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Spiritual Bedfellows? The Quaker-Methodist Connection

This article was first published in The Friend on 16 February 2018.

Five years ago, I was involved in a Quaker-Methodist dialogue event at Woodbrooke, in which a third of the participants identified as Quaker, a third as Methodist, and a third had an active involvement in both communities. Over the past two hundred and fifty years, in Britain and globally, Quakers and Methodists have interacted, intermingled, and inter-influenced one another. This relationship has not always been a comfortable one, but it has often been significant. Why is this?
These two groups emerged within early modern Britain: the Quakers, during the mid-seventeenth century; and the Methodists, during the mid-eighteenth century. Both were charismatic Christian renewal movements that achieved rapid growth due to the vigorous public preaching campaigns of itinerant ministers. Both were condemned for religious enthusiasm, were regarded as a threat to social order, and were accused of being Catholics in …

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