A bit of Quaker history set to music!

(to the tune of American Pie, words by Jim Grace, 2010). Lyrics via New England YM website:

A long, long time ago,
Friends can still remember how the Spirit came to these here shores.
Young George Fox heard a voice within him, saying there is one to speak to his condition.
And then his heart did leap for joy.

But Mary Fisher and Ann Austin walked cheerfully in Puritan Boston.
To thank them for their trying, they were banished on pain of dying.
And William Leddra, and William Robinson, and Mary Dyer and Marmaduke Stevenson,
Were all hanged on Boston Common, as Friends can testify.

So mind, mind, mind the light that thou hast,
Not the preacher nor the steeple nor the book from the past.
But gather in love and hold the Spirit so fast,
Asking “What is it now thou canst say? What is it now thou canst say?”

Did you read the book of Love, and do you have faith in God above?
Did the Spirit tell you so?
Well, do you believe in Inner Light? Did Jesus tell you not to fight?
And, can you teach me how Friends decide, real slow?

Well I know that you’re in unity when I see you sit so quietly.
You might drop off to sleep, but I know that worship is deep.
Ooh, I was a young urban professional, and I’d seen my last confessional,
But I knew I was impressional the day I came to Friends. I started singing:


Did you hear the Newport news, what with George Fox sitting in the pews,
And the Spirit of the Lord was over all?
Well, for three hundred and fifty years we’ve been meeting there and meeting here,
Always seeking to discern our corporate call.

But we’ve not always heard it clearly, and those enslaved have suffered dearly.
As we discerned intensely, John Woolman helped immensely.
So slavery’s days have seen their ends, but did we fully make amends?
And were those freed as fit for Friends? We still have work to do.


“To scripture” cried the Gurneyite, as Wilburs followed Inner Light,
A split was underway.
And when Eli and Sybil departed, a Friends school in Ramallah started.
We were going global all the way.

But when independent meetings came and Rufus Jones had made his name,
We found that reuniting was better far than fighting.
And though we were in unity, we still had much diversity,
And when we talked theology, we had to find the way.


To Jubilee we came this year, God's quiet voice for us to hear,
The Spirit over us to sway.
We needed to discover fear and do a different thing this year,
Never easy when the Spirit has its day.

But as we sat in stillness there, community for us to bear,
And not a word was spoken. The boundaries all were broken.
I can't remember if I cried when that sense of separation died,
But something touched me deep inside, the day I found my guide. We were singing:

Chorus (two times)

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