Why are they called Quaker?
Friends were given this nickname by those opposing the Friends movement in it’s early beginnings. This is because when some of the Friends spoke in a moving way they would tremble in the power of the Lord. Friends felt that this was actually a compliment and eventually did not hesitate to use the name themselves.
What is a Meeting?
Quakers don’t have church services. Instead, they have meetings. These meetings are sometimes held without a minister or other leader. Therefore, instead of having a Church or Temple, Friends have Meetings or a meetinghouse.
What is a Monthly Meeting?
Although each local Friends group ordinarily meets for a weekly worship service, it holds a meeting to handle business once each month. Hence, for business or structural purposes, it is a “monthly meeting” and such has long been the name applied to the organized local Quaker groups.
What is a Quarterly Meeting?
Several neighboring meetings are usually associated in a Quarterly Meeting. As the name indicates these ordinarily have three or four gatherings during the year, at which representatives from the monthly meetings discuss matters of joint concern.
What is a Yearly Meeting?
Monthly meetings within a larger area, sometimes covering several states, join in a Yearly Meeting. There are thirty of these in the United States and Canada. Some overlap geographically, allowing monthly meetings to group themselves with others which they feel are most similar in attitudes and practices. The Yearly gatherings not only are occasions for business but promote spiritual inspiration as well as sociability.
Most of the Yearly meetings are members of some national grouping such as Friends United Meeting, Friends General Conference, or the Evangelical Friends Association. Internationally there is a Friends World Committee for Consultation which ties together Quakers all over the world.
Copyright © Laurence Barber, 1990, 1999