Fifteenth Street Monthly Meeting

Religious Society of Friends

Outline of Exploring Quakerism Class for 2010

The following is an outline of the Exploring Quakerism Class as it will be presented at Fifteenth Street Meeting in 2010.

All sessions will begin informally (bring coffee and sandwiches if you wish) at 6:30 p.m. Actual presentations will begin at 7:00 p.m. and each session will end at 9:00 p.m. The sessions will take place in the ibooks room of the Friends Seminary Library.

To register for the sessions (which will be free of charge), email Rich Accetta-Evans at or sign up at a table in the Common Room on Sunday after Meeting for Worship.

Topics by Session:

Session 1 April 6: The First Appearance of Quakerism: A Faith so Old it was New.

  • Historical Background in 17th Century England
  • Recovery of “primitive Christianity” and critique of established churches
  • Beginnings of the Testimonies
  • Documents:
    • An excerpt from George Fox’s Journal
    • An excerpt from Margaret Fell
    • An excerpt from Francis Howgill’s memoir about the early Quaker awakening
    • Advices from the elders at Balby

Session 2 April 13: Ways of Worship.

  • Unprogrammed worship in so-called “Liberal” and so-called “Conservative” Quakerism (plus an explanation of those two terms)
  • Programmed and Semi-Programmed Pastoral meetings.
  • What is a “Message” appropriate for Meeting?
  • Documents:
    • Thomas Kelly’s leaflet: “The Gathered Meeting”
    • Ruth Pitman’s “On the Vocal Ministry”
    • Hugh Barbour’s “Five Tests for Discerning a True Leading”

Session 3 April 20: Life-Style Ideals (Personal Testimonies)

  • Integrity in Personal Life
  • Simplicity/Plainness/Humility
  • Courageous Non-Violence
  • Acting Fairly and Without Discrimination
  • Practicing Forgiveness.
  • Documents:
    • A passage from John Woolman’s Journal
    • Others to be determined.

Session 4 April 27: Witness and Service (Public Testimonies)

  • The Testimony Against War
    • Declaration to Charles II
    • Conscientious objection through the centuries
    • The ministry of reconciliation
    • Public protests against war and warlike measures from the 17th century through the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Relief of Suffering
  • The Rights of Women
  • Work Against Racism (within and without)
  • Earth-care Witness
  • Documents
    • To be determined.

Session 5 May 2: The Life of 15th Street Meeting.

  • Public worship
  • The meaning of membership
  • Business procedure (decisions without voting)
  • Committee Service
  • Conflicts and Conflict Transformation
  • Weddings, Memorials, and other special events.
  • Documents:
    • To be determined.

Session 6 May 9: The Wider Quaker Movement:

  • Our Sister Meetings in New York City
  • The Quarterly and Yearly Meetings
  • Friends World Committee for Consultation
  • Young Friends of North America
  • The “branches” of Quakerism
    • Friends General Conference
    • Friends United Meeting
    • Evangelical Friends
    • Conservative Yearly Meetings
  • Quaker Service Organizations:
    • American Friends Service Committee
    • Friends Committee on National Legislation
    • Quaker United Nations Office

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