glossary is indebted to the glossaries in Pacific Yearly Meeting’s
1985 Faith and Practice, and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s
1997 Faith & Practice.
advices – brief
reminders of the basic faith and principles held to be
essential to the life and witness of Friends. They are intended to
guidance, caution and counsel to Monthly Meetings and their members.
Often, each month a Meeting considers one advice and its accompanying
the manner of Friends – following the practices of Friends,
formally within the structure of Friends Meetings or organizations;
used for weddings which look like Quaker weddings but are not under
the care of a Meeting.
affirmation – a
legal declaration provided for Friends and others who, as a
matter of conscience, refuse to take (or swear) judicial oaths.
attender – one
who attends a Meeting, but is not a formal member.
member – a Friend recorded at birth on the membership
a Meeting (not a practice of Pacific Yearly Meeting); sometimes informally
used to mean a Friend born of Quaker parents.
Meeting – <see closing Meeting>.
Meeting – a Meeting for Worship on the Occasion of Business
by its Clerk at a non-regular time, usually for the purpose of considering
particular issue or item of business.
down – to clear one’s mind and settle down during
the initial stage of
worship, becoming spiritually focused so as to be open to the leading
clearness – confidence
that an action is consistent with divine will.
committee – a number of Friends who gather to help
achieve confidence of God’s guidance in his/her
life about a certain decision
or course of action.
Clerk – the
person responsible for administering a Friends committee,
Monthly Meeting or other body and sensitive to the guidance of the
in the conduct of the business of that body.When “the Clerk” is
used on its
own, it usually refers to the Presiding Clerk of a Meeting for Worship
Business. Monthly Meetings also often have a Recording Clerk responsible
for recording the minutes.
meeting – when a Friend (usually previously designated)
Meeting for Worship by shaking or clasping the hands of the closest
Friends. These Friends in turn shake or clasp hands with other neighbors.
concern – a
quickening sense of the need to do something about a situation
or issue in response to what is felt to be a direct
intimation of God’s
consensus – a
decision or opinion to which no one in the decision-making
body dissents, as distinct from unity and sense of the Meeting, though
used erroneously by Friends as a synonym for these terms.
Friends – three unaffiliated Yearly Meetings — Iowa,
Carolina and Ohio — call themselves Conservative.
Historically, they share
John Wilbur’s objections to the pastoral
system. At the same time they are,
in general, more explicitly Christ-centered than most western or other
unprogrammed Meetings affiliated with Friends General Conference.
continuing revelation – a belief that the revelation of God’s
will is ongoing.
convener – a
member of a committee who is asked to set up committee
meetings until a Clerk has been identified. Also, the correspondent
contact person of a Worship Group.
Friend – a person whose experience of Friends ways
has led him/
her to become a member of the Religious Society of Friends; often used
describe a Friend who was not raised a Quaker.
corporate – descriptive
of the collective body of a Friends Meeting or
organization (as distinct from individual).
Meeting – <see
discernment – the
process of seeking and discovering that which is deeply
Discipline – 1)
formerly, the Faith and Practice of a Yearly Meeting was
called its Discipline. 2) related to discipleship: the practices and
thought of a particular path, teacher, or historical tradition.
elder – (1)
verb, to support and encourage members or attenders in
the flowering of spirit-led ministry (and discourage behavior and speech
which inhibits such ministry). This leadership can include logistical
support, honest feedback, prayer, and helping with spiritual discernment.
(2) noun, sometimes used to refer to one who has been chosen to provide
ongoing eldering to support the ministry of one Friend. Historically,
were appointed to foster the life of the Meeting and individuals in
Epistle – a
public letter of greeting and ministry. Such letters are sent from
a Friends Meeting or organization to other Friends groups, to supply
spiritual insight, and encouragement.
Meeting – a Meeting for Worship or Business in which
present feel deeply united in the Divine Presence.
order – those procedures for the conduct of Friends business
witness that encourage a Meeting or Friends organization to carry out
corporate activities under
divine leading. The term “rightly
ordered” is also
used in this sense.
in the Light – to desire that divine guidance and healing
will be present
to an individual who is in distress or faces a difficult situation;
also, to give
prayerful consideration to an idea.
Light – a term that represents the direct, unmediated
the Divine. Similar terms used in Quaker writings include Christ Within,
Light of Christ, Inward Light, Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth, Divine
Seed, Guide, Inward Teacher, and that of God in every person.
with – an effort by two or more Friends to struggle with
a concern and
seek a resolution or a sense of how to proceed.
down – to discontinue a committee or activity when its
completed or no longer felt spiritually vital; occasionally a Monthly
or other Friends organization may be laid down when it is no longer
over – to
postpone the consideration
an issue or the
a report from one Meeting for Business to another.
leading – a
sense of being called by God to undertake a specific course
action. A Friend may submit a leading to the Meeting for testing by
wisdom. A leading often arises from a concern.
of introduction – a letter from the Clerk, prepared
at the request
Friend who is preparing to travel. The letter often includes the fact
the home Meeting,
greetings to other Meetings and Friends bodies. This letter does not
require formal consideration of the Meeting. It is often endorsed by
visited. (See Appendix 5a.) See also travel minute, which is not the
a letter of introduction.
Friend – <see
of Christ – since the formation of the Religious Society
many Friends have believed in the existence of the Christ Spirit, which
available to guide all people regardless of whether they know of or
in the teachings of the historical Jesus. See also Inner Light.
the Light – a reminder to seek the guidance of the Inner
leadings and to nurture
minister – (1)
in a Spirit-led manner; one who has evoked God in another. Friends
that we are all ministers to each other. See also recorded Ministers.
ministry – speech
or behavior which is Spirit-led, which touches the hearts
in service to individuals, to the Meeting, or the larger community.
also vocal ministry.
minute – a
record of a corporate decision by a Friends body convened
business. “The minutes” also
and their narrative accompaniment which form the records for a Meeting
for Worship for Business, committee, or Friends organization.
of Travel – <see
Meeting – (1)
a congregation of Friends who meet regularly
worship and to conduct corporate business; (2) a monthly gathering
of such a body for Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business.
to speak – led by the Spirit to speak, especially in
opening – a
new spiritual opportunity or leading.
Overseers – members
of the Oversight or Ministry and Oversight
Committee, appointed by the Meeting to give pastoral care and nurture
attenders. Because “overseer” is
associated with slavery,
many contemporary Friends
choose not to use it.
Meeting – <see programmed Meeting>.
dress – the witness of early Friends to the testimonies
of equality and
simplicity by dressing simply, in undecorated garments. A few Conservative
Friends still wear plain dress.
speech – (1) the witness of early Friends to the testimonies
and integrity by speaking plainly to all, regardless of social status.
of “thee, thy, thou, thine” for
instead of observing
of using “you” for
status. Friends continue
the practice of plain
speech by using full
given names and
no titles when addressing others. (2) the Friendly habit of speaking
truthfully about a subject, without rhetoric or sentimentality.
Meeting – (1) a body of Friends, under the care
and guidance of
an established Monthly Meeting, preparing to become a Monthly Meeting;
(2) in Britain Yearly Meeting (and historically), Friends in one Monthly
Meeting commonly worship in several smaller Preparative Meetings which
also “prepare” business to be brought before the Monthly
opens – to
hasty judgment or action, and moving ahead as circumstances allow.
Meeting – (1)
a Meeting for Worship with a prearranged sequence of events, usually
including music, an offering, a sermon,
etc. Programmed Meetings are often led by a pastor, and often include
of open worship in which any Friend may minister out of the silence.
Also called a pastoral meeting. (2) a particular Meeting for Worship
a prearranged theme or program, such as a memorial or a wedding.
Quaker – originally
a derogatory term for Friends, coined because
excitement of spirit when led to speak was sometimes expressed in a
shaking or quaking motion. Now this term is simply an alternative
designation for a member of the Religious Society of Friends, more
dialogue – a
groups. See also worship-sharing.
Meeting – a
regional gathering of members of
Monthly Meetings, traditionally on four occasions each year. In Pacific
Yearly Meeting, the Quarterly Meetings meet three times a year, and
then all Friends in the Yearly Meeting are invited to attend the Annual
of the Yearly Meeting.
queries – a
set of questions, based on Friends practices and
which are considered by Meetings and individuals as a way of both guiding
and examining individual and corporate lives and actions. Queries to
be considered regularly are included in Faith and Practice; others
be formulated by a committee or Meeting that seeks to clarify for
an issue it needs to address, or to invite other Friends to examine
and actions about a concern.
Minister – a
Friends Meetings may record as a Minister
who has a special gift of service to the Meeting or the community (rare
within Pacific Yearly Meeting). Such recognition is accompanied by
perhaps other forms of support as well. Historically, recorded Ministers were
acknowledged specifically for their gifts of vocal ministry.
Recorder – the
person appointed by a Meeting to maintain records
statistics about members and attendees of the Meeting. Also called
the Records Clerk, which is different from the Recording Clerk.
Clerk – one
who writes the minutes of decisions and
a Meeting for Worship for Business or other Friends decision-making body.
The Recording Clerk is an assistant to the Presiding Clerk, who
is ultimately responsible for creating minutes for the approval of
Meeting or other Friends body.
Friend – A Friend who has received the recognition
and support of
his/her Meeting to undertake religious service, often including traveling.
This may require the Meeting to take over responsibilities of the concerned
person while that person is away.
order – <see
of Meeting – (1) <see closing
meeting>; (2) the
Friends rise from
their seats, following the announcements and introductions that follow
the close of meeting.
seasoning – a
process of waiting (often one month) before committing
of the Meeting – an
expression of the unity of a Meeting
for Business on some issue or concern; the general recognition of
agreement within the Meeting about a matter, as articulated by the
Clerk or some other person.
to my/one’s condition – the
conviction that a message,
own deepest needs and purposes.
aside – an action taken by an individual who has genuine
reservations about a particular decision, but who also recognizes that
the decision is clearly supported by the weight of the Meeting. An
who stands aside frees the Meeting from continuing to labor with him/her
on the issue, and allows the Meeting to reach unity.
in the mind – a
clear uneasiness in the face of a
or action, and an unwillingness to concur with the proposal.
testimony – (1)
speech or action which derives from and demonstrates
deeply held beliefs; (2) a commonly held, fundamental belief of Friends
which has, over time, guided public speech and action, e.g., testimonies
of equality, simplicity, community, integrity, and unity.
minute – the
endorsement a Meeting gives to one of its
is traveling under the weight of a concern, usually expressed in a
letter which accompanies the traveler. <see
Appendix 5d>. <See also
Appendix 5a, letter of introduction, which
is different from a travel minute>.
the care of – describes
an activity, program or event
for which a
Meeting takes responsibility and to which it gives oversight; thus,
a marriage, a Preparative Meeting, and a school might each be said
be “under the care of” a Monthly Meeting.
the weight of – carrying a concern which is pressing
individual or a Meeting. A Meeting which is led to struggle about fair
is “under the weight” of
unity – the
objective of a Meeting for Worship for Business; within a gathered
group of Friends, the state of finding and recognizing a unified sense
Meeting – a
in silence, waiting for the guidance of the Holy Spirit; a Monthly
Meeting which holds Meetings for Worship in this manner.
ministry – the sharing of a message, prayer or song
during Meeting for
upon the Lord – to actively seek and attend to God’s
will in expectant
opens – <see proceed as way
Friend – an informal term for a Friend who is respected
spiritual depth, experience, or wisdom.
witness – to let one’s
actions and words spring from
deep convictions or
spiritual leadings. Many unprogrammed Friends do not talk often about
their beliefs, but allow their lives to bear witness to their beliefs.
Group – a group of worshipers who gather regularly
Friends practice, who may or may not have a formal affiliation with
a Monthly Meeting.
worship-sharing – a
structured worshipful experience in which
participants are invited to speak (usually to a query). Worship-sharing
provides an opportunity to reflect deeply on a topic, to build community
with others, and to feel the movement of the Spirit within the group.
<See also Quaker dialogue>.
Meeting – A body consisting of Monthly Meetings from
geographically extended area, whose members are invited to gather in
annual session to worship and conduct business together. This term
is also used to denote the total membership of the constituent Monthly
of a designated Yearly Meeting.