As a Convinced Friend, I think for me what was the most difficult fact about Quakerism to absorb was the vast amount of decentralization regarding Friendly structure.  Being used to other faiths where one focal point served as the seat of centralized authority, it was an adjustment to learn that every Yearly Meeting was often a law unto itself and that there were often divisions within that from monthly meeting to monthly meeting.

I know at times this design can be isolating, rather than unifying, and that those who make a point to find commonality among Friends sometimes stumble over both the written and unwritten protocols governing each Yearly Meeting in particular, and often each monthly meeting. 

My question then is, if we, quite hypothetically, were to adopt a more centralized structure, what would it look like?  What reservations would Friends bring to the table?  What problems with the existing structure would we seek to rectify in a brand new approach?      

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You might want to check out FUM's organization, or Evangelical Friends Church International, especially Eastern Region or Southwest Region, to find out how some Friends have centralized structure.
Hello Friend!

Some of the best and some of the worst experiences of being a "Friend" is to actively participate in your respective Quarterly and Yearly Meetings! After giving it a great deal of thought, I have come to appreciate my Yearly Meeting, NC Yearly Meeting a great deal! I am just starting to utilize FUM (Friends United Meeting) and they have not disappointed me! Our loose, but still effective structure has allowed me to expand my ability to serve Christ, thru Friends Disaster Service, thru personal enrichment with special programs held in our Quarterly Meeting, Yadkin Quarter, to meet and worship with other Friends and share my perspective and learn from theirs. I have personally found a variety of beliefs and perspectives, some of which are disturbing, but, all are thoughtful and heart felt! Has disciples of Christ, we have a duty to reach out to others wherever THEY are at and share the good news of SALVATION thru our LORD and Savior, Jesus! Christ said that his sheep knew his voice, but, he also alluded to the fact that he had sheep in other pastures! I find it very refreshing to read this blog! I want to encourage your faith, and reinforce the LIGHT that is revealed in scripture, and most importantly, allied with Christ has our brother and keeper! There is power in the word of God, and it is a guide to allow the believer to lead a more abundant life. When we stray from the tenants of Christ, as revealed in scripture, we rob ourselves of God's blessing. Why would anyone knowingly want to do that?

My love to all and keep up the good work here!

Yours in Christ,

Ron Bell

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