Put God at 
the center of your life.

 

  Talking with Friends
     A compilation of interviews with Meeting Friends edited by
Kevin Ferris
Excerpts:

"When I was clerk, our Meeting was so homogeneous, so united, we didn‘t have many varying points of view like we have today. And I used to enjoy writing up the minutes at home before going to monthly meeting. I could pretty much write the minutes because I could pretty well evaluate what the decision of Meeting was going to be." 
–Paul Brown

"The values were something that I've had in my life for as long as I've been alive. The pacifism, nonviolence, the belief in that of God in every person, which meant that you had respect and interest in people of other races, of other nationalities, and a general concern about life that you were living in your community." 
–Virginia McQuail

"My father had been a noncombatant in the First World War. He’d been a purser on an ammunition ship. And so I was confronted at age 17 with a decision: I did not study during the summer, so I could enter Westtown in my senior year. Therefore, either Westtown would not accept me and I would go elsewhere to finish my high school, or I would join the military." 
–Gerry Williams

"To me, the core belief of Quakerism, as far as I can see and having become a Quaker later in life, is that there’s a little piece of God in all of us. It gives an equality to everyone and diminishes the thought that people are better than they are. That to me is the important thing. I didn’t know I felt that way until I was introduced to Quakerism, but I think it always was part of my fabric, of the way I felt. I didn’t have it in words so much as I felt it." 
–Rita Williams

"I shared in meeting the other day a little prayer, a definition of prayer, that is not Quaker but which helps me. This little definition is that prayer is a quieting of your mind and an opening of yourself to a larger awareness. And that’s exactly what I do when I go into Quaker meeting. First of all, I just try to quiet my body -- that isn’t very hard for me at my age, but it‘s very hard for young kids. But the hardest thing is to quiet your racing mind, you know, your thinking and intellectual pursuits, and quiet your spirit and just open yourself up to a larger awareness—that’s the presence of God—and take it from there." 
–Francis Brown

"The thing that I enjoy doing for the Meeting, and for myself as well, is arranging flowers to have at meeting. I don’t do it just to have flowers there, but when putting the flowers together I think about meeting, and I think what I want to do when I go to meeting. I think about a lot of things. When I go after the flowers that I’m going to put in Meeting, I consider it my preparation for meeting. Then I have joy in arranging flowers, and fortunately, I guess I have some ability in that because I get many nice compliments about it." 
–Enid Brown

"We were marching two by two through the village, and I remember we were slowly co-joined by a lengthy line of Alabama state police cars, with two policemen in each car. As we slowly made our way down to the courthouse, they drove beside us all the way. I can remember looking in one of the car windows at one point, and I’ve never been stared at so hostilely in all my life as I was in exchanging glances with that state trooper. It reminded me once again of how courageous and staunch people have to be to persist in an effort like the civil rights struggle, particularly the black people who at that time were the focus of this whole effort. I was more of a bystander, as you can see, then I was an actual participant, although I was part of that dramatic moment." 
–Lou Schneider

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