Early Friends felt an irresistable imperative to share their
own powerful lived experience of a close present-day relationship with God with
the world. Ministers traveled up
and down England and abroad sharing their vision and practices. Although Friends stopped growing at an
exponential rate after the Act of Toleration in 1688, Friends continued in many
instances to hold public religious meetings for non-Friends and write tracts for non-Friends
well into the 19th century.
(Evangelical Friends, of course, continue to do so today.)
Many of us feel deeply blessed by our own experience of
God's presence in our own lives and that of our meetings.
sharing about this with others mean that we believe we have the only right way
to experience God?
we feel we are the only ones who deserve this experience?
we still have a message for the world?
called on us to put our lights on a lampstand rather than under a bushel - is
the situation different today?
there millions of people around the world who might long to hear and experience
what we have found to be deeply important and true?
What are we afraid of?
Challenge to 21st Century Quakerism
This is a 2002 Friends Journal article that I wrote on the 350th
anniversary of George Fox's sermon to a thousand seekers that many consider the
unofficial beginning of the Quaker movement. The essay focuses on
Friends' need to overcome fears of outreach to those outside our spiritual
community, of spiritual authority, and of shared disclosure and accountability
within our local meeting communities.
Men & Women with a Message of Power 1912 quote from William Braithwaite & Henry Hodgson.
On Travel Under Religious Concern (or "Traveling Ministry"):
Religious Concern describes the Quaker understanding of what it
means to be called to carry out religious ministry away from home & the
specific practices that Friends have evolved to support this work.
Engaging with a Monthly Meeting about Ministry is an Friends Journal article by Debbie Humphries on her request for a traveling minute from her meeting and their response.
to FGC Traveling Ministries Program on the 2002 Alaska Friends Conference by Cathy Walling. This is a report on healing & forgiveness that occurred
unexpectedly as a result of a traveling minister's visit to a Friends gathering.