Epistles, Minutes and Statements

These are all corporate statements from conferences or other groups that I had a direct hand in helping to draft, usually as a member of a conference or gathering's drafting committee.

1968 Richmond Declaration on the Draft & Conscription
  This declaration was made at the close of the National Friends Conference on the Draft & Conscription.  It provided strong support for Friends led to take the noncooperator or "resister" position on the draft and urged meetings to provide a wide variety forms of support for Friends taking this stance.  Up until this time most Friends bodies only supported corporately those taking the C.O. position.  The statement was often read at Quaker resisters' trials after it was issued.

Epistle from the 1985 World Gathering of Young Friends  This gathering of 300 YAFs from all branches of Friends and all corners of the world was extremely divided early in the week.  The gathering was strongly led by the Holy Spirit and able to agree on a strong statement that has been widely circulated among Friends since that time.

Epistle from Quaker Camp at Stillwater  This epistle was sent out from the first gathering of what is now known as "Quaker Spring" and focuses (like the WGYF epistle) on coming together to follow God's leading across differences in theological language and background.  The gathering was held in Barnesville, Ohio, in June 2007.

Closing Minute from Quaker Spring 2011   Sums up the experience of Friends at this gathering held at The Meeting School in Rindge, NH.  Focuses on the importance of willingness to share one's brokenness with other members of one's faith community.

Minute of Philadelphia YM Called Session on Climate Change.   I participated in this session and wrote a draft of the minute which was adopted with minor changes by this session. It appears towards the end of the Epistle from that session. 
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Quote that speaks to me

Death Cannot Kill What Never Dies

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They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it.  
Death cannot kill what never dies.  
Nor can spirits ever be divided that love and live in the same Divine Principle; the Root and Record of their friendship.
If absence be not death, neither is theirs.  
Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still.  
For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent.
In this Divine Glass, they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure.
This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.
 - William Penn, More Fruits of Solitude, 1702.

Note: This passage was quoted by J.K.Rowling as the epigraph of her novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Braithwaite on Outreach

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Men & Women with a Message of Power

It is as a "religion of life" that Quakerism will be presented in the future and is being presented now.

Its distinguishing note will be its resolve to bring all this human life of ours under the transforming power of spiritual life.  It will stand out against all divisions and compartments that separate the sacred from the secular, the sanctuary from the outward world of nature, the sacrament from the days' common work, the clergy from the laity. 

It will tell of a Christian experience that makes all life sacred and all days holy, all nature a sanctuary, all work a sacrament, and gives to every man and woman in the body fit place and service.  Its concern will be to multiply men and women who will have a message of power because they are themselves the children of light.  It will claim the whole of man's life, and the whole of life, individual, social, national international, for the dominion of the will of God.

William C. Braithwaite and Henry T. Hodgkin, The Message and Mission of Quakerism (Philadelphia, Winston, 1912), 25-26.

Recent Entries

Bangladesh Blockade
My wife, Phyllis Taylor, and I feel very fortunate to have been a small part of the freedom struggle that resulted in the independence of Bangladesh. I am very sorry to say that, during the war of independence, our own beloved country, the United States of America, was secretly sending military supplies to Pakistan which were used to kill and oppress citizens of what was then called East Pakistan. …
Biblical Roots of Quaker Worship
When our hearts are knit together in powerfully gathered waiting worship do we not enter into living water and drink deeply from it? What deeper spiritual refreshment could be available to us than this drawing on the living water that Christ offers us every time we gather with Friends to wait expectantly upon this gift? …
Charles Marshall Epistle
Who in your assemblies sometimes feel a testimony for the Lord to spring to your hearts, keep your watch in the light, that so none stay behind, nor run before. But let all that open their mouths in the assemblies of the Lord's people do it as the oracle of God in the arising of the eternal power. For nothing can beget to God but what comes from the word of life that lives & abides forever; and nothing can refresh, strengthen or comfort that which is begotten by the word of life but what springs from the same. …