The Evangelical Universalist Forum

What is a 'Friends' church?

#1

My wife and I are church shopping. I’ve read the website material of the local Friends church and it does resonate a bit with me, but I really don’t know anything more than that.

I’ve read ‘Got questions’ and other sites, I would like personal experiences if possible.
What are their services like? I’ve heard various things, usually revolving around the following: “Friends are a Bible based, Christ centered church where every person is free to minister” - what does that mean in their practice?
What are the ‘Friends’ distinguishing features - what sets them apart?

Thanks

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#2

The Quakers are known as “Friends.”
Read about them in this Wikipedia article:

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#3

Thanks Don. From what I’ve read, there are differences in local ‘congregations’? Some are of the ‘waiting’ persuasion, some are more ‘programmed’. It’s a different approach from the structured ‘Church’ I was used to.
I suppose it depends on the folks involved. I’ll give the local one a visit and perhaps a couple of months attendance to see what is what.
Do you have experience with them?

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#4

It depends. There is a silent, un-programmed meeting - in some churches. And you sit in silence and share messages, as the spirit leads you. I was part of this type of meeting, for several years.

Others can be like a typical Protestant meeting. With a sermon, hymnn singing and a defined set of beliefs.

You need to visit some Quaker meetings near you, and see (and experience) for yourself. For the record, I still incorporate an emphasize on quiet prayer.

I find a great synergism between Quaker silent prayer, the philosophy / theology of

And the Golden Key

For me, this is probably the “Holy Trinity” of contemplation. And I make it stronger, by hanging around the groups of Sukyo Mahikari, Johrei, Heartfulness and the Bruno Groening Circle of Friends.

Since someone here “likes” John Piper…I found this article, from today’s Patheos Catholic newsletter:

Along with a good, Catholic reflection talk

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#5

Thanks R. Do you have a link I could follow? lol
I’m partial to Fr. Barron on some issues.

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#6

Yes, I do. Tonight is the season Finale, of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Before that, I’ll relax a bit - with a bit of Arabic and Mandarin! :rofl:

Now I have to figure out this post, I just received via social media. :wink:

I just read the saying: “Your future is hidden in your daily routine”. What is your experience with this?

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#7

Like others, I’ve known evangelical denominations of Friends who have a traditional format and theology. But those who are part of the original Quaker Societies have a much quieter service not centered on a pastor, and tend to be more theologically liberal and pacifistic. My guess is that you would feel more at home within the former evangelical offshoots of Quakerism. But of course, the only proof is in the eating.

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#8

I did contact the ‘pastor’ of the church in question, here in Medford. He responded:
Hey Dave/Ronda,

I hope that your research was a positive experience. The difference between waiting and programmed worship is that in a waiting service (called “open worship”) people wait on the leading of the Holy Spirit to speak or sing or share with the gathered community, while a programmed meeting has an outline or order of worship. We have a mostly programmed meeting but include time for open worship in our Sunday Services.
Blessings,
Jesse

There is another such church a few miles down Hwy 99 in Talent, Oregon. I’ve heard good things about that one as well and am contacting that pastor as well.

Thanks

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#9

Very interesting. My wife and I attended an Open Brethren assembly during the 2 1/2 years we lived in Zambia immediately following our wedding in 1966. There were two morning services on Sundays, the first being the “breaking of bread”, the second following about 45 minutes later, a typical Evangelical-style service.

The “breaking of bread” service was unplanned but had some structure to it. Men, women and children attended but only men were permitted to speak. Remember, this was over 50 years ago when women wore hats to church services, their dresses were sleeved, i.e. no bare arms, and hemlines were at least 4" below the knee. And this was in the middle of Africa where the temperature rarely fell below 80 F! Times sure change.

As I said, there was no fixed form of service, but meetings almost invariably followed a pattern, A man would announce a hymn, another might pray, another read a scripture passage, another pick a hymn, another pray, another speak to a passage or a particular verse of scripture, and so on until it was time to gather for the formal second service. You get the message? We quite enjoyed it. Oh, I forgot, there was no collection!

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#10

That is NOT scriptural, Norm!! The number 7 is scriptural, so 7" below the knee would be perfect! LOL.
In any case the services sound interesting and something I could perhaps go for.

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#11

FWIW, I always envisioned a worship/community gathering where every one in the room was seated in a circle. There was no priest/pastor/reverend but a moderator that allowed every and anyone to participate. If the group was small, it would be a single circle, if it grew, the circle would just have layers. There would be no podium or stage, If you were savvy enough you could link up with those who were going to share on that particular day and have an AV guy show lyrics, talking points or video on multiple screens. Those sharing would just come into the middle of the circle and share. The amount of communal information would be staggering and the learning of each other would be priceless.

I get chills just thinking about it. I talked a pastor into trying it once but the pastor of the church said too many people were expecting a church full of pews or chairs and a pastor to lead them. Smelled big time: No money in trying something different. Oh well, I don’t go to church any more.

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#12

That sounds good to me. The classical all-the-pews-looking forward, people sitting like they are in an audience, someone on stage ‘performing’ - not for me.

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#13

I should point out, that there’s a group called the Quaker Universalist Fellowship:

Quaker Universalist Voice

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#14

That’s interesting.

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#15

Here’s an interesting article, for you Dave

Are Quakers Christian, Non‐Christian, or Both?

The author says this, about himself.

Let me quote, from the first paragraph

I am both a Christian and a Universalist Friend. I see no theological contradiction between Universalism and Christianity because the Gospel of John makes it clear that the Logos/Christ Spirit is present in everyone and everything. “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (1:3). Furthermore, “the true light [another name for the Logos] that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” (1:9). This was the basis of early Friends’ belief that the Inward Light is universal, present in all people (though some ignore or turn away from it). If you look in the dictionary, you’ll see that the first definition of “Universalist” is a Christian who believes that God will save everyone.

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#16

Yes but we really have to look at the idea of evangelism vs community…

If we want community, my scenario would possibly work. But if the evangelistic idea of some ‘Pastor’ having an influx of God’s Holy Spirit to be able to ‘guide’ the sheep then my theory is toast. :roll_eyes:

So anyway, church is what church will be.

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#17

How true. Especially some churches :wink:

image

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#18

My wife and I also broke bread with the “open” brethren at a Winnipeg assembly around 50 years ago. It was much the same as you describe except there was a collection bag passed around.

Anyone entering the breaking-of-bread meeting was questioned at the door to determine whether the visitor was a true Christian. If the elders determined that he was, he was invited to participate fully in the meeting just like anyone else. However, if the elders believed him not to be a Christian, he was invited to sit on a pew at the back as an observer. The bread and wine was not passed to that bench. But neither was the collection bag!

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#19

That I’m sorry to say Don this is the very worst of religious exclusivism. :roll_eyes:

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#20

This happened to me at the last church I attended. For whatever reason, the pastor and elders decided to go full ‘reformed’ and, long story short - you had to be a member - officially - of the church in order to take communion.
To become a member of the church, one requirement was having to sign a confession of faith - full of mysteries like the trinity, virgin birth etc!! Really? Yes really. The basic good gospel appeared to be less important than fealty to mysteries noone can understand.

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