experiences and identities that reflect the full breadth and depth of Quakers in Britain today, the revision committee draws on Quakers across a range of occupations, abilities, ages and gender. Two of the committee are under 18.
The current book is called Quaker faith & practice. In the stillness of worship, Quakers often read from this anthology of wisdom and witness. They listen and reflect on the experience of Quakers, from the 1600s to recent years. They can read the first-hand accounts of Quakers who were imprisoned for their faith three centuries ago.
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain said:
"Once in a generation, Quakers decide to take a long hard look at our faith, what it means to us, and what we can say about it. The bold decision to revise Quaker faith & practice means it's time for us to do that again. It's exciting. We want to hear the insights of younger and more diverse people, and set out how we are a faith fit for the 21st century. I'm looking forward to it."
The revised Quaker faith & practice will aim to speak to younger Quakers and to the wider world. A search group has been working hard since last year and were delighted to receive more than 300 expressions of interest to serve on this group. Meeting for Sufferings, the national representative body for Quakers in Britain, has approved the names of 24 people who make up the revision committee.
The decision to revise was taken last summer when more than one thousand Quakers met in Friends House for Yearly Meeting and said, "We look forward with anticipation …to the process of revision, accepting that we may expect to be changed, both personally and as a church. We should be ready to feel vulnerable, wounded, renewed or transformed as we engage with issues about our faith, and how we practise it together, with open hearts."
Regular revision and being open to new truths is part of who Quakers are as a religious society. Quakers compiled the first of these books of discipline in 1738. Since then, each new generation of Quakers has revised the book.
The last revision took around ten years to complete and was published in 1995.
The co-clerks are Catherine Brewer (Northumbria Area Meeting) and Rosie Carnall (Sheffield and Balby AM) with Michael Phipps (Chilterns AM) as the assistant clerk.
Anya Nanning Ramamurthy, North London AM
James Weir, Cumberland AM
Chris Alton, East Kent AM,
Judith Thompson, Devon AM
Jessica Hubbard-Bailey, Sheffield and Balby AM
Alice Southern, South Wales AM
Tas Cooper, Oxford & Swindon AM
Rhiannon Grant, Central England AM
Sally Kikaya, North West London AM,
Nuala Watt, West Scotland AM
Ben Wood, Leeds AM
Rachel Muers, Leeds AM
Simon Gray, Central England AM
Ben Pink Dandelion, Pendle Hill AM
Craig Barnett, Sheffield and Balby AM
Matthew Moore, Northumbria AM
Eleri Pengelly, South London AM
Catherine James, North Wales AM
Jennifer Kavanagh, London West AM
Joycelin Dawes, North London AM
Mary Woodward, South East Scotland AM