Foreword

All who use this Faith and Practice are encouraged to follow the admonition from the Meeting of Elders held at Balby, England, in 1656:

Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all with the measure of the light which is pure and holy may be guided, and so in the light walking and abiding, these may be fulfilled in the Spirit—not from the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.

— Elders of Balby, 1656

This edition of Faith and Practice of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends is thus intended to be a guide, and not a rule, for our members, attenders and others who seek to understand how Friends in our yearly meeting express our faith in our lives, our communities and our organizations. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting approved this edition of Faith and Practice in 20_.

Like early Friends, we proclaim that every person has been endowed with the capacity to enter directly, without mediation, into an empowering relationship with God. Also like those Friends, we gather in expectant silence with other seekers, open to the movement of the Spirit in ourselves individually and in our worshipping community. Friends seek to experience the presence of the living God in individual religious practice and in meetings for worship and for business. To be in the presence of God inspires awe, provides healing and comfort, and is a source of guidance for conduct. Out of this experience, we proclaim the intimate connection between religious faith and social justice and seek to express this understanding in our daily lives and actions.

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting affirms that transformation comes when we, in daily life and in our meeting communities, trust in the Light that gives life and empowers everyone who comes into the world.