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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What is our "Faith and Practice"

After this sunday's Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, I had to search for just what "Faith and Practice" the book really is to Quakers. It seemed odd that a people who didn't have any creed would have "rules and regulations", and so to the web I go.

From what I can gather, it is a statement of how any particular yearly meeting is structured and the processes used within it.  It speaks of tradition within the yearly meeting and shares some spiritual truths as revealed to past Quakers. This quote from 1656 is meaningful, I believe, in placing value on FP's among Quakers:

Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all, with the measure of light which is pure and holy, may be guided: and so in the light walking and abiding, these may be fulfilled in the  Spirit, not from the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.
Advices from the elders at Balby, 1656
Britain Yearly Meeting 
Quaker faith & practice, 1995, §1.01 

The old English aside, it definitely says FP's are not rules and regulations. Some yearly meetings, our own included, do not have their our own Faith and Practice but refer to another yearly meeting's FP for guidance, putting even more distance between outlining traditions and serving as rules and regulations.

Peace, light and laughter. Sheila

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