Faith & Practice

The book Faith and Practice attempts to communicate to members and inquirers the historic and continuing faith of Friends and to outline procedures to be followed by Meetings regarding membership, organization, and the conduct of their affairs, and the concerns of the Society. The 1985 book of Faith and Practice replaces earlier editions, which are now out of print.

 

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 in the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.  

Letter from the Meeting of Elders at Balby, 1656

 

Link to New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice online

 

TWELVE  QUERIES – Taken from Faith and Practice of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends 1985

 Friends have developed the Queries to assist us to consider prayerfully the true source of spiritual strength and the extent to which the conduct of our lives gives witness to our Christian faith. To these ends, the Queries should be read frequently in private devotions and regularly in monthly and quarterly meetings.

 In using these Queries, Meetings should be aware that our standards of conduct do not derive from an outward set of rules but rather from the life and teachings of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament, from the examples offered by the spiritual experiences and lives of those who have preceded us, and form our own encounters with that inward revelation through which “the way, the truth and the life” seek expression today.

 

Spiritual Life

Do you live in thankful awareness of God’s constant presence in your life? Are you sensitive and obedient to leadings of the Holy Spirit? Do you seek to follow Jesus, who shows us the way? Do you nurture your spiritual life with prayer and silent waiting and regular study of the Bible and other devotional literature?

Meeting for Worship

Are meetings for worship held in expectant waiting for divine guidance? Are you faithful and punctual in attendance?  Do you come in a spirit of openness with heart and mind prepared for communion with God? Do both silent and vocal ministries arise in response to the leading of the Holy Spirit? Do all other activities of your meeting find their inspiration in worship, and do they, in turn, help to uphold the worshipping group?

Meeting Business

Are meetings for business held in a spirit of worship and prayerful search for the way of Truth?  Are all members encouraged to use their talents in the service of the meeting? Do you undertake your proper share of the work and financial support of the meeting?

The Meeting Community

Do you love one another as becomes the followers of Christ? Do you share each others joys and burdens? When conflicts arise do you seek in mutual forgiveness and tenderness to resolve them speedily? Are you careful of the reputation of others? Do you seek beyond all differences of opinion and circumstance for unity in the divine life?

Outreach

Do you welcome inquirers and visitors to your meeting? Do you encourage their continued attendance and participation? Do you seek to share and interpret the faith of Friends and to cooperate with others in spreading the Christian message? Are you examples; do your lives preach among all sorts of people, and to them? Do you walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone?

Personal Conduct  

Do you live with simplicity, moderation and integrity? Are you punctual in keeping promises, careful in speech, just and compassionate in all your dealings with others? Do you take care that your spiritual growth is not sacrificed to busyness but instead integrates your life’s activities? Are your recreations consistent with Quaker values; do they refresh your spirit and renew your body and mind?

Home and Family

Do you make your home a place of friendliness, refreshment, and peace, where God becomes more real to those who live there and to all who visit there? Is worship a daily part of your personal and family life? Do you recognize marriage as a sacred, loving, and permanent relationship requiring mutual consideration and adjustments? Should conflict or crisis threaten the stability of the home, are you open to seeking all necessary help, both from your meeting and from the larger community?

Care of Children 

Do children receive the loving care of your meeting? Does the meeting nurture their religious life and give them an understanding of the principles and practices of Friends?  Are you an example to your children in your faithfulness to the ideals you profess?  Do you promote your children’s moral and spiritual development by loving oversight of their education, recreation and social activities?  Do you listen to children, recognizing that the spirit may lead them along paths you may not have foreseen?  Do you assist them to assume their rightful responsibilities in the home, the meeting and the community?

Stewardship

 Do you revere all life and the splendor of God’s continuing creation? Do you try to protect the natural environment and its creatures against abuse and harmful exloitation? Do you regard your posessions as given to you in trust, and do you part with them freely to meet the needs of others? Are you frugal in your personal life and committed to the just distribution of the world’s resources?

Vocations

Do you respect the value of all useful work, whether paid or unpaid, whether physical or intellectual, whether performed in the home or the larger community? Does your daily work use means and serve goals which are consistent with the teachings of Jesus? Are you honest and trustworthy in all business transactions, prompt and just in payment of debts? By counsel and example, do you encourage young people to enter vocations which will serve society?

Social Responsibilities

Do you respect the worth of every human being as a child of God? Do you uphold the right of all persons to justice and human dignity? Do you endeavor to create political, social, and economic institutions which will sustain and enrich the life of all? Do you fulfill all civic obligations which are not contrary to divine leadings? Do you give spiritual and material support to those who suffer for conscience’s sake?

Peace and Reconciliation

Do you “live in the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion of all wars?” Do you faithfully maintain Friends’ testimony against military preparations and all participation in war, as inconsistent with the teachings and spirit of Christ? Do you strive to increase understanding and use of non-violent methods of resolving conflicts?

Do you take your part in the ministry of reconciliation between individuals, groups and nations? When discourage, do you remember that Jesus said, “Pease is my parting gift to you, my own peace, such the world cannot give. Set your troubled hearts at rest, and banish your fears” John 14:27 NEB.