Coping with Disability & Chronic Illness in the Quaker Faith

Hello All,

I am very new to the Quaker faith, and have a question I was hoping someone might be able to answer.

I am wondering if anyone within the community knows of literature that exists on the subject of Quakerism and physical disability/chronic illness? I have found the British Friends network to be developing accessibility improvements for their local meetings, but nothing on applying the Quaker way of life to coping with disability and/or chronic illness.

Any information you could provide is greatly appreciated! Thank you!


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Hi Sonja,

Thank you for your encouragement to further work toward understanding this passion and interest of mine. I certainly will!

Hi Olivia,

It's not too late at all! I'm grateful for all the insights you have shared and continue to share. I am saving every link that is provided so that I can go back to look over all the information that may catch my eye.

While I cannot say that I know much about either group, I have a feeling I will identify much more closely with Liberal Quakers than the more Conservative Friends. I will check out the Liberal Quaker page you mentioned on here, too.

Olivia said:


This comment of mine may be a little too late but it occurs to me to share.  I find value in "conservative Quakers" as much as I do in "Liberal Quakers" and the two perspectives are very, very different.  Liberal Quakers and others that are very Light-oriented may be less inclined to give you something concrete on this subject but it doesn't mean that it's not out there in the wider Quaker world.   The conservative Quakers have this gem... I have forgotten her real name at the moment but she goes by Quaker Jane too and has posted a lot of solid material on Quakerism at her website (click here).    I also find that the Liberal Quaker page on QQ here has some links that are very helpful as to getting a sense of the Liberal Quaker community.  More helpful and accurate than what I've found at some other sides that define us Liberals. 

This link I've just sent includes "strength in weakness" by Elizabeth Stirredge, published in 1795, in which the forward says about about her "She was sound and savoury in her doctrine and publick ministry and tender and affectionate in Christian advice and counsel, to the comfort of the afflicted and exercised in spirit; declaring that the way to the kingdom of God is through tribulation; agreeable to the ancient account we read of in holy scripture."

I am continuing to read from it in my ADD sort of way... ha     There may be the historical -- if not present -- expressions of what we are talking about when we say that being present to the difficulties and sitting in silence with them is the best thing we've found so far.   I know that Liberal Quakerism is always evolving, always on its way somewhere.  I have begun to wonder if it's next expression may turn toward Quietism more.

Hi Keith,

Thank you for sharing your personal testimony of pain and dis-ease, as well as your thoughts. It always helps to hear from others who are with you on a similar journey.

This is something I am very interested in learning more about, and sharing within the Quaker community, so I will continue to dig deep and see where these feelings, thoughts and information take me.

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments! :)

Keith Saylor said:

Hello Sarah and Sonja,

Here is my testimony of the healing in Presence. I suffer from tendonitis, resulting from years of working with my hands. My partner has suffered from severe migraines for many years. I am so blessed by the workings of Presence within me in the context of illness or dis-ease. Giving dis-ease over to Presence with intention and watchfulness is simply resting into silence. I mean simply, while sitting or walking or working, opening to the Presence that is always there, but dimmed by dis-ease or drowned out by so close contact with physical pain. In this silence, Presence fills the space and an opening happens wherein physical dis-ease is acknowledged, but consciousness is no longer consumed by it.  Resistance to the pain is given over to Presence in silent rest. The Quaker testimony of the sufficiency of the personally experienced inward light is medicine even in the midst of pain. 

Wishing you peace, even in the midst of dis-ease.

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