What is a book of discipline?
To modern ears it might sound like a penal handbook, but the 'discipline' of the book's title actually refers to discipleship – the process of learning from and growing in the Spirit. The book describes both our faith – through the experience of Quakers – and our organisation – the structures and practices of our church and charity.
It is our guide book, designed to help us find our way around British Quakerism and to make our time with Quakers inspirational and enjoyable. And like any reliable guide book, it needs to move with the times.
Our current book of discipline, first published in 1995 and now in its fifth edition, is called Quaker faith & practice. New editions have allowed us to incorporate changes to our governance and structures, but in 2018 Quakers agreed that the time had come to completely revise the book.
Over the last thirty years the world has changed considerably, as has British Quakerism. A new generation calls for a new book.
Following Quakers' decision to create a new book, we formed the Book of Discipline Revision Committee. Made up of 24 Quakers with a variety of skills and experience, the committee first met in 2019.
Early on, they realised the revision was more than a process of simply reviewing and editing Quaker faith & practice – of cutting things out and adding new topics. It became clear that they needed to start afresh.
But what sort of book would reflect British Quakerism today? Where do you start? And how can Quakers be a part of the process? We put these questions to three members of the revision committee – Rosie Carnall, Finola O'Sullivan and Catherine James. In the interview below, they share their approach to the revision and its progress so far.
How to get involved
To share ideas and advice with the revision committee, you can contribute to our creative project 'Open to new light' (offsite link). You can also contribute ideas and pieces of writing using this online form (offsite link) or by emailing Michael Booth at firstname.lastname@example.org.