Quakers in North America
November 11, 2014
Are Quakers Amish?
This week's Quaker video: “Are You a Quaker? You mean something like Amish?' It is something all Quakers have heard. Max Carter, professor of Quaker religious studies at Guilford College, tells us about the differences between Quakers and the Amish.
According to the online Quaker Information Center, Quakers in North America make up about 32% of Quakers worldwide. There are about 108,500 individual Quakers and about 44 annual Meetings of Friends in North America.
Quakers are members of the Religious Society of Friends, a movement that began in England in the 17th century. Some Quakers came to North America in the early days because they wanted to spread their faith to the British settlers there, while others came to escape the persecution they experienced in Europe. The first known Quakers in North America were missionaries who arrived there in 1656. Soon other Quaker preachers arrived, many settlers converted to Quakerism, and Quakers from Europe immigrated there. The Colony of Rhode Island, with its policy of religious freedom, was a frequent destination as Friends were persecuted by law in Massachusetts until 1681. The British colony of Pennsylvania was established by William Penn in 1681 as a refuge for persecuted Quakers. Quakers also spread to Mexico and Central America. Also known as Mexican Quakers.
The arrival of the Quakers
Mary Fisher and Ann Austin are the first Quakers to set foot in the New World. They traveled from England to Barbados in 1656 and then went to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Their purpose was to spread the beliefs of the Friends to the settlers.
In Puritan-ruled Massachusetts, women were persecuted. They were imprisoned and their books were burned. Only one man, Nicholas Upsall, was kind to them during their imprisonment. Nicholas himself became a Friend and began to spread the Friends' beliefs in Massachusetts. Due to the fanaticism of the Puritans, the Quakers eventually left the Massachusetts Bay colonies and migrated to the more tolerant colonies in Rhode Island.
The first monthly meeting
Nicholas Upsall was banished from Boston and took refuge in the town of Sandwich, Massachusetts. There he helped establish the first monthly gathering of Friends in the United States. The meeting began in 1657 at the home of William and Priscilla Allen. In addition to the Allens and Apps, Richard Kirby and Elizabeth Newland were also present.
Quakers in New Jersey en Pennsylvania
The first Friends to settle along the Delaware River were John Fenwick, Edward Wade, John Wade, and Richard Noble. They established a settlement in Salem, New Jersey in 1675.
In 1681, King Charles II granted William Penn, a Quaker, a charter for the area that would become Pennsylvania. Penn guaranteed freedom of religion to the settlers of his colony. He promoted the policy throughout Europe so that Quakers and other religious dissenters knew they could live there safely. On November 10, 1681, Robert Wade held the first monthly meeting in the colony at his home. Eventually Chester Monthly Meeting took place.
Branches of Quakerism in North America
Quakers in the United States are diverse in their beliefs and practices. Friends there have split into different groups over the years due to differing opinions.
Liberal Friends emphasize the Inner Light as a source of inspiration and guidance. They practice unplanned (ie, spontaneous, spirit-led) worship. They have no ordained clergy. Among them are Christians and ecumenicalists. Many liberal groups of Friends participate in the General Conference of Friends. Some of these are part of both the General Conference of Friends and the United Friends Meeting. Others are independent or not affiliated with a larger group. They are very involved in service projects, but not in evangelism. They are widespread in Canada and the United States, but are concentrated in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.
Pastoral Friends emphasize the Bible as a source of inspiration and guidance. They practice scheduled (ie scheduled) worship services under the guidance of ordained clergy. Most pastoral groups of Friends are part of the Friends United Meeting. They conduct service projects as well as evangelism. They are mainly located in Indiana, North Carolina, Iowa and Ohio.
Conservative Friends are a small group that emphasize both the Inner Light and the Bible as sources of inspiration and guidance. They practice unscheduled worship. Many of them adhere to traditional standards of "plainness" in speech and dress (see Testimony of Simplicity). Their gatherings are not part of larger groups. They are mainly located in Iowa, Ohio and North Carolina.
Evangelical Friends strongly emphasize the Bible as a source of inspiration and guidance and consider it the ultimate authority for faith and practice. They practice scheduled worship under the leadership of ordained clergy. Their congregations are often referred to as congregations rather than congregations and are usually part of Evangelical Friends International. They are very active in evangelism, missionary work and service projects. They can be found in the United States and Latin America, but are concentrated in Guatemala, Panama, Ohio, California, Oregon, and Kansas.
Annual Meetings in North America – See Annual Meeting for a complete list.
The Religious Society of Friends is organized into various national and regional groups called Yearly Meetings. Annual Meetings of Friends exist in Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, and the United States.
Troubles for Quakers in Colonial America - Persecution and martyrdom
Quakers have experienced much persecution and even martyrdom in their enthusiasm for conversion. Eventually, the idea of martyrdom became something a Quaker would seek."The Quakers conducted a relentless quest for martyrdom... In colonial Rhode Island, where the rulers refused to expel them, the Quakers were reluctant to stay."While many Quakers remained in both New England and Rhode Island, many of them migrated to cities or regions where they would face a fierce battle."trial by fire".Borstin explains that "one after another seemed to crave hardships, passing thousands of miles through the wilderness, risking Indians and wild beasts, to find a crown of martyrdom." Quakers did not want to preach to spread their faith, but to witness and thus become more personal"NET."
Christopher Holder is the perfect example of a Quaker witness. Seeking this trial by fire, Holder turned to Boston, Massachusetts to preach his faith. The Puritans of the day, who had a large community in Boston, grew tired of the Quakers interfering with their lives. Boorstin again explains that “The Puritans were not sadists, but they wanted to be left alone to pursue their orthodoxy and build Zion according to their pattern. What right did the Quakers have to intervene? The Puritans had not asked the Quakers to punish them. the Quakers had come seeking retribution. Unfortunately, what the Puritans didn't realize was that when they increased the legal penalties against Quakers, it made their colony much more attractive to them, attracting even more Quakers. Christopher Holder was part of the team"pull"in Boston.
After being kicked out of their communities multiple times, the Boston community realized that evicting Holder didn't keep him away. They decided to arrest and punish him and his companion. He was locked in a barren cell without bed, food or water for three days. He was imprisoned for nine weeks during a fireless New England winter. He was beaten twice a week with a whip of three cords. When they finally let him go, he traveled to Barbados, but not receiving enough persecution there, he returned to Boston, where the Puritans cut off his ear for the last time."THE."
Another epic example of Quaker martyrs was that of Mary Dyer. She left her husband in Newport to travel to Boston in 1659. She and her companions (including an 11-year-old girl) were exiled to Boston under penalty of death. She returned undaunted and the governor announced her death sentence. On the day of her execution, she was taken to the gallows where she stood and watched as two of her companions met their fate. As she leaned against her own gallows, the governor commuted her sentence. The governor didn't really want to kill her. She just wanted him to think he was going to be convicted so he would be afraid to come back. However, he was not convinced. She demanded either that the law regarding Quakers be changed or that she receive her sentence. The governor had to send her home on horseback. She was still displeased and finally returned once more and begged for justice. Either she had to get her sentence or they had to change the law. They hanged her.