practical advice for seekers Quaker Religious Society of Friends
Also see:
  • Recommended Reading for Seekers
  • Spiritual Practices for Isolated Friends
  • Recommended Reading for Isolated Friends

Practical Advice for Those Seeking Quakers


As those who at sea are held by an anchor, pull at the anchor yet do not drag it to them, but rather drag themselves to the anchor; so those who according to the life of spiritual knowledge try to draw God toward them imperceptibly bring themselves to God.
Clement of Alexandria (~150-215 AD)

1. Pray

Sit in solitary silence with God. Listen to thy Inward Teacher and learn to hear what thee is being guided to do. Quakerism is an experiential religion, built on the belief that we can each of us experience God directly, discern God's will for us directly, and use God's strength to do as he wishes. Prayer is our link with God, and it is fundamental to any pursuit of the Life and the Way.

2. Read

Download from Quaker Jane:

  • A Strength in Weakness manifested &c., by Elizabeth Stirredge (1634-1706), (320 KB pdf) (I typed this document from an ancient copy lent to me by PJ Burns, with my gratitude.)
  • A Legacy or Widow's Mite, by Alice Hayes (1657-1720), (I typed this document from a photocopy of an ancient copy.) (260 KB pdf)
  • A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume One, by Thomas Clarkson, originally published 1806, (617 KB pdf)
  • A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume Two, by Thomas Clarkson,originally published 1806, (630 KB pdf)
  • A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume Three, by Thomas Clarkson,originally published 1806, (634 KB pdf)

    Elsewhere on the web:

    For the Heart:

    • The Journal of George Fox
      Available online and as a download.
      Should be required reading of anyone who would call themselves "Friend" or "Quaker." I would avoid the Rufus Jones edition, if possible.
    • The Works of Isaac Penington
      Available online.
      A much-loved Quaker writer.
    • The Autobiography of Mary Penington
      Available online
      She doesn't get as much attention as her husband, but her autobiography is powerful reading.
    • Strength in Weakness Manifest, by Elizabeth Stirredge
      Available online
    • Journals of John Woolman
      Available online.
      Quaker classic. A little more difficult, but an inspiring account of a Spirit-filled life.
    • The Concurrence and Unanimity of the People Called Quakers
      Friends interested in purchasing this book can either go through Amazon, or contact Terry Wallace by e-mail at thswallace(at)aol.com. He will dispatch copies and bill the buyers--thee doesn't have to send the money up-front. The volume is $15 plus $2 postage and handling.
      See my full review of this book of early Quaker sermons.
    • A Testament of Devotion, Thomas R. Kelly
      Purchase from Amazon.
      Quaker classic. Very readable and inspiring.
    • A Plain Life: Walking My Belief, Scott Savage
      Purchase from Amazon.
      Readable sharing of one modern plain Quaker's journey following a leading.

    For the Head:

    • The Journal of George Fox
      Available online and as a download.
    • Apology for the True Christian Divinity, Robert Barclay
      Available online.
      The book for Conservative Quaker theology. Avoid the Dean Freiday "modern English" version, which does a great deal more than just translate the English into modern. Freiday himself says, "It was decided to treat the original as if it were a manuscript submitted to an editor today. Where the pace needed acceleration, abridgement would be used." Sigh. For a fuller documentation of the weakness of the Freiday version, see "An Examination of a Book Entitled Barclay's Apology in Modern English, Edited by Dean Freiday," by Larry Kuenning.
    • Catechism and Confession of Faith, Robert Barclay
      Shorter but pithy discussion of the Quaker faith, available online.
    • A Portraiture of Quakerism, Thomas Clarkson
      Available online
      A thorough discussion of Quakerism as lived and practiced by Friends in England around 1800.
    • Primitive Christianity Revived . . ., William Penn
      Available online
      A thorough discussion of the Quaker Christian witness.
    • Quaker Strongholds, by Caroline Emelia Stephen
      Available online
    • Essays on the Quaker Vision of Gospel Order, Lloyd Lee Wilson
      Purchase from Amazon.
      This book helped me feel more confident and affirmed in my religious experiences as a Conservative Quaker.

    3. Connect

    I highly recommend getting a subscription to "The Conservative Friend," a publication of Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends, published four times a year. The value of the subscription is $10 per year. Send donation made out to "The Conservative Friend" to Elvina Krekler, 1187 State Hwy 250, Adena, OH 43901. Any excess over $10 that a person contributes for a given year's subscription is probably tax deductible, because TCF is a publication of Ohio Yearly Meeting. It includes articles about Conservative Quaker faith and practice as well as a listing of Scheduled Meetings for Worship of Conservative Friends. Some older issues happen to be online at: http://www.conservativefriend.org/oympublications.htm.

    Also available is a newsletter called "Foundation Papers." Published Quarterly. In the US send $10 for a year or $18 for 2 years subscription to: The New Foundation Fellowship (USA), Patricia Dallmann, Treasurer, The George Fox Fund, Inc., 144 Seville St., Philadelphia, PA, 19127. In the UK send 4 pounds for 4 issues to Sarah Eilbeck, 11 Almond Close, Abbeydale, Gloucester, GL4 5XY.

    Thee can also go see what is going on in the "Quaker blogosphere" via Martin Kelley's Quaker Quaker online community. I do, now, spend time, as I feel led, on QuakerQuaker, but let me emphasize my strong reservations about the nature of the conversations that can arise and sometimes emotionally erupt. I find the volatility of online blog discussions and groups troubling and only go where the Lord strengthens me to go. Bill Samuel offers a list of some of the Quaker web groups that are out there and his thoughts on their nature and tenor. Quaker.org, which has an encyclopedic listing of Quaker and Quaker-related websites. QuakerInfo.org which describes itself as a Quaker Information Center and as a "gateway" to Quakerism. There is also a page listing Quaker "Christian renewal" opportunities.

    Other Plain and Conservative Quaker Websites

    4. Attend

    QuakerMaps.com has an impressively comprehensive list of Quaker churches and meetings at:http://www.quakermaps.com/

    Consider attending the Wider Gathering of Conservative Friends. Here is info on the 2010 Gathering. They are held even-numbered years at Barnesville, OH, and odd-numbered years in different places. A good place to check for the more information is the Conservative Friend News and Events page.

    For more on the use of Church vs. Meeting among Quakers, see my Glossary of Quaker Terms and Phrases.
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    practical advice for seekers Quaker Religious Society of Friends
    practical advice for seekers Quaker Religious Society of Friends
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    daily george fox quote

    Ep. 130

    "The Power of God is the Cross of Christ"

    THEREFORE all Friends, Keep in the Power, and know the Power of God in one another, and the Life, that stands in God; that out of all Dryness and Barrenness ye may be brought, and kept in the Living and Eternal spirit and Power. And so, the God of Glory keep you from the Evil, that is in the World, . . . And when that ye are Met together in the Light, hearken to it, that ye may feel the Power of God in every one of you. So here comes your Ear to be opened to hear the Counsel of the Lord God; and here the ...

    ... view full quote



    Quaker Jane's
    Recommended Reading


    I am not Amish or Mennonite, but some people who come to my website are interested in knowing more about these groups. I can recommend these books as authoritative and relatively inexpensive sources of further information.


    An Introduction to Conservative and Old Order Mennonite Groups




    Living Without Electricity title=

    (More Recommended Reading
    on Amish and Mennonites . . .)