The Process of Writing Faith & Practice

Rewriting Faith & Practice: Where are we? And how did we get here?

In the year 2000, New England Yearly Meeting Sessions approved undertaking a revision of its 1985 Faith and Practice. In 2001 a Faith and Practice Revision Committee was appointed. No one anticipated that the Committee would still be hard at work, two decades later! (Scroll down to the bottom of this page for a downloadable history of NEYM’s book of Faith and Practice—did you know that we’re currently writing the 11th edition?

Our New England Yearly Meeting Faith & Practice

The unfolding process of capturing in words that which is essentially beyond all words, the Eternal Presence, has proven deeply fruitful for the entire Yearly Meeting. And yet, Friends are hungering for the book to be done. 

This book is a witness to the lived faith of Quakers in New England from the mid-17th century to the present. It is a devotional resource and a handbook of procedures. When procedural questions arise, this book is designed to be a helpful guide, not a rigid instruction manual. Through corporate discernment, we change our structures and procedures in responsive obedience to God.

Preface to the Interim

What chapters have already been written?

The chapters that have received Preliminary Approval are published in an Interim Faith and Practice (first published in 2014, with Supplements in 2019 and 2021). A loose-leaf copy should be in the possession of every meeting, and as new chapters receive preliminary approval, they are emailed to every meeting for insertion. 

These texts should be used! You can find them all here for reading online. You can order a printed copy or download it on this page.

What topics have yet to be written?

Many of the remaining chapters have to do with how we integrate our faith with our lives. A provisional outline of the entire book, including the unwritten parts, can be seen here.

Where a topic has not yet been addressed in the Interim and/or its Supplements, the 1985 text remains in effect.

What is the process for writing and approving a chapter?

  1. The committee spends a year or more discerning a first draft.
  2. When it feels the draft is ready, the committee presents it to the Yearly Meeting business meeting and holds listening sessions where Friends can ask questions and provide preliminary feedback.
  3. Shortly after YM sessions, the draft is sent to every meeting, together with a discussion guide.
  4. Over the following six months, it is hoped that each meeting will engage in corporate discernment of the text and will submit their collective response. The committee will also accept feedback from individuals, but it will give greater weight to feedback discerned by groups of Friends.
  5. Depending on the extent of revisions needed, the committee takes another year or more to develop a second draft.
  6. When it feels the text is sufficiently mature, the committee presents it to the Yearly Meeting business session for Preliminary Approval. Listening sessions, threshing sessions and other forms of engagement support the discernment of the business meeting. The text may be approved at that session, or it may be sent back to the committee for further work.
  7. Once a text has received Preliminary Approval, it is to be used in place of the equivalent material in the 1985 Faith and Practice.
  8. Over time, the committee may become aware that some chapters that have received Preliminary Approval will need to be adjusted in light of the work being undertaken on further chapters. The committee may bring such a chapter back to the Yearly Meeting for fresh approval.

Eventually, the entire book of Faith and Practice will receive final approval by the Yearly Meeting, and will be widely circulated in print and online.

Still have questions?

If you have questions about the revision process, email the clerk of the committee to start the conversation.

File Downloads

History of New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice
Faith & Practice Revision Presentation