QUAKER UNIVERSALIST GROUP PAMPHLETS
Those with prices marked are available as hard copies only and can be obtained from Tony Philpott, Publications Editor. All other pamphlets are available freely online (or in the process of being put on the website).
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1. Quakerism as Forerunner. John Linton, 1979
The talk which led directly to the formation of the Quaker Universalist Group
2. The Meeting Place of the World’s Great Faiths. Horace G. Alexander, 1980.
3. Christ in a Universe of Faiths. John Hick, 1982
4. Universal Quakerism. Ralph Hetherington, c1983
5. Sources of Universalism in Quaker Thought. Winifred Burdick, 1983
Passages from spiritual reformers in the 16th and 17th Centuries by Rufus Jones, selected and condensed by Winifred Burdick
6. Readings for Universalists. Ralph Hetherington, 1984
Linked selected readings from Quaker classics and contemporary writers.
7. Towards Universalism. Tim R. Miles, c1985
8. The Place of Universalism in the Society of Friends. Dan Seeger, 1986
9. The Universality of the Image. Lorna Marsden, 1986
10. Living and Acting. Adrian Cairns, 1987
11. A Century of Surprises. James Hemming, 1987
12. There is another world but it is this one. Jean Hardy, 1988, reprinted 1995.
An exploration about the current views of the nature of reality, setting forth the claims of the mystics and poets to represent aspects of that reality.
13. The Watchmaker Reconsidered, Carol Mac Cormack, 1988
14. Nature green in cell and leaf. John Barnes, 1994.
The view that nature is green in cell and leaf rather than red in tooth and claw, and that there is more co-operation than competition between the species.
15. Travelling Light. Ben Vincent, 1989.
16. A Universal Sense of the Numinous. Jack Mongar, 1989.
17. The Place of Jesus in Quaker Universalism. Jan Arriens, 1995.
Whilst recognising that the roots of Quakerism are clearly Christian, Quaker Universalism encourages the Society of Friends to welcome sincere seekers from other religious backgrounds or of no religion at all.
18. Christianity in an Evolutionary Perspective. Harold Dowell, 1990
19. A Dialogue for Universalists. Adam Curle, 1991
20. Conscious Existence. Victor Oubridge, 1992
21. Several sorts of Quakers. Stephen Allott, 1992.
A reflection on the relationship between Quakers and some of the many meanings of the word ‘Christian’.
22. The Still, Small Voice, Fear and Me. Robert E Newman, 1993.
23. Wisdom, Nature and Spirit. Carol MacCormack, 1994
Written by an anthropologist, this pamphlet looks at some alternative spiritualities, particularly those based on the wisdom of the feminine.
24. Quakerism, Universalism & Spirituality. Ralph Hetherington, 1995, £1.15
A statement of the Quaker Universalist position, tracing the history of universalism in the Society and discussing the significance of spirituality within religion.
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25. On the Contrary. John Hemming, 1996, £1.15
A meditative reflection on the universal light of childhood and our journey to wholeness.
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26. The Faith of a Quaker Humanist. David Boulton, 1997
Considers the inter-relationship of Faith, Quakerism and Humanism and its implications for the understanding of the significance of Jesus Christ, worship and prayer and of Quakerism as a mystical religion.
27. Signposts to the Future? Creation Centred Spirituality and the Sea of Faith.
Josephine Teagle, 1997.
Explores similarities and differences in two visions of future spiritual paths.
28. The Oblique Light: poetry and peak experience. Anne Ashworth, 1998
Reflects through poetry and prose on the gift of the transfiguring experience.
29. Of One Heart, Diverse Mind: the Quaker Universalist Way. Adrian Cairns, 1999, £1.35
Sees Quaker Universalism within a metaphorical framework and explores the contemporary post-Christian ‘God as-it-were’ within the growing global consciousness.
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30. A Platform of Consciousness: Spirituality without Religion. Adrian Cairns, 2001, £1.65
Following on from no. 29, Adrian Cairns develops the idea of consciousness, or awareness of our human situation as it really is. He sees a philosophy of living based on the unity of the All and One fused through human experience as light and love and glory. ‘Religions no doubt will survive to play a part in this vast social paradigm shift, but less and less will they represent any unique authority or be prime movers of ethical action.’
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31. Human Beings Yearning for a Faith. Clive Sutton, 2006, £1.35
In his introduction Clive says “Seeking a firm faith to live by is a continuing quest for many people in our time, but we are not the first to find it so. I have felt that anyone trying to find a way forward on their own spiritual journey today might learn a lot from the struggles of predecessors, so I began to collect quotations which helped me to get a sense of how some of those people felt.” In fact Clive covers a wide range of authors from Victorian times to the present day.
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32. Choosing Life: Embracing Spirituality in the 21st Century. Joycelin Dawes, 2008, £4.00
Drawing on the Author’s extensive experience of contemporary spirituality, this highly accessible booklet outlines an engaged spirituality for our time, one that takes the reality of the troubled world and the global challenges we face as the basis for urgent, compassionate action. Combining experiential exercises with a clear conceptual framework – and always with an eye to how our spirituality needs to find practical expression in the world – Choosing Life encourages each of us to be experiential, to find our still centre and express our love for life and our connectedness with all phenomena. Helping us to make sense of the changing spiritual landscape of early twenty-first century Britain, this is an exciting call to a life-affirming, sustaining and sustainable spirituality which for the Author is grounded in the Quaker tradition of collective discernment but which has a universal relevance and appeal.
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33. Quakerism and Buddhism: The Cutting Edge. Anne Bancroft, 2008
Anne Bancroft speaks from a long experience of both Buddhism and Quakerism. She sets the Buddha and George Fox in their respective contexts and traces their spiritual journeys: that of George Fox as recorded in his and his contemporaries’ writings; and that of the Buddha from the oral tradition of teaching as set down in the Pali manuscripts. Both left home to search for their truths, initially through the traditional teachers of their time; but both came to realise, after a time of deep despair and testing, that the path to truth lay with seeking a direct encounter with the sacred within the self. From their revelations and insights developed those ‘awakenings’ and ‘openings’ which still speak to our condition today. Anne explores the similarities of the two paths but also their differences. Many of us have some connection with Buddhism as we encounter it in contemporary Western society and it is enlightening to find a clear exposition of those often glossed over differences. It is Anne’s belief that these “should not be papered over in a well-meant attempt at ‘oneness’ … but should be looked at directly and celebrated as new insights, leading to a richer and fuller life.” In its account of the origins and development of these two faiths and their meeting points with each other, this pamphlet sets a valuable agenda for further exploration and understanding.
34. Islam Today: A Muslim Quaker’s View. Christopher Bagley, 2015
Christopher Bagley is a member of the Quaker Universalist Group who is both a Quaker and a Muslim. Islam Today: A Muslim Quaker’s View is a very personal account of Islam and the many issues around it.
This pamphlet is relevant to a number of questions facing us today. How does the openness of Quakerism (and even more so Quaker Universalism) square with the statement that God’s final message to humanity was given to us through the Qur’an? What is a fundamentalist (Quaker, Christian, Muslim, etc.)? How can an understanding of Islam help us to tackle the pressing problems in the world today, especially violence? What are the similarities and differences between Quakerism and Islam? Is there a core to all religions or are there incompatible differences between them?
To give a flavour of the pamphlet the section headings are as follows: Fundamental Values of Quakers and Muslims; Introduction; Early Quakers and Islam; Islam Today; How I became a Muslim; The Bible and Its Three Books; The Qur’an; The Idea of Jihad; The Prophets of Islam; The Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad; The Message of Prophet Jesus; Women and Islam; Islam and Education; Islam as a Minority Group – the Plural Society Debate; Science, Creation and Islam; Palestine, Israel and Islam; Islam and Non-Violence; Modern Challenges for Islam; Quakers, Catholics and Islam.
35 Resolving Difference – in our ways of speaking about God or the ultimate reality. Rex Ambler, 2016, £2.00.
This pamphlet is based on a talk given to a national conference organised by the Quaker Committee on Christian and Interfaith Relations in 2014. Rex sets out a problem: ‘we are disagreeing among ourselves about how to describe the ultimate mysteries of life … we want to resolve the differences, but we don’t know quite how’.
Rex sets out his solution to this problem, based on what he calls ‘the Quaker way’. He lists four ‘Quaker distinctives’: silence; personal, experimental and practical experience; speaking our truth on the basis of this experience; and discerning our truth together. Rex thus emphasises that the Quaker Way is one of process, a way of living, rather than a set of beliefs. We discern the truth to guide us on the Way through our meetings for worship and the other Quaker activities in which we are involved.
Rex is known for his practical approach, so in Appendix 2 of his book he explains how Quakers can organise a special ‘Meeting for Learning’ – ‘A practical proposal for dealing with different ways of speaking about God of the ultimate reality’. This will help those who read the pamphlet to carry its ideas forward into their local meeting.
Available for purchase
36. Compassion – Papers from the Quaker Universalist Group Annual Conference 2016, Frances Deegan, Michael Barnes and Qamar Bhatti-Khan, 2016, £4.00
This pamphlet arose from our Quaker Universalist Conference in July 2016 which had the title Compassion: Why is it failing? Three of the talks at the conference have been written up and edited by the presenters to make up this publication.
The first, by Frances Deegan, has the title Is compassion failing or just ailing? Even though Frances lists many negative aspects of the world today, you will be heartened by her many examples of compassion: she clearly comes down on the ‘ailing’ side of the title. With respect to religion, it does have many failings, but it is a great force for good as well. Frances highlights one of the main reasons for a lack of compassion: dedication to one’s in-group and demonization of the out-group; or knowing that one is right and that everyone else is wrong. Here she is very much within the context of universalism, a theme taken up by our next speaker.
Michael Barnes sees compassion as a manner of relating to the world and to other people whereby we are drawn outside ourselves and learn how to relate to what is strictly unknown or ‘other’. Although this is an academic talk Michael is keen to emphasise that compassion is not primarily an intellectual pursuit. He takes us to the derivation of the word: compassion means ‘with passion’ and it implies suffering, pathos and patience. He uses the approach of Comparative Theology, not looking for simplistic similarities between religions, but exploring and learning from differences to seek out ‘the resonances and echoes between them’. Michael refers to three witnesses in his exploration: the Jewish thinker Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972); the early Christian philosopher and theologian St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430); and the 8th Century Indian Buddhist monk Śantideva. Michael ends his talk on a practical note, referencing the modern engaged Buddhist Joanna Macy and her group meditation practice: here one can explore that ‘deep web of relationship that underlies all experience’.
Our third speaker, Qamar Bhatti-Khan, touches briefly on the fact that he is a Sufi Muslim, but the talk is not a religious exposition: it is rather a plea for compassionate action. He uses his religion as a basis to work in community relations in the multi-ethnic city of Birmingham. He was inspired by the work of his father and mother; then his experience of riots in Handsworth in 1985 showed him the crucial need to work to bring the disparate groups of his city together. The second part of his talk is an analysis of the negative side of our corporate capitalist society. It is not enough just to write cheques to worthy causes when we see suffering on our TV sets. Qamar contends that our whole society needs to change so that there is a more compassionate approach to both our environment and each other in the boardrooms of our corporations.
Available for purchase
37. The Mystery of Mysticism, Jan Arriens, Prof. Chris Cooke, Dr Sharada Sugirtharajah, Dr Alinda Damsma, 2017, £4.00
This pamphlet contains four papers given to the 2017 Annual Conference of the Quaker Universalist Group on the subject of mysticism. They cover aspects of mysticism as experienced and understood by speakers from different faith traditions. Each talk is well-referenced with pointers towards further reading.
Jan Arriens, a Quaker, considers what is meant by mystical experiences, with illustrations from everyday life, and considers how these experiences might be understood within modern concepts and scientific knowledge.
Professor Chris Cooke, an Anglican priest and Consultant Psychiatrist in the NHS, looks at different aspects of Christian mysticism as illustrated by three historic Christian mystics, and goes on to consider how mysticism might relate to experiences that today would be described in psychiatric terms.
Dr Sharada Sugirtharajah, a Hindu and Honorary Senior Research Fellow in theology and religion at the University of Birmingham, richly illustrates her descriptions of mysticism within the Hindu tradition with examples from Hindu texts.
Dr Alinda Damsma, a Jewish scholar at Leo Baeck College, outlines aspects of mysticism that are of particular relevance to the Jewish tradition and considers in particular whether the notion of a mystical union with God
38. Mind the Oneness: The Mystic Way of the Quakers, Rex Ambler, 2017, £4.00
This pamphlet comprehensively explores Quaker mysticism from the earliest years of George Fox to the present day, and is an expanded version of the talk given by Rex Ambler to the 2017 Quaker Universalist Group annual conference on mysticism. The text is very well referenced and easy to read and will provide an excellent introduction and source for further reading for anyone wanting to learn more about this fascinating and important aspect of Quakerism.
Rex Ambler was a lecturer in philosophical theology at Birmingham University for over thirty years. Now retired, he works mostly with Quakers, giving talks and workshops on Quaker faith and practice. He is a leading author of works on the spiritual aspect of Quakerism, including Light to Live by: an exploration in Quaker spirituality (Quaker Books, 2002/2008) and his most recent book The Quaker Way: a Rediscovery (Christian Alternative Books, 2013).
Rex is particularly well known within the Society of Friends for his work in establishing and developing the Experiment with Light groups which use meditations based on early Friends’ writings and practices to facilitate self-discovery and enquiry. These groups now exist widely throughout the country. Rex’s present concern is to bring the sense of the mystical back into the Quakerism of today.od was present in early Judaism.