For more than three hundred years, Friends have acted upon shared concerns through practices which historically have been distinctive and definitive. While the specifics of Friends’ practice have varied as times have changed, Friends today continue to have concerns and underlying beliefs similar to those of past generations. The word testimonies is used to refer to this common set of deeply held, historically rooted attitudes and modes of living in the world.
The advices collected in Faith & Practice concerning how we live our lives seek to avoid rigid definitions of our evolving testimonies. Rather, these testimonies are presented within the areas of our lives where they are likely to emerge, as a reference to actions Friends may be called to take. It is just as likely, however, that we will be challenged in different ways to live out such key Quaker testimonies as equality, peace, simplicity, stewardship, and integrity. To see the section of Faith & Practice that focuses on our testimonies, please click here.
Friends have assessed the state of this religious society through the use of queries since the time of George Fox. Rooted in the history of Friends, the queries reflect the Quaker way of life, reminding Friends of the ideals we seek to attain. From the Christian tradition, Friends have taken as a standard the life and teaching of Jesus, not only as recorded in the New Testament, but even more importantly as revealed inwardly, as we seek God’s truth and its expression through our lives today. Friends approach queries as a guide to self-examination, using them not as an outward set of rules, but as a framework within which we assess our convictions and examine, clarify, and consider prayerfully the direction of our lives and the life of the community.
To see a collection of queries currently embraced by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, please see this section of the PYM website.