Quaker Quicks - Quaker Roots and Branches

Quaker Quicks - Quaker Roots and Branches

Quaker witness in the world today, its rationale, and how it derives from the insights of earlier Quaker generations.


Quaker Roots and Branches explores what Quakers call their “testimonies” - the interaction of inspiration, faith and action to bring change in the world. It looks at Quaker concerns around the sustainability of the planet, peace and war, punishment, and music and the arts in the past and today. It stresses the continuity of their witness over three hundred and sixty-five years as well as their openness to change and development.


British Quaker Lampen (The Peace Kit) distills central ideas and beliefs of Quakerism in this quick introduction to the pacifist faith. Lampen centers his presentation on what Quakers, also called Friends, term “testimonies”: areas of particular preoccupation that have attracted the efforts of Friends over centuries to establish or improve. He provides an overview of Quaker work for peace, the environment, and prison reform—all distinctive Quaker concerns. For instance, he writes of how Quaker Elizabeth Fry led a campaign for significant reforms within Victorian prisons—a tradition of appeal that has extended to modern calls for full abolishment of institutional incarceration. Lampen then looks somewhat apologetically at Quaker stances on the arts, where Friends’ earnestness historically led them to look askance at artistic expression, especially in music, for an embarrassingly long time. He concludes with a chapter on Quaker theology and its varieties of expression; American readers will note a distinctly British slant to the contemporary material he draws on. Lampen’s work brings to light important moments in Quaker history, and though many readers will quarrel over what is left out, none can complain about the Quaker simplicity this little handbook embodies. ~ Publisher's Weekly

John Lampen has a gift for connecting the contemporary concerns of Friends with the rich heritage of the Quaker past. In his latest collection of essays, he shows us how the experiences of Friends like George Fox, William Penn, and Elizabeth Fry offer us wisdom and guidance in confronting the problems we face today. ~ Thomas Hamm, Professor of History, Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, U.S.A.

From his insight that modern-day Quakers are the product and carriers of an inspiring tradition, John Lampen paints a compelling picture of the Quaker character: clear intellectual enquiry, resolute moral integrity, and quiet, unsung heroism. The lives he describes are led by the guidance emerging from silent worship. In describing the resonance of these Quaker lives with his personal experience, John makes these stories relevant for us today.   ~ Gerald Hewitson, author, Journey Into Life: Inheriting the Story of Early Friends

This exploration of Quaker identity shows how modern Quaker ways have developed out of, but are clearly rooted in, the lives of earlier generations. It is engaging and very readable. John Lampen gives frequent examples of real Quakers seeking to follow ‘guidance’. There are some familiar stories, and some quite tantalising glimpses into less well-known characters which left me wanting to know more. They illustrate how today’s Quaker practice is frequently on a continuum with the past, but at other times breaks significantly with tradition – and it is helpful to be aware of which is which, and why. A worthwhile read for anyone wanting to understand early 21st century (British) Quakers! ~ Helen Rowlands, former Head of Education, Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, Birmingham, UK.

John Lampen
John Lampen John Lampen is a Quaker author with experience of peacebuilding in Northern Ireland, South Africa, former Soviet Union, former Yugoslavia an...
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