I've written recently about two


1. I am concerned about our move towards

becoming the Non-religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

in Britain and

2. I'm concerned about Trustees

running our Area Meetings.

(3. Another lost cause! Once

the Governing Documents are agreed and registered

with the Charity Commission it will be like

moving mountains to get "Monthly Meeting" changed to

"Area Meeting".)

Now I'd like to show how these two concerns are

linked. If I was dead set on resisting the move to

a non-theistic society I would not draw attention

to this, in case Friends accepted what I have to


The Governing Document of Monthly Meetings

requires the Trustees to ensure the MM carries out its

"Objects". Moreover there is a clause that this

cannot be amended. (I believe I read that this is so. But now I cannot find the reference. Maybe it is just the general law that a charity cannot radically alter it stated Purpose.)

The listed Powers of the Trustees include "To do

any other lawful thing that is necessary or

desirable for the achievement of the objects of the

MM". (My understanding is that this is as discerned

by the Trustees - not by the MM in session)

So what are the "objects of the MM"? Actually there's

only one. "...the furtherance of the general

religious ... purposes of the Religious Society of

Friends (Quakers) in Britain...".

So, how are these religious purposes defined?

Answer: by reference to what we generally call

"Quaker Faith and Practice". Our faith and our

practice might change over time - the book is revised

every 25 years or so to reflect that f & p - not to

repeat a creed.

But the Charity Commission have persuaded our Quaker Stewardship

Committee to revise the Governing Document to

refer frequently to it as our "Book of Christian

Discipline" (mentioning 'currently "Quaker Faith and

Practice"). In other words to say the ultimate is not

something that merely tells the reader what our

faith and our practice are nowadays but to

specifically emphasise our Christian Discipline.

So, can we accept that we simply will not be

allowed to become non-theists? That Trustees, running

our meetings, will have a legal duty to further

our Religious Christianity whatever a MM might


If someone with a brighter brain than mine can find a flaw in my line of

reasoning in this I'd genuinely be very relieved.

I object to the move to non-theism but I accept

it is similar to other moves, to evangelicalism c

1850, to service not mission c 1900, to

non-christocentrism c 1950. It could be that the Spirit is

moving us that way, despite the reactionary

writings of curmudgeons like me. That so

long as we follow our practice of silent

'worship' the Spirit guides us even when we reject its

very existence.

But I cannot go willingly into a situation where the Charity Commission may forbid us from moved away from a prescribed purpose.

I will be prevented from attending YM. I

earnestly hope someone will be moved to speak there of

this concern.

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