Quakers (or Friends) are members of a historically Christian group of religious movements formally known as the Religious Society of Friends… Members of the various Quaker movements are all generally united in a belief in the ability of each human being to experientially access “the light within”, or “that of God in every one”.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quakers
For about a decade, I have identified as a Quaker. Somehow, I fell down a Google rabbit hole, found Quaker websites, and said “Yep, that’s who I am.” Then I read the books. Then I subscribed to the magazine. Then I started attending meetings. In late 2017, I joined Friends Meeting of Washington and I’ve been a member ever since.
Today, it became official official. They had a welcome activity for the nine of us who joined in the past few years. To be honest, I wasn’t really into the idea of celebrating what, to me, was a personal and spiritual decision to join this religious path. I’m already active on a committee (Peace and Social Concerns) and I’m slowly, but surely making friends.
Even though I’ve been part of the meeting for over a year, as a member, and a year or so before that as an attender, it was still important for me to step back and be acknowledged. What’s so wrong with making a concrete decision about your soul and then celebrating it with others in the community?
Nothing at all.
So I surrendered. I handed over my desire to be modest. I stopped being shy about good things that happen to me and I let my faith community to take time to welcome me and the others. Even if it was delayed–it was the thought that counted.
We had cake. We got roses. We got our “official” name tags and we even got our photos taken for the board in the hallway. And most importantly, we got introduced by members of the membership committee, who had recommended each of us.
I joked with other new member that we were part of the same pledge class now.
I talk about being a Quaker openly, but in many ways, I am starting out from scratch in my faith walk. I was raised Baptist, almost became Muslim, and then found my way to the Quakers. It’s a totally different, largely unstructured faith that still has lots of traditions that I am learning.
Perhaps most importantly is that, after years of distance from more formal religion, I am learning that community is always the most important part of the journey.
So thank you, Friends Meeting of Washington, for being the dope ass “church” that I always needed.
Note: The photo is of Paul Cuffe, a famous black Quaker that I just learned about five minutes ago.