For some actual, and quite good, information on branches of Quakerism in the US, see the Quaker Information Center's pages on Quaker Branches and Branches Today.
I have realized, both with today's messages in Meeting for Worship, and over the last few weeks of worship, that there really are more kinds of Friends in the US than I had earlier realized.
Oh, I knew about the "Big Three"; and not very long after I began worshipping with Friends, I felt like I could explain them reasonably well:
And during our Mid-Winter Gathering of Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC) in North Carolina in 2007, I learned there are commonly considered to be five main branches of Friends in the US; and that in NC and some other areas, there are commonly considered to be one or two more. To FGC, FUM, and EFI, we add:
- Conservative Yearly Meetings (CYMs) -- Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative), or IYM(C), North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative), or NCYM(C), and Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative) or OYM(C) (not to be confused with Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting, which is FGC-affiliated)
- Independent Monthly Meetings
- Holiness Quaker Churches
There are a few unofficial, unorganized-as-of-yet, kinds of Friends as well:
You may also be familiar with the term "NPR Quaker." This refers to the phenomenon of Friends who rise during Meeting for worship and begin their ministry with the phrase, "I was listening to NPR this morning, and..."
Recently, I've learned of at least two more kinds of Friends, and I expect to encounter another next week.
A few weeks ago, Beloved Wife and I discovered that there are also "New York Times Quakers" -- folks who begin their ministry with the phrase, "I was reading in the New York Times this morning about..."
And today, we learned there are DNC Quakers! These are Friends who begin their vocal ministry with phrases such as, "I was watching a lot of TV this week during the Democratic National Convention, and..."
I think that next week, we will encounter RNC Quakers: "I was listening to so-and-so's speech during the Republican National Convention, and..."
So, to our list of alphabet soup, we add:
- NPR Quakers
- NYT Quakers
- DNC Quakers
- RNC Quakers
(Yes, I am kidding.)