Revising Quaker faith & practice – the work of your Book of Discipline Revision Committee

In 2018 Britain Yearly Meeting in session agreed that the time was right for a revision of Quaker faith & practice, our ‘book of discipline’ – the outline of what it means to be a Quaker [think discipleship rather than whips and chains…]

After a lengthy process of discernment, your revision committee was appointed and began work in 2019. I am one of the two Scottish members of the committee, whose ages range from late teens to seventies and who live in all parts of mainland Britain.

We first met as a committee in May last year, and meet regularly for a weekend’s intense, challenging, and hugely rewarding hard work: we also have ‘homework’ – tasks to work on individually and in small groups in between these weekends.

It’s a massive task – the last revision process took ten years – and we don’t have a definite time by which we need to have finished. We have spent a lot of time discerning how we approach the work, how we work together, who’s good at what, and quite how we tackle this mammoth project. It’s very clear that we have to make sure that we not only describe HOW we are Quakers today, but also WHY we do the things we do; and ensure to the best of our ability that we reflect the diversity in Quakers today, and don’t exclude people. We are also considering the variety of forms the finished ‘book’ will take – yes, there will be a book, but there need to be other mediums for those people who for whatever reason can’t easily cope with a large amount of print in a heavy book.

As well as the ‘how to do things’ instruction part of the book, there will of course be what we call the ‘anthology’ section – writings by Quakers from earliest times to the present. We haven’t yet reached the point where we will be working on what to include in that section, but we invite you to send us pieces that you would like us to consider – they can be in the current book, or from somewhere else. You could also send suggestions for what you feel should be included or is missing from the current book. Your contributions can be in different formats – pictures, videos, poems etc – if you wish. They will all be kept safely until we are ready to start looking at them.

You can send them electronically using this link https://forms.quaker.org.uk/qfp-idea/

or email them to our secretary, Michael Booth at Friends House michaelsb@quaker.org.uk.

You can even send them to him by snailmail at Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ if you prefer!