History of Liberal Quakerism

Liberal Quakerism has both a distinguished history and a Distinctive religious message. But overall, liberal Quakers have not done well either at recalling this history or declaring the message. The work of remembering our history and rethinking our faith is of continuing importance for liberal Friends. In a time of resurgent conservatism, religious as well as political, this effort may be of particular use to those who are dissenters from this new Establishment. It can provide us with a “cloud of witnesses” from whom we can draw support and strength.

  • The Authenticity of Liberal Quakerism A concise explanation of why this Friend considers the liberal strand of Quaker history and thought a legitimate heir of early Quaker experience and thought.
  • Wiliam Rotch of Nantucket A Quaker Hero Rotch was a leading Friend in the Quaker community of Nantucket Island, and his story of faithfulness during the American and French Revolutions is a truly memorable story.
  • Inventory of the William Rotch Papers William Rotch, prominent shipowner and resolute Quaker friend, was born October 4, 1734 on Nantucket into a family already involved in whale fisheries. When the American Revolution erupted, Rotch maintained the pacificist stance of his Quaker religion, which in turn reflected the official policy of neutrality adopted by Nantucket.
  • Isaac and Amy Post Family Papers The collection contains a large amount of subject material related to the Post's activities in the abolitionist, spiritualist, and women’s rights movement. Isaac Post, born in Westbury, Long Island, N.Y., in 1798, and Amy Kirby Post, born in Jericho, Long Island in 1802, were both Hicksite Quakers after the Separation of 1827, and as 19th century "free thinkers" were concerned with most of the important social movements of their day.
  • Hannah Barnard — a Liberal Quaker Hero The roll of liberal Quaker heroes and heroines is long and notable, but in my mind one name, that of Hannah Barnard, always seems to move to the front of the list. It is as if her spirit elbows her way past many another better-known figure and demands priority attention.
  • Joel & Hannah Bean — Reluctant Rebels Historical currents combined with their character to make of the Beans perhaps the key figures, indeed the founders, of the modern liberal Quaker ethos. "Beanite Quakerism" is the term coined by Geoffrey Kaiser, a penetrating amateur Quaker historian, to describe the modern liberal branch of the Society, and once their role is clear, the accuracy of the term should be evident.
  • Lucretia Mott, Liberal Quaker Theologian How a woman minister set the course and the content of most US liberal Quaker theology, and why she has not received her proper recognition as a seminal figure in our religious history.
  • “Edward Hicks” Speaks– A Specimen of Quaker Theology In Transition, 1852 Quaker "Spirits" Speak -- Two "messages," purportedly from George Fox and Edward Hicks, delivered by Isaac Post, a Quaker medium in 1852. This one is about Edward Hicks. Excellent specimens of Progressive Quaker theology.
  • “George Fox” Speaks Quaker “Spirits” Speak — This time, the 'spirit' speaking through medium, Isaac Post in 1852 is George Fox. This is another excellent specimen of Progressive Quaker theology.
  • The Exposition of Sentiments, 1853 This is the seminal manifesto of the "Progressive Friends" movement, which quietly but decisively shaped the direction and agenda of contemporary liberal unprogrammed Quakerism. Although previously obscure, not to say forgotten, this is a crucial landmark in intra-Quaker apologetic.
  • Landmark: Manchester 1895 Seventy years after Hannah Barnard was rebuked and sent packing by London Yearly Meeting, British Friends were still getting in trouble for openly challenging evangelical dogmas.
  • Divine Protection through Extraordinary Dangers Goff and her family lived through the ordeal of rebellion and massacre in Ireland in 1798. This amazing memoir is priceless both for its place in the long, sad history of British colonization of Ireland, and its more uplifting place in the saga of the Quaker Peace Testimony applied in situations where its implications and cost were unmistakably clear.
  • Consensus Statement from A Seminar in Quaker Theology Seminar participants worked in small groups an various theological issues, and produced brief statements which expressed their present convictions. These statements, which met with a broad degree of agreement, have been combined here as a "consensus document." This is a provisional, working statement, useful for further discussion and study, and is not to be confused with dogma or any kind of creedal declaration.
  • Friends’ Ecclesiology and The Quaker-Wide Web Ecclesiology, the nature of the church, is a bubbling issue among American Friends today, at least of the unprogrammed variety. Almost anywhere you care to look, Yearly Meetings are struggling with their structures, worrying about staff or no staff, laying down or propping up committees, taking corporate sabbaticals, and so forth. This is a very interesting process, and for any individual body, it’s not possible to predict how or when it will reach some conclusion or at least stability.
  • “Godless For God’s Sake: Nontheism In Contemporary Quakerism”* — A Review What have we come to in Friends religious thought, when the most exciting book of Quaker theology I’ve read in years is produced by a bunch of Quaker non-theists–twenty-seven in all?
  • A Great Deep: The Peace Testimony and Historical Realism By Chuck Fager Walking in the Way of Peace: Quaker Pacifism in the Seventeenth Century. Meredith Baldwin Weddle. Oxford University Pres, 2001 British Quakerism 1860-1920: the Transformation of a Religious Community. Thomas C. Kennedy. Oxford University Press, 2001. Re-examing Quaker Peace Testimony In our current circumstances, few tasks are more urgent for Friends than to reexamine and reaffirm our ...