Faith & Practice
Friends find that faith becomes inseparable from daily life. It infuses and guides our practice at home, on the job, in the community. In Quaker tradition, we sometimes see this emerging as a “witness” or “testimony,” a usage quite different than the speech one gives in some churches. “Let your lives preach, let your light shine, that your works might be seen,” is what George Fox urged Quakers at the beginning of the movement.
In the early years, Friends maintained a “hat testimony,” refusing to bow or remove their hats in deference to social status. Friends also maintained a testimony of distinctive “thee” and “thou” Plain Speech, as well as the “Quaker gray” of Plain Dress. All of these were outgrowths of an awareness of the equality of all people, who are created in the image of God, as well as a sympathy for those living at the margins.
While we’ve dropped some of the distinctive marks of Quaker appearance, we continue to emphasize traditional testimonies, such as honesty and integrity, nonviolence and pacifism, simplicity and equality. Over the years, we find those also shape our responses to ecological and environmental issues, education, racial and sexual rights, the economy and politics, the arts and leisure, and so on.
In our sessions to conduct meeting business, our practice means we never take a vote; instead, we try to listen closely to each other, to arrive at unity. Sometimes this leads us to a more original and creative solution than any of us would have anticipated at the outset. Pursuing another practice, rather than being told what we ought to believe, we turn to sets of questions, or queries, which ask us to examine ourselves individually and then as a faith community for our fidelity to our spiritual values. Again, sometimes we find answers leading into the unexpected.
Dover Meeting supports organizations whose work exemplifies putting faith into practice, locally and worldwide.
Dover Share: Dover Share is a volunteer non-profit community outreach agency based in Dover, NH. They help Dover families avoid eviction, prevent utility shut-offs, and keep families from having to choose between food on the table or needed medical care.
Friends of Kakamega: A non-profit organization that supports the USFW Kakamega Orphan Project in Kenya, a grassroots undertaking that assists children whose parents have died of AIDS and other diseases. Kenyan Quaker women (United Society of Friends Women [USFW]) founded the project as a feeding program for local orphans in 2001. In 2002, they partnered with Friends of Kakamega and have since devoted their lives to serving the needs of these children.