Guide to Quaker practice

by Howard H. Brinton

Pamphlet, 1955



Call number

CP 20/1


Wallingford, Pa., Pendle Hill [1955]

Original publication date


User reviews

LibraryThing member bookcrazed
Brinton has done an amazing job of describing Quaker practice in only 64 pages. Brinton’s aim is not to describe Quaker beliefs, but rather Quaker practice--the structure and conduct of the Quaker meeting as a functioning community. Included are descriptions of programmed and unprogrammed
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meetings, spoken and unspoken rules of vocal ministry, the function and duties of elders, the usually accepted rules of conduct in Meeting for Worship for Business, queries, education, social testimonies and more. Though first published in 1955, Brinton’s descriptions continue to hold true for most Quaker meetings. This is an excellent resource for both experienced Quakers and those who are new attenders. For those who are interested in learning about Quakerism but are not attending worship, there are better resources. One of my favorites is Geoffrey Hubbard’s Quaker by Convincement, which includes a history of Quakerism, as well as changes in Quaker practice since its inception during the English Civil War (1642-1651). This one is out of print, so check for used copies–or check with your closest Quaker library. There are shorter, less thorough treatments for those with curiosity about Quaker beliefs. One (that is also more current) is The Quakers: A Very Short Introduction by Pink Dandelion. I have not read this one, but Dandelion is an internationally recognized scholar of religious philosophy both inside and outside Quakerism. The most easily accessed sources are online. A good starting point is, which both gives information about the various branches of Quakerism and has referring links to various Quaker websites. (Portions of this review are from a review I wrote for West Australia Regional Meeting.)
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LibraryThing member QuakerReviews
This pamphlet was first published in 1943, and subsequently revised and republished in 1950, 1993, and 2006. It is a basic resource for understanding unprogrammed and some programmed Quaker meetings: Quaker practice and belief, meeting for worship, Quaker structure, meeting for business, the
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Queries, the ministry of teaching, social testimonies, and more. While written about current practices, it is based on early Quaker practice. It is a useful guide to Quaker practice for both new and experienced Friends, and is written very tenderly.
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LibraryThing member kaulsu
This Pendle Hill Pamphlet is roughly twice as long as a typical one (70 pp), but is full of "then and now" ways Friends operate. Originally published in 1943, it was revised in 1950 and again in 1993. It was republished in 2006.

Two items really stood out for me. Of "queries," Brinton wrote that
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they "have never been concerned with theological opinions but only behavior" (52). I had never looked at them from that standpoint. I will from now on.

Brinton uses as a sub-header "Certificates of Removal." I have never heard this term and plan to ask Tom Hamm about it. My understanding has been that the current meeting must decide whether or not to transfer a member and the new meeting must accept that decision. This is discussed on pp 49 and 50. Brinton writes, "The meeting to which the certificate is sent is under no obligation to receive such persons into membership and should make careful inquiries regarding them before accepting them." He then speaks of "sojourning" memberships, and finally, ends the section stating (with no other explanation) "Requests for the transfer of membership should first come to the attention of overseers."
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Call number

CP 20/1


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