Attachment 3: Faith and Practice Revision Committee Report
Proposed Revision to Faith and Practice, August 2009'
"As many candles, lighted and put in one place, do greatly augment the light, and make it more to shine forth, so when many are gathered together in the same life there is more of the glory of God." Robert Barclay (1678)
"When we focus on our oneness and unity in the Love that is God, it's tempting to believe that we will all live happily ever after together, with never an unkind word or misunderstanding, much less legitimate complaints, anger or real nastiness. The challenge of course is to hold up and live out the vision while acknowledging and accepting the reality of our own flawed humanity and that of those we live with."
Community is one of the important foundations of Quakerism. This testimony arises from our experience that a group worshiping together encounters God. Since the first generation, Friends have had a practice of discernment where unity is the focus, looking not only to individual inspirations but also to the movement of the Spirit in their midst. Friends followed this practice in meetings for worship with a concern for business. It was not the person with the most money, age, or length of history with Friends who made the decisions; it was the group as a whole that discerned the will of God. That sense of the meeting, that Spirit which the worshippers recognized in unity, was the authority.
Palmetto Friends Gathering is a fellowship of Quaker meetings in South Carolina that follows the unprogrammed manner of worship. The meetings include Aiken Worship Group, Charleston Monthly Meeting, Columbia Monthly Meeting, Five Rivers Monthly Meeting, and Greenville Monthly Meeting. Unprogrammed meetings traditionally meet in silence until someone in the group rises to speak, usually for a short message. After a period of about an hour, the clerk of the meeting closes the silent worship by welcoming everyone. People then greet each other, announcements are made, and people visit, return home, or continue with subsequent planned activities.
The Gathering meets annually each Spring for a weekend of worship, programs, and fellowship. The location of the gathering moves around the state from year to year.