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Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Meetings, service
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"Friends are not naive enough to believe that an appeal to 'that of God' in a dictator or in an [aggressive] nation... will necessarily be successful in converting the tyrant or preventing aggression. Christ was crucified. Gandhi was assassinated. Yet they did not fail. Nor did they leave behind them the hatred, devastation and bitterness that war, successful or unsuccessful, does leave. What can be claimed, moreover, is that this method of opposing evil is one of which no person, no group, no nation need be ashamed, as we may and should be ashamed of the inhumanities of war that are perpetrated in our name and with our support." Kathleen Lonsdale, (1953).

Religious groups:

Individual, autonomous congregations are still referred to as "Meetings". There are a number of geographically defined Yearly Meetings in North America. In Europe, a Yearly Meeting may comprise all congregations within a specific country.

bulletThe three main Quaker associations of yearly meetings in the United States link together about 800 yearly meetings:
bullet Evangelical Friends International (EFI) is composed of almost 300 Quaker congregations in North America, involving over 30,000 members. Worldwide, their membership is about 100,000.

bullet Friends General Conference links together about 500 meetings and worship groups, comprising some 35,000 members. They follow the original "unprogrammed" style of worship service, and are largely an outgrowth of the Hicksite movement. They publish the FGC Quarterly.

bullet Friends United Meeting coordinates 14 yearly meetings and includes about 60,000 members in North America, and 140,000 worldwide. They are an outgrowth of the "Orthodox" group. They publish a periodical, Quaker Life.
bulletThere is no similar association that links together conservative yearly meetings in the U.S. However, there are three independent conservative yearly meetings:
bullet Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative)

bullet North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative)

bullet Ohio Yearly Meeting. 5
bullet In Canada, there were two schisms -- in 1827 and 1860 -- which produced a total of three yearly meetings. In 1955, they decided to reunite and produce the Canadian Yearly Meeting.
bullet The Friends World Committee for Consultation is an international body centered in London, England. It was created:

"to act in a consultative capacity to promote better understanding among Friends the world over, particularly by the encouragement of joint conferences and intervisitation, the collection and circulation of information about Quaker literature and other activities directed towards that end."

About 60 Yearly Meetings and groups, representing more than 300,000 Friends, are affiliated with the FWCC. Representatives meet every three years at Triennials.

Finding a meeting near you:

bullet The Friends General Conference has a search facility that will find meetings in North America by address, postal code, etc. See:
bullet has an index of yearly, monthly and quarterly meetings. See:

Service and other organizations:

The Friends Service Council in the UK was established in 1927 as a result of the merger of a number of Friends' service organizations. The Council engages in three primary activities:

bullet Missionary work,
bullet International service promoting peace and understanding, and
bullet Relief work, often directed at helping people recover from natural famine and the devastation of war.

The American Friends Service Committee in the U.S. was organized in 1917 to help Quaker and other conscientious objectors perform alternative services during World War I. 1 After the war they were heavily engaged in providing relief services in various European countries. After World War II, they aided victims of Nazi oppression, refugees, lands devastated by famine, victims of the London blitz, etc. They engaged in relief and reconstruction in many European countries, as well as in India, China, and Japan. They aided refugees created by the partition of India; the wars in Palestine, Korea, Algeria & Nigeria; and the Hungarian Revolution. A major effort has been committed to working in the U.S. with Native Americans, Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, prisoners, migrant workers, and the poor. They promote peace and understanding in many ways. Some are: by bringing together diplomats, leaders and professionals from many countries in informal conferences; by educating the public about war and peace; and by establishing technical and social assistance programs in developing nations.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is the largest peace lobby in Washington, DC. It was organized in 1943 during World War II. "FCNL staff and volunteers work with a nationwide network of tens of thousands of people from many different races, religions, and cultures to advocate social and economic justice, peace, and good government." 4 As of early 2006, they have programs working in the area of the U.S. federal budget, civil liberties, energy, Iraq, Native American concerns, North Korea, Nuclear Disarmament, the weapons trade, etc. They publish a monthly publication, "FCNL Washington Newsletter," occasional "perspective" reports on major issues. booklets, brochures, a "War is not the answer" bumper stickers and yard signs, and a free weekly legislative alert. Their goals are:

"We seek a world free of war and the threat of war.
We seek a society with equity and justice for all.
We seek a community in which every person's potential may be fulfilled.
We seek an earth restored."

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In 1947, on approximately the 300th anniversary of its founding, the Religious Society of Friends shared the Nobel Peace Price in 1947 in recognition of its three centuries of promoting peace in the world. 2

"In making the presentation, Gunnar Jahn, chairman of the Nobel Committee, said, 'It is through silent assistance from the nameless to the nameless that they have worked to promote the fraternity between nations cited in the will of Alfred Nobel'." 3

He also said:

"It is now three hundred years since George Fox established the Society of Friends. ... The Quakers have shown us that it is possible to translate into action what lies deep in the hearts of many: compassion for others and the desire to help them - that rich expression of the sympathy between all men, regardless of nationality or race, which, transformed into deeds, must form the basis for lasting peace. For this reason alone the Quakers deserve to receive the Nobel Peace Prize today." 6

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Links to Quaker web sites:

bulletYearly meetings:
bulletThe Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) maintains a complete directory of Friends meetings, worldwide. See:
bullet FWCC Section of the Americas is at: They publish a semi-annual newsletter; see:

bullet The Friends General Conference (FGC) is an affiliation of U.S. liberal, mostly unprogrammed meetings. Their web site is at 

bullet The Friends United Meeting (FUM) is an U.S. affiliation of mostly pastoral or semi-programmed meetings. See:

bullet Evangelical Friends Church - Mid America Yearly Meeting. See:

bullet Evangelical Friends International. See

bullet The Canadian Yearly Meeting is at:

bullet Southeastern Yearly Meeting is at:

bullet Others are listed at:
bullet The Hamilton Monthly Meeting in Hamilton ON Canada. See:

bullet The Montreal Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. See: 

bullet The Ohio Yearly Meeting of Conservative Friends has local congregations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Their web site is at:

bullet The South Belfast Quakers  "... is an active Meeting with approximately 45 adult members and attenders worshipping together each Sunday. See:

bullet The Space Coast Monthly Meeting of Friends, on Florida's East Central Coast is at:
bulletInformation sources:
bullet The Quaker Information Center " on behalf of eight member organizations and seven associate members to answer questions from Friends and non-Friends alike, directing inquirers to information and resources from and about the Society of Friends." See:

bullet Evangelical Friends Church Southwest has a very useful site which describes beliefs, policies, and practices found in the Quaker Evangelical wing. See: They have a video on the life of George Fox at:

bullet The Quaker Electronic Archive is at:

bullet An autobiography of George Fox is at:

bullet A personal site, the Religious Society of Friends is at:

bullet The Canadian Friends Historical Society is at:

bullet The Tampa Bay Peace Education Program is at:

bullet The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is the largest peace lobby in Washington, DC. It was founded in 1943. See:

bullet Quakers Online is a Canadian conservative Quaker web site for "Friends who would like to build new relationships, [and]...for seekers, online searchers.... with genuine interest in Quaker beliefs and values, but who have no opportunity for fellowship." See:

Quaker publishers, and publishers of Quaker material:

bullet Friends Journal is "An independent, international monthly magazine of current Quaker thought and life." See:

bullet Quakers Uniting in Publications (QUIP) is " international network of over 50 Friends organizations and individuals concerned with the ministry of the written word." See:

bullet Blot Publishing is a UK group active providing a self-publishing and website design service. See:

bullet Boundless Books publishes "...unabridged classics on audio cassette." See:

bullet Canmore Press publishes books and assists self-publishing of books, newsletters and web sites by individuals and groups. See:

bullet David Chandler Company provides "Quality software and publications for astronomy and astronomy education." See:

bullet Intentional Productions publishes "stories of courage, human responses to adversity and evil." See:

bullet interFriend Publisher is a personal web site of Larry Southard which publishes poems, essays, public lectures, etc at:

bullet Kimo Press publishes booklets and books about Quakerism, as well as non-religious stories for younger readers. See:

bullet Pittenbrauch Press publishes books about Quakerism and other topics. See:

References used:

  1. The American Friends Service Committee has a web site at:
  2. "American Friends Service Committee History of Organization," Nobel e-Museum, at:
  3. "AFSC History," at:
  4. "Friends Committee on National Legislation," at:
  5. "Conservative Friends," Wikipedia, 2008-DEC-15, at:
  6. "Presentation speech," Nobel Prize, 1947, at:

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Copyright 1996 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2011-MAY-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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