Quaker Revival

with Paul Buckley

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We are sensible the reparation must be by gradual steps, yea, by laying a single stone at a time, and planting a tender twig. ~ Mary Peisley Neale, 1754

From its earliest days, the Society of Friends has modeled a distinctive way to relate to God, to other people, and to all of creation. This brought it into conflict with the English culture within which it was born. In a variety of ways, its religious, civil, and social structures promoted a culture contrary to the principles that animated early Quakerism—leading to suppression and persecution. Although Friends gained tolerance from the English Parliament in 1689, for more than 300 years the outside world has repeatedly presented new challenges and new enticements. The temptation to accommodate to the world has recurred over and over again—testing our commitment to our fundamental principles. We are in a new time of enticement and the seductions of modern society are different from those we have faced before. They require answers suited to our times and tailored to the diverse cultures of the modern world, but true to our calling.

While the inward substance of the Quaker message has been consistent, its outward expressions have changed in response to the challenges of various socio-economic and political cultures. This has resulted in diverse visible practices and some of these may compromise our values.

This workshop will delineate the essential principles of Quakerism and consider what living in accordance with them requires of us today. We will consider how Friends today are called to model a covenant community. What outward behaviors speak to today’s conditions? How do we live a new life of faithfulness and invite others to live in right relationships? Equally important, what practices have we accumulated over the last 350 years that need to be scraped away and discarded?


Paul Buckley is a Quaker historian and theologian, well-known among Friends of all stripes for his workshops, short courses, and retreats. He has written books on the Lord’s Prayer, William Penn, and Elias Hicks; and co-edited The Quaker Bible. His most recent publication is Primitive Quakerism Revived.