The March 2020 issue looks at “Unnamed Quaker Creeds.”
Unprogrammed Friends will often tell visitors we have no creeds or set practices in worship. Our worship is spontaneous, open-ended, and free to follow the unexpected promptings of the Living Spirit. But in practice, this isn’t exactly true. There are all sorts of expectations and unwritten rules when we come together First-day mornings. Who can give ministry? How long should a message go? What themes should it follow? What time does worship end?
There are also unwritten rules about our behavior and conduct. What if we talk too loudly or share our beliefs too strenuously? Do our individual tastes in clothes, music, politics fit the meeting? What are the divides between core Quaker faith and optional Quaker culture?
The March issue is our chance to look at unwritten rules and social conformities and question any that may be making our meeting spaces unfriendly to newcomers. What boundaries do we need to make more explicit? What practices do we need to make less mandatory? How do we need to change to be more accessible? And in what ways do newcomers feel they have to change to fit us?
Different flavors of Friends have answered these questions differently. Programmed Friends have more explicit worship structures. They’re also more comfortable making creedal statements like the Richmond Declaration of Faith. How have these tools helped ground the spiritual community? What new problems have they perhaps created?
We hope this issue will be especially helpful for us all to think about including new visitors. And as always, the ideas on this page are just suggestions. We’re happy to read whatever readers think about the issue of unnamed Quaker creeds. Submissions due December 9, 2019.