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date: 12 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Beginning in the mid-seventeenth century, Quakers practised impromptu preaching in a variety of venues and to varying purposes, including prophecy, evangelism, exhortation, and instruction. This chapter traces the development of Quaker vocal ministry from its beginnings until the early twenty-first century. After the Act of Toleration in 1689, Quakers evolved a fairly conservative approach to impromptu vocal ministry. This unplanned, spontaneous path to public ministry prevailed from the eighteenth-century Quietist period until the mid-nineteenth century, when the adoption of the pastoral system and ‘programmed worship’ by American Evangelical Friends ushered in the widespread adoption of the pre-planned sermon by Evangelical pastors. In the twentieth century international Quaker styles of vocal ministry began to exhibit significant variety, from spontaneous words spoken out of the silence to prepared sermons, a situation that persists to the present time.

Keywords: preaching, ministry, sermons, impromptu, silence, Apology, Hicksite, Gurneyite, Wilburite

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