[FT] Address by Irish Quaker Missionary Physician

William F Rushby wfrushby at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 27 13:44:20 PDT 2009


I hope that the list will not go to sleep again, now that Joe and Larry have declared some kind of truce(?)!

My wife and I have lots of experience with Mennonite and Old Order Brethren churches.  Their role in religious ferment marks them as worthy descendants of the 16th Century Anabaptists, who helped to break up "Christendom".

It seems that, the more Anabaptist groups split, the more the overall movement appears to grow in numbers.  Friends, in contrast, seem to regard splitting as akin to the sky falling, and often stick together on the organization level while concealing vast differences in outlook.  The reaction to the "realignment" controversy illustrates the Quaker reluctance to admit genuine differences AND to resolve them by forming more cohesive groups.  Friends do not often split, but they show a marked tendency to shrink in numbers, in the US and Britain at least.

I regard pluralism among Quaker groups and friendly "competition" as an important ingredient in a healthy growth in numbers and commitment.  I would expect that the success for EFI groups in Ireland would actually be good for Ireland Yearly Meeting, in quickening its sense of mission and in sharpening its spiritual witness.

What do you think?

Bill Rushby

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