Choices for Friends Meetings

A Friends pastor who had been Supt. of Indiana YM and Jamaica YM as well as a pastor in Indiana YM, Wilmington YM and North Carolina YM (FUM) wrote the following about  40 years ago. This was in the notes that he left and probably not meant for publication. (As a disclaimer he was my father, Logan Smith):

“THE CHOICES OF MOST FRIENDS MEETINGS I KNOW.

1. Be a Community Church with no clear call to a distinctive Discipleship.
a) Maybe talk about traditional doctrines of Friends, but not require any of them.
b) Say nothing but what a Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist would say except – we are part of FUM, instead of a conference, synod, etc.
c) This is definitely the trend, in my opinion.
2. Call for a distinctive membership. Let those who do not adhere go, seek those from other denominations who accept these views. This would be very hard work and apparently would fail. Even if it succeeded it would probably be on one or two points – silence, pacifism, simplicity or some other item.
3. Be a small group harping on our past and trying to preserve it.
4. Try to choose a group to join with and be swallowed up by it.
5. Graciously disperse, advise the Baptist to go to the Baptists, Nazarenes to the Nazarenes, Unitarians to Unitarians. Those who just want a church to go to, go to the best one in the community to make it better. In some few cases where Friends are the best community Church, be just that – a good community church or carefully select another denomination and be a congregation of that denomination.

There are more “Quakers” not members of the Society than in the Society. There are probably more “Quakers” in the Methodist Church than in the Society. No doubt true of United Church of Christ.

The FUM is too costly an adventure just to be sort of a clearing center for a group of community churches or a group of tradition loving secularized groups calling themselves Friends Meetings.”

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