The list of liberal yearly meetings below is incomplete and imperfect, and will be updated in coming months. In particular a lot of work needs to be done on meetings outside the U.S. and Europe. Knowledgeable Friends are encouraged to contact us with additions, corrections, and suggestions.
Basically, liberal meetings are those that are unprogrammed (practice silent worship with no pastor), and are not affiliated with Friends United Meeting, Evangelical Friends Church International, or any of the several Conservative yearly Friends meetings in the United States. (An exception is that several yearly meetings noted below* are “dually affiliated” with Friends General Conference (FGC) and Friends United Meeting. Generally speaking, those monthly meetings that were originally affiliated with FGC tend to be liberal meetings, and those that were originally affiliated with FUM tend to not be liberal meetings.)
At the same time, some individual monthly meetings within the liberal branches of Quakerism are less comfortable and open with the wide theological diversity that characterizes liberal Friends than others, and some meetings within other branches–particularly the Conservative branches–are in practice highly diverse and open, though commonly identifying themselves as explicitly Christian. While these affiliations provide a clue, it’s hard to know just how “liberal” a meeting is or isn’t without spending some time there, in worship and fellowship.
For those unfamiliar with Quaker organizational structure, most Friends attend local “monthly” meetings (called monthly because they have meetings for business once a month) or smaller/less formal worship groups, which are affiliated with yearly meetings, so named because they have meetings for business once a year. While individual monthly meetings give and receive support from yearly meetings, the basic authority within Friends is at the local/monthly meeting level.
(A service hosted by Friends General Conference for finding individual meetings in the US and Canada by searching on city/postal code. Not all meetings found here would describe themselves as liberal, but the large majority are unprogrammed rather than pastoral.)
- Alaska Friends Conference
- Baltimore Yearly Meeting *
- Canadian Yearly Meeting *
- Illinois Yearly Meeting
- Intermountain Yearly Meeting
- Lake Erie Yearly Meeting
- New England Yearly Meeting *
- New York Yearly Meeting *
- Northern Yearly Meeting
- Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting
- Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
- Piedmont Friends Fellowship
- South Central Yearly Meeting
- Southeastern Yearly Meeting
- Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting & Association
* These four yearly meetings are “dually affiliated” with Friends United Meeting, which means some affiliated monthly meetings are programmed and have pastors.
Independent Yearly Meetings
Unassociated with any broader organization other than Quakerism itself, but generally liberal and broadly universalist in outlook, and historically connected with the “Beanite” tradition.
Intermountain Yearly Meeting(Has joined Friends General Conference, above)
- North Pacific Yearly Meeting
- Pacific Yearly Meeting