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Quakers in Australia

Learn more about Quakers

One way to find out about Quakers is to read one or two of these books or view some of the on-line resources in this brief list of suggestions. Many can be found in your local Meetinghouse library, or those with a * can be purchased online quaker-publications

Australian Friends resources

*Advices and Queries (Australia Yearly Meeting, 2008, 18 pages). This small booklet contains pieces of wisdom as well as challenging questions on spiritual and temporal issues for us to consider as we try to live a Spirit-led life. It is available in text www.quakers.org.au

*This We Can Say (by the AYM Faith and Practice Committee 2003, 352 pp.) is a compilation of brief writings by around 250 Friends, chiefly Australian, on their religious life, faith and thought. Quaker Publications

The Handbook of Practice & Procedure, 6th ed, 2011, is published by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia Inc. The Handbook describes the organisational framework of the Society in Australia and contains guidelines on the conduct of the component parts of the Society. The Handbook is available online as an interactive file and in PDF www.quakers.org.au

The Quaker Prayer Life (written by David Johnson 2013, 80 pages) published by Inner Light Publications and drawing on early Quaker and other writings, considering Quaker prayer life which arises from daily attention to that of God within. :-david-johnson

Quakerism – A Mature Religion for Today (David Hodgkin, 1988 24 pages) A concise outline of the relationship of Quakers to mainstream Christian churches as well as inspiration from other faiths, the Quaker Meeting for Worship, prayer and faith in action. Universalist Friends

Quaker Ways (edited by Elizabeth Stevenson 1996, 58 pp.) was written for Junior Young Friends (aged 10 –16) by a score of Australian Friends. It explains, in simple language and pictures, Friends’ manner of living and the key ideas behind it.

*Backhouse Lectures are public lectures on contemporary issues delivered annually at the national gathering of Quakers in Australia. They were initiated by Australia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) on its establishment in 1964. Friends from both Australia and overseas have presented lectures. *Lectures from 2008-2016 can be purchased at Quaker Publications; most can be downloaded in PDF at www.quakers.org.au

Writings from the Wider Circle of Friends

The Quakers: A Very Short Introduction [Ben Pink Dandelion (UK), 2008, 142 pages]. This small-sized, concise book encompasses Quaker history, thought, belief, worship and development around the world. A must-read for Quakers and newcomers alike. .The_Quakers

An Introduction to Quakerism [Ben Pink Dandelion (UK),2007,277 pages]. A scholarly, but very readable, comprehensive introduction to Quakerism. After looking at the early history of Quakerism, the book examines how Quakerism developed theologically with its spread to different parts of the world, and how this is reflected in the diverse traditions and practices encompassed in today’s world-wide, broadly based Quakerism. It also examines Quaker belief, thought and testimonies and is interspersed with boxes of information that enrich our understanding of the text, as do the many photographs, diagrams and tables. An_Introduction_to_Quakerism

New Light: 12 Quaker Voices [Jennifer Kavanagh (UK), 2009, 224 pages]. Twelve Friends each give their understanding of a range of topics, demonstrating that Quakers follow a wide-ranging way that embraces maximum spirituality with minimum religion. Quaker Bookshop UK

Silence and Witness: the Quaker tradition (Michael Birkel, 2004, 144 pages) A meaty and inviting introduction to Quaker thought and spiritual life. Birkel is Professor of Religion at Earlham College (USA) Spirituality and Practice

A Quaker Book of Wisdom: Life Lessons In Simplicity, Service, And Common Sense by Robert Lawrence Smith from the USA, (published by Eagle Brook, New York, c1998). Quaker Books

Encounter with Silence (by John Punshon 1987, pp.) is a classic written by a Friend steeped in the traditions of both the un-programmed style of Quakerism in Britain and Australia, for instance, and the programmed Meetings common in America and Africa. There is gentle humour and great wisdom about silent worship, prayer, and so on, always related to the author’s own personal pilgrimage. The non-Quaker theologian Matthew Fox wrote a foreword. Barklay Press

Quakers in brief or Quakerism made easy (An over-view of the Quaker movement from 1650 to 1990) David M Murray-Rust Birkenhead Meeting, Merseyside, UK 1995 can be downloaded as a .PDF www.quakers.org.au

George Fox's Journal with a study guide is available online at Strecorsoc. George Fox was the itinerant preacher who first called together those who were to become the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

A Light That is Shining [Harvey Gillman (UK), 1988, 101 pages]. Although written some time ago, this is still a standard introduction to Quakerism. It describes the Quaker outlook based on the common experience of a creative, loving power in all people and in the world around, however hidden, which leads to worship in the form of quiet waiting, freedom from creeds and hierarchy and an emphasis on Spirit-led action.

Quaker by Convincement [by Geoffrey Hubbard (UK), 1985, 253 pp.] is a book often borrowed from Meeting House libraries. The author was a research scientist and convert from being ‘a fairly humanistic agnostic’. He points out that becoming a Quaker is to make a commitment to God, not to the Society of Friends. Also, that membership of the Society is compatible with participation in other churches. The book includes a brief history of Friends; their core beliefs; the link to behaviour (peace, materialism, sexuality, crime, etc.); and Quaker organisation.

The Amazing Fact of Quaker Worship [by George Gorman (UK), 1973, 158pp.] answers questions such as - What do we worship? How best? How connect worship and life? How does the Quaker community work? The last brief chapter testifies to the Meeting for Worship as a gateway to transcendence, the simple happiness of living.

Quaker Reader (Jessamyn West ed., 1962, 539 pages). Don’t be put off by the size of this book, it’s one for dipping into and is a storehouse of treats. Writings from the mid 1600s to the mid-1900s, on a big range of topics – from Calvin to prayer and mysticism, childhood recollections to American Indians and isolated Quakers in Russia, and much more. With something to speak to your condition whatever your mood or inclination, this book is a delight.

Online resources

QuakerSpeak: weekly videos in which Friends (USA) speak about their experiences as Quakers. Quaker Speak

My Quaker Journey: (2015) Four Friends from Street Quaker Meeting in Somerset UK share what Quaker Meeting for Worship means to them and how being a Quaker is shaping their lives.Youtube (Running time:8:24)

Quaker Quest: Quakers and worship: (2012) UK Friends speak of their own experience in response to the questions people ask. YouTube (Running time: 25:28)

Derbyshire Meeting (UK) Six Quakers talk about Quaker history, silent worship and other aspects of Quaker life: Bakewell Quakers

Seven podcasts, on different Quaker topics, each 40-minute talk by Ben Pink Dandelion, Honorary Professor at Birmingham University and Tutor in Postgraduate Quaker Studies at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in the UK, is followed by study questions. Woodbrook Quaker Study Centre

Quaker beliefs. (2012) The essence of the beliefs of the Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, featuring the pupils of Bootham School, York (UK) previously known as the Yorkshire Quarterly Meeting Boy's School; founded in 1823 and where as many as 45 members of the Rowntree family were educated. Youtube (Running time: 6:24)

Australian Friends journals and newsletters

The Australian Friend Australian Friend is the quarterly journal of Australia Yearly Meeting.

The Australia Yearly Meeting Secretary produces a monthly newsletter, which is posted or emailed free to members and regular attenders on request. To subscribe, contact: AYM Office Email

All Regional Meetings produce monthly newsletters. These are usually displayed in the Meeting House, and some are available online on each Regional Meeting’s Website.

Pamphlets: Quaker pamphlets explain aspects of Quaker faith and practice within Australia, and are available for browsing or printing out. To see the complete list of pamphlets Pamphlets.

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