Above is the masthead of the former Cleveland Friends Meeting newsletter.
The library has a nearly complete run from its beginning in the 1930s until it stopped in 2003.
We've gone electronic.
of Cleveland Friends Meeting
Questions? Comments? Contact the Library at:
The library has an interesting and eclectic collection. This page will describe a few of the types of materials and where they are located. It is expected that additional information will be added to this page in time. So far there are entries for Quaker journals and biographies, a few new books, Pendle Hill Pamphlets; other pamphlets and brief materials, and a few new acquisitions by or about non-Friends.
MUSTY, DUSTY, OLD BOOKS?
When you think of Quaker books, do you imagine dusty, musty, and most of all, boring old hard-to-read books? Some of us actually delight in such tomes. Here is Curtis examining a 1773 Catechism. Didn't know that George Fox himself wrote a catechism for Quaker children? This one doesn't live in the meeting library; it was brought in from a Friend's collection for Curtis to see.
Some older Friends' books are indeed difficult to read. George Fox's syntax leaves a lot to be desired by modern standards. Some of the writings by other early Friends are at least as dense and difficult to comprehend. But for some of us, the Life they describe, the power and glory of their transforming experiences make the effort to learn their language worth it. From time to time small groups of us get together to explore specific books or the broader sweep of Friends' experience. When these meet, everyone is welcome to join.
Most books in the meeting's library are much more recent. Although some of their concepts and topics are exceedingly profound, their language tends to be more readily accessible to modern readers. So don't be afraid. Come on in and browse around. There is a lot of good stuff here. If Marty is not around, ask Chris for help; he has a good grasp of the meeting's collection.
QUAKER JOURNALS AND BIOGRAPHIES
Without a creed or dogma, one of the best ways to learn about how to be a Friend is to closely observe someone whose life demonstrates our faith and practice. Some of the best have written journals to leave behind a record of how God has dealt with them and what they have learned in their journey through life.
Cleveland Meeting has a good collection of journals and biographies. They are completely catalogued by title and by the subject (i.e. the name of the Friend). The journals and biographies are grouped together in the central book case, with a yellow sign marking the first of several shelves. Their Dewey Decimal number is 920.86 for collections of shorter biographies, and 922.86 for full-length books on a single Friend.
The genre of traditional Quaker journals is unlike what today's readers might expect from a diary or biography. The purpose was specifically to relate the spiritual experiences and journey of the individual, so often personal or family details are omitted. The stages of spiritual growth tend to fit a pattern. These stages have been explored by Howard H. Brinton in his Quaker Journals: Varieties of Religious Experience Among Friends (1972).
A FEW NEW BOOKS
From time to time the library gets new material. The newer short pamphlets are listed below. Take one home on a Sunday and bring it back the next week for someone else to read. There are also longer books, a few of which are highlighted here. Some of these things are on the main table in the library and have not yet been shelved. Each has a sign-out card in a pocket glued in the back.
Former member of Cleveland Meeting David Neelon has generously donated to us a copy of his new book, James Nayler: Revolutionary to Prophet. David did a great deal of research in libraries in this country as well as in England, and visited many of the places where Nayler lived and preached.
Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship: Quakers, African Americans, and the Myth of Racial Justice by Donna McDaniel and Vanessa Julye, is an unvarnished look at the often troubled relationship between European-descent Friends and African Americans. Donna McDaniel visited Cleveland Meeting Sept. 21, and talked about the book.
Here are some other good books that have come out in the past few years:
Jay Marshall has written a book in "the art of spiritual living" series, Thanking & Blessingthe sacred art: Spiritual Vitality through Gratefulness. It's a long title for a series of clearly explained steps towards reorienting your life to being filled with gratitude, and a blessing to yourself and others. Try it!
Take a look at the excellent set of essays by British Friend Martin Lynn, Encountering the Light: a journey taken (2007). He looks at the legacy of our Friends tradition and holds up some of its challenges to us today. Highly recommended.
A reprint of an old favorite by another British Friend, John Punshon, who spent some productive years at Earlham School of Religion, is his Encounter with Silence: Reflections from the Quaker Tradition. The author describes his growing experience and appreciation of Friends' silence. Not only a good introduction to our faith and practice, but a good read for those who've been around a while.
A new book by Catherine Whitmire is a very thoughtful anthology on Practicing Peace: a devotional walk through the Quaker tradition. She offers excellent, thoughtful queries at the end of each short section that could serve as springboards first to deeper personal reflection, then perhaps as something that could be useful to explore together.
On Living with a Concern for Gospel Ministry by Brian Drayton, with a forward by Fran Taber, is a close look at what it means within the Quaker tradition to carry a concern for ministry. Although Brian is mostly writing about vocal ministry, the sage advice can be extended to any type of ministry. This book is particularly useful for those who have already read Samuel Bownas, A Description of the Qualifications Necessary to a Gospel Minister (originally 1767, edited and reprinted with an itroduction by Bill Taber in 1989). It will be invaluable for anyone who feels a ministry arising within.
Engaging Scripture: Reading the Bible with Early Friends by Michael L. Birkel invites us to read the Bible experientially, in company with early Friends. Those of us who were touched by Michael's plenary address and workshop at Lake Erie Yearly Meeting a few years ago, will be pleased that he mentions LEYM as one of the encouragements to writing this book. He uses a Quaker version of lectio divina that many of us have found very helpful.
Constructive Spirit: Quakers in Revolutionary Russia by David McFadden and Claire Gorfinkel (2004) tells the fascinating story of Quaker relief work in the chaos following the First World War. The newly formed AFSC [American Friends Service Committee] sent a team of six women to join their British counterparts who were helping refugees fleeing from Poland into Russia. The Friends stayed on through the famine and the early years of the Bolshevik revolution. It includes first-hand narratives, as well as looking at the US response to the emerging communist nation.
A Strange Freedom: The Best of Howard Thurman on Religious Experience and Public Life, edited by Walter Earl Fluker and Catherine Tumber (1999) is a nice collection of Thurman's writings. He was a spiritual advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr., and founder of the first interracially pastored, intercultural church in the USA. Thurman's books were widely read by Friends, and our meeting library has several other things by him. His transcendant vision of the world, and his own struggles with violence and hatred, witness to us that social responsibility and the power to transform lives emerge out of religious faith.
PENDLE HILL PAMPHLETS
Pendle Hill Pamphlets used to be published six times a year by Pendle Hill, the Quaker conference, retreat, and study center in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. Now they are only offering five a year for an increased subscription price. The pamphlets are shelved in numerical order in the cabinet to the left of the dining room door, filling one and a half shelves (so far). More recent Pamphlets are in the rack on the library table, or lying on the library table. There are some Pamphlets for sale (now $5.00 each) on the table next to the piano in the hall. If you want to purchase one, please put the money in the green metal box or label it for a book/pamphlet purchase and put it in the wooden contribution box.
There are two finding aids to help you locate a pamphlet. Neither is as complete or as perfect as we would like, but they are better than nothing. One is a paperback index that lists all its pamphlets from 1934 through 1994, by author, title, and in numerical order. We've tried to write in newer pamphlets as they've been published. This blue book is usually shelved at the extreme right end of the pamphlets (or lying on top, pulled out so as to be visible in the photograph). You can access Pendle Hill's own list now, although there the computer in our meeting library may have trouble connecting to the internet. The other aid is a yellow plastic folder that has a print-out of the newer pamphlets. In between every ten pamphlets there is a cardboard divider on which is written the title and author of each of the ten pamphlets in that section.
A recent Pendle Hill Pamphlet is Christianity and the Inner Life: Twenty-First Century Reflections on the Words of Early Friends by Margery Post Abbott. This may be of particular interest to those in our various Quaker Studies sessions who have looked at some writings of early Friends, or to folks who struggle with the Christian roots of Quakerism, which present a very specific and non-orthodox approach to Christ.
Other pamphlets from the past year or so include Matthew 18: Wisdom for Living in Community by our own Connie Green and Marty Grundy; Integrity, Ecology, and Community by Jennie Ratcliffe; Three Ravens & Two Crows by Richard Macy Kelly (who happens to be the son of Thomas Kelly who wrote the classic Testament of Devotion); and a reprint of a golden oldie by Frances Irene Taber, Finding the Taproot of Simplicity. Enjoy!
Here is a list of perhaps the six most helpful pamphlets for learning more about Quakerism (in alphabetical order by author). It would be good if all Friends and attenders were familiar with them. Copies of some of them are for sale at $5.00 each on the table in the hall.
Cronk, Sandra. Gospel Order: A Quaker Understanding of Faithful Church Community (1991) #297
Gates, Thomas. Members One of Another: The Dynamics of Membership in Quaker Meeting (2004) #371
Lacey, Paul A. "...The Authority of Our meetings is the Power of God" (2003) #365.
Loring, Patricia. Spiritual Discernment: the context and goal of clearness committees (1992) #305
Morley, Barry. Beyond Consensus: Salvaging Sense of the Meeting (1993) #307
Taber, William. Four Doors to Meeting for Worship (1992) #306
Friends have always published a lot of pamphlets, right from the start in the seventeenth century. We don't have any of those old ones, which were mostly highly polemical. But we do have a great variety of more recent publications. There are printed lectures and talks, as well as essays written specifically for publication as short pamphlets. Some of them are sorted by topic and filed in cardboard holders as shown in the photograph above. The shelf is to the left when facing the dining room door; it is just above the Pendle Hill Pamphlets. Unfortunately the tab at the top of each holder seems to be too horizontal to be able to read clearly in this photograph. The topics are: Adult discussion materials; Bible; Dying and Death; FUM [Friends United Meeting] and EFI [Evangelical Friends international]; Gandhi; Healing; Marriage and Family; Other Faiths; Prayer; Individual Quaker Biographies; Quaker Organizations; Quaker History; Quaker process; Quaker Testimonies (miscellaneous); Quaker Faith; Quakerismintroductory materials; Religious Educationchildren; and on a lower shelf in a wider containter, Peace. More recent pamphlets are in the vertical rack on the library table, or spread out in an inviting array on the table, while older ones are stacked in the bottom shelf of the same book case which houses the cardboard holders and the Pendle Hill Pamphlets. (Regretfully these older ones have not yet been properly sorted and filed.)
Below is a selection of some relatively recent acquisitions by our library, and then a short list of others of particular interest (which will grown in time).
Deborah Fisch's 2006 Weed Lecture has been published as Being Faithful as Friends: Individually and Corporately, Those who have not yet had an opportunity to meet Deborah in person will find her pamphlet full of wisdom presented in a series of simple stories. It is a delight to read, with a lot of good things to ponder in terms of how our meeting might more faithfully reflect God's Love.
The latest issue of QRT (also known as Quaker Religious Thought) looks at a Friends view of higher education, and the mission of a Christian-Quaker college. A previous issue features timely papers on speaking truth to power, and what that means. Past issues of QRT are shelved in the legal bookcase by the left front window (NW corner of the library for those of you who orient in that manner).
Tribute to a Peacemaker: Our Friend Tom Fox by Florence Fullerton is just that, a tribute to the Christian Peacemaker murdered in Baghdad in March several years ago. It also includes selected entries from Tom Fox's blog.
The Mother of the Sons of Zebedee by Elizabeth G. Watson, who died in February 2006. This is taken from her book, Wisdom's Daughters (1997) that are stories Elizabeth imagines, fleshing out the bare bones of biblical narrative. Wisdom's Daughters (if not being borrowed) is shelved as 226.0922 / Wa1997wi.
Opening the Scriptures: Bible Lessons from the 2005 Annual Gathering of Friends by Tom Gates, are the five "Bible Half Hours" presented by Tom at the 2005 FGC Gathering in Blacksburg, Va. In a brilliant, helpful, powerful way Tom opens for us how early Friends understood and used the Bible. This illuminates the transforming power they experienced, which Tom explains for us.
Simple Lives, Radiant Faith: Bible lessons from the 2004 Annual Gathering of Friends by Beckey Phipps reflects Beckey's personal encounter with the Bible as a source of spiritual Truth.
Spiritual Guidance Among Friends by Keith Maddock, is No. 50 in the Canadian Quaker Pamphlet Series. The author identifies a deep paradox within Quakerism, namely the tension between individual spiritual experience and the need for communal vision. He draws on his own experience and on the writings of earlier Friends to encourage each of us to live adventurously, have spiritual vision, and practice love and simplicity. He offers queries along the way to help readers search more deeply. This could easily be used by a group.
A classic with which everyone should be familiar:
Cronk, Sandra. Peace Be with You: Spiritual Basis of the Friends Peace Testimony (Philadelphia: Friends Tract Association, 1983) is perhaps the best modern explanation of the underlying spiritual foundation and purpose of our peace testimony.
A few books by non-Friends
Some acquisitions include:
Called to Question: a spiritual memoir by Joan Chittiser. Those of us who remember being touched and informed by Chittiser's book on the Benedictine discipline will be interested to read this personal account of her wrestling with basic faith. The book tackles six themes: the inward life, immersion in life, resistance, feminist spirituality, ecology, and dailiness.
Daodejing "Making This Life Significant": A Philosophical Translation by Roger T. Ames and David L. Hall has a lengthy introduction that sheds new light on some basic concepts of Taoism, or Daoism. The underlying goal is self-transformation through cultivating "habits" of lifestyle that meet situations with wonder and creativity and deference. The Daoist "habits" have some similarities with the Quaker tradition of disciplines and "taking up the cross daily".
Go back to the main library page.
Go to the Cleveland Friends Meeting home page.
See a bit of background information about our faith and practice. (This is the third library committee page.)
See another library page with a few random card catalogue entries of Quaker journals and biographies, and comments on a few books or pamphlets. (This is the fourth library committee page.)
If you have comments or questions, contact the library at:
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This page was first posted on Ninth Month 8, 2006; updated most recently on 1m/18/2010.