PRELUDE: Two Documents From Discussion held at FGC in Richmond, Indiana, July, 1979

Chuck Fager [INTRODUCTORY NOTE: These discussions were sparked by an event that is unmentioned in these documents: the publication in The New Republic magazine of a cover story by Stephen Chapman called “Shot From Guns: the Lost Pacifism of the Quakers,” in its June 9, 1979 issue. The piece was especially critical of AFSC. I […]

ONE: “Truly Radical, Non-violent, Friendly Approaches”(1): Challenges to the American Friends Service Committee

H. Larry Ingle Reprinted from Quaker History, Volume 105, Number 1, Spring 2016. Published by Friends Historical Association Nearly twenty-five years ago, on the occasion of the American Friends Service Committee’s seventy-fifth anniversary, Swarthmore College historian J. William Frost published a scholarly examination of the group’s early history. In his second paragraph, Frost stressed that […]

TWO: From Supporter to Friendly Critic: How AFSC Changed Me

H. Larry Ingle Friends learn from experience, actually from a dialogue with experience; at its best, the dialogue is actually a trialogue with God’s Spirit an essential third participant. That’s what happened to me as I reflect back on my encounters with the American Friends Service Committee.     A fairly recent convinced Friend, in 1976 […]

FIVE: “Speak Truth to Power:” A Thirty Years Retrospective (1985)

H. Larry Ingle When the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) published “Speak Truth to Power” in the spring of 1955, it did two important things, one advertent, one inadvertent. The authors intended to, and did, produce the most lucid pacifist tract ever penned in the United States; they probably did not intend to, but nevertheless […]

SEVEN: A Flicker of Hope: A Friendly Letter

Written & published by Chuck Fager Issue Number SevenTenth Month 1981 Dear Friend, On the 30th of Ninth Month [1981], near the Oregon coast, a meeting took place which could be very important for the future of American Quakerism. The two top executives of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Board Chairman Stephen Cary and […]

EIGHT: Another False Dawn: AFSC, 1991-1992

A Friendly Letter, Written & published by Chuck Fager, Issue #127, 12th Month 1991 As the Corporation and Board of the American Friends Service Committee gathered for its annual meeting on 11/15-17, AFSC was on the brink of important change: A new Board clerk has taken hold. A new Executive Secretary, the most pivotal Quaker […]

NINE: Introduction to Quaker Service at the Crossroads – 1988

Chuck Fager Introduction There’s an old Quaker joke: a young woman attends her first business meeting as an adult member, looking to make her mark, and sits next to a weighty older Friend in a grey bonnet who is knitting quietly. An agenda item comes up which requires nominations to a new committee; the young […]

NINE: Introduction to Quaker Service at the Crossroads – 1988

Chuck Fager There’s an old Quaker joke: a young woman attends her first business meeting as an adult member, looking to make her mark, and sits next to a weighty older Friend in a grey bonnet who is knitting quietly. An agenda item comes up which requires nominations to a new committee; the young Friend […]

TEN: Gilbert White & AFSC: A Letter to the Editor, Friends Journal, 2006

H. Larry Ingle & Chuck Fager (Published in the April 2006 issue.) Dear Editor, We were very disappointed in Margaret Bacon’s review of the biography of Gilbert White, Living With Nature’s Extremes. The reviewer dismissed with a throwaway comment the deep concerns Gilbert White developed about the direction and governance of the American Friends Service […]

ELEVEN: Can the AFSC Get Its Quaker Groove Back?

By Chuck Fager Adapted from Quaker Theology, Issue #18, 2010-2011 I: The Background of a Concern What we’ve dubbed “The Great Quaker Turnover” has been rolling through Quakerism over the past year. Practically all the “alphabet soup” Friends groups have been changing their top executives: FUM, QUNO, FCNL, FGC, FWCC, Friends Journal. Several top posts […]