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Introduction

This is a work in progress. It is a short summary of the advice we give ourselves about matters of faith, based on our collective experience. The queries are designed to aid us in reflection on our lives in God and life as a Church. Other topics will be included as they are adapted.

INTRODUCTION

West Hills Friends Church has been meeting since March of 1989, and has been redefining itself with God's leadership ever since. The Church, for us, is the group of people who gather in collective worship, not the building, a set of practices, or an institution.

Quakers emphasize the presence of an Inward Light, whom we recognize as Christ our Present Teacher, and the direct and active experience of the Light in our lives. We tend to be leery of creeds and hierarchy. We also know that there is but one Way, though our perceptions of it may differ; we this meet in worship together, collectively awaiting the Light's revelations, as well as having individual devotional practices. God is at work for good in everyone, and we try to get behind outward appearances to respond to that goodness.

West Hills Friends' meetings for worship are "programmed," routinely including ministries of music, Bible reading, and a prepared message, as well as a period of open worship. During open worship, we seek the Light, ministering to one another as the Spirit moves. The form of the worship has changed as we have grown and changed.

We also find other modes of worship helpful and we meet regularly in a variety of small groups. The structure and purpose of these small groups change as a reflection of our calling. Groups have included gatherings for longer periods of silent worship, for worship sharing, for informal singing, to plan social action, and to play together.

The earliest surviving collection of Advices was issued by early Quaker elders from Balby in Yorkshire in 1656. It concludes:

"Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all, with the measure of light which is pure and holy, may be guided: and so in the light walking and abiding, these may be fulfilled in the Spirit, not the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life."

These we offer in the same Spirit.