Reading Quaker faith & practice
The Book of Discipline Revision Preparation Group invites you to join with us, and other Quakers across the country, in reading and getting to know our current Book of Discipline. We have discerned that this is an important preliminary step before a decision is sought about any possible revision.
We have written a calendar as a suggestion, a prompt, and an encouragement. We have asked Woodbrooke to provide supporting materials in line with this calendar through Being Friends Together, the online learning resource library they run with Quaker Life (available at http://together.woodbrooke.org.uk/ ). We will be publishing columns in the Friend and maintaining an online presence in time with the calendar. We suggest that you might like to use the calendar to guide your private reading and/or your Meeting's study group. We recognise, though, that it will not suit everyone: we invite you to participate in whatever way suits you best, in more or less of the reading as appropriate for you, to adapt to your needs and your Meeting's needs, and trust that you will attend to what love requires of you.
Update, September 2017: Recognising that the calendar has run its course but that you may still want to participate, and that the full calendar was daunting for many, we are now offering a four-month version in which suggested passages offer tasters of many parts of Quaker faith & practice. This short calendar is called Not Too Late and it can be started at any time.
Your responses to the reading can be kept private or in prayer, shared with your Meeting, offered in writing to one of our many Quaker publications, published online through your preferred platform, or emailed to the Group at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is, however, a learning exercise rather than a consultation. You are invited to share in the hope that it will help others with their reading and understanding, rather than to inform a decision directly.
The calendar includes every chapter in the book and some of the extra material. It puts more technical church government material alongside more personal and experiential material, and tries to give a manageable, varied, and sometimes surprising mixture of reading. It tries to balance the need to read the whole book in a reasonable period of time with an awareness of the other demands which communal and secular life place on Friends – to take an obvious example, the suggested reading for November 2016 is on our Peace Testimony, at a time when we predict many Friends will have those issues in their minds.
For every month's suggested reading, we hope that you will ask these questions:
- how do I react to this material?
- what does this material, and my reaction to it, tell me about the history and development of Quakerism?
- what authority do I give to this text?
- how does this speak to me today?
- what spiritual benefits do I gain from reading and reflecting on this?
The Book of Discipline Revision Preparation Group look forward to taking this journey with you and hearing about your explorations.