“Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone; whereby in them you may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them to bless you.” —George Fox, 1656


Bearing witness to one’s beliefs through action is central to Quakers’ practicing their faith. Since Quakers believe that God is leading them directly, without an intermediate clergy, a Quaker’s bearing witness is a direct expression of his or her faith.   Friends Meeting at Cambridge provides support for those who are witnessing in their lives for racial, social and economic justice, religious freedom, and environmental awareness through its witness committees and groups, which you are welcome to visit.  We support ongoing public witness through our witness committees Peace and Social Justice, Friends for Racial Justice, and Cambridge Quaker Earthcare Witness, which you are welcome to join.

Why Quakers Witness

While God’s will is rarely clear, Friends Meeting at Cambridge offers many traditional practices that help us try to understand it. In attending silent collective worship, God’s guidance often comes through personal meditation or from listening to spontaneous “spoken ministry” when fellow Quakers are led to speak out in the Meeting. Participation in the Meeting’s committees also helps Quakers clarify God’s guidance since leadings are discussed deeply and spiritually.

Today’s Quakers bear witness by such actions as holding vigils at a weapons factory, participating in social services, or by strengthening community ties — all of which are expressions of the leadings God has presented. Bearing witness to our faith and beliefs fosters fellowship with others with the same beliefs. Moreover, bearing witness involves a willingness to learn from others while witnessing, based on the belief that God’s truth is greater than we can know.

Peace and Social Justice Committee

Our Committee helps put our Quaker principles into action in the areas of peace and justice. Peace and Social Justice also supports the leadings of individuals: for example, some among us have been led to visit prisons, while others have traveled to areas of international conflict. Recent activities of the Committee include co-sponsorship with other religious communities of International Day of Peace activities on Boston Common; holding a monthly Meeting for Worship at Raytheon, a major weapons manufacturer; organizing the yearly Good Friday Witness for Peace on Boston Common; holding informational gatherings with guest speakers; signing and endorsing in the committee’s name letters and petitions; and organizing fundraising events for special projects. The committee recently established as its top priorities looking at the needs for climate justice and the causes of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s monstrous triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism. We often work closely with the Friends for Racial Justice committee of FMC. We meet monthly on fourth Tuesdays at 7 pm.

Meeting Actions for Peace and Justice

Following up on the Nuclear Ban Treaty presentation 1/17/21

  1. Virtual event celebrating the Treaty entering into force this Friday 1/22/21: in addition to the many in-person events around the world, our Nobel Peace Prize-winning coalition ICANW.org will have a live online event at 3-4:30 pm EST.
  2. Here is a 2-minute video (The World Has Spoken) explaining what it means when the Nuclear Ban Treaty enters into force on 1/22/21, and a 6-minute video with more background on the Treaty: Fresh Hope: Warheads to Windmills.
  3. We welcome you to visit our website, NuclearBan.US. It offers suggestions of actions we all can take.
  4. In addition, FMC could declare itself aligned with the Treaty. The digital version of the guidebook for Quaker Meetings shows how to do that.
  5. There’s lots more on the website for those who wish to go deeper. This includes:

Peace with Justice,
Ian Harrington

Meeting for Worship Near Raytheon, Cambridge. MA
On the third Sunday of every month, Friends hold a Meeting for Worship in front of one of the many Raytheon offices and laboratories in the Boston area. Raytheon (“Light of the Gods”) is the nation’s and the world’s fourth largest defense contractor, and the leading manufacturer of guided missiles including the Tomahawk cruise missile used recently in Syria and the weapons dropped by Saudi Arabia on Yemen. The facility on Concord Avenue is one of their premier research and development sites.

The worship is open to everyone, and is a clear opportunity to embody our Beneficial Cycle by deepening worship, strengthening community, and increasing our witness in the world. We gather in front of Raytheon on Concord Avenue, Cambridge (intersection at 10 Moulton Street), from 10:45 am to 11:45 am. The Meeting for Worship continues the seven-year tradition of gathering at Textron Industries in Wilmington, makers of the infamous cluster bomb. They have discontinued cluster bomb production.

Why do we worship at Raytheon? Each person has some responsibility for the root of war. A loving Spirit would not have weapons made that kill hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. How do we contend with the evil that humans do, and the love that we long for? One response is to go to Textron to pray, asking ourselves, and encouraging others to ask, “Where do wars come from?” We stress that this is not a protest, vigil, or demonstration; nor is this a politicization of our spiritual faith, but rather honoring our Testimony of Peace, and taking our practice to a very dark area of cruelty and barbaric war making. It is, we think, a very faithful way to enact the Beneficial Cycle of deepening worship, strengthening community, and increasing our witness.

Carpools leave FMC at 10:30 am. You can park on Wheeler Street, two blocks east of Raytheon. For more information, contact John Bach at 970-209-8346 or johnmbach@yahoo.com. The following link provides more information on Raytheon: Facts about Raytheon.

Quakers Praying for Peace at Textron Industries, Wilmington, MA
For seven years (2010–2017), Quakers met for worship every third Sunday of the month from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm next to signs reading Quakers Praying for Peace adjacent to the grounds where Textron Defense Systems manufactures an especially gruesome “cluster bomb,” used by our military and also sold to other countries. Textron ceased producing and selling cluster bombs in March of 2017. We continued our Meetings for Worship until then. Textron also makes components for nuclear weapons.
Good Friday Witness for PeaceFor more than 50 years, since 1961, Quakers and friends from other groups have stood in silent vigil on the Boston Common at Park St. from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on Good Friday, witnessing to the power of peace in a broken world.

  • On Friday, April 3, 2015, Quakers and friends from other groups stood in witness to the destructive force of thermonuclear weapons. We handed out this leaflet describing our purpose.
  • On Friday, March 25, 2016, we witnessed to Black Lives Matter and handed out this leaflet.

Welcome HarvardNo matter where you go, there are lessons to be learned — especially on university campuses. One lesson that Harvard teaches through its actions [“Housekeepers vs. Harvard,” Sarah Leonard and Rebecca Rojer, April 10] is the primacy of profits over ethics. One lesson that the striking DoubleTree housekeepers enflesh is the nobility of struggle for decency and fairness. Which lesson is worthier? As the Nicaraguan poet Giocanda Belli says, “Solidarity is the tenderness of the peoples.” The Harvard community is indebted to the workers for reminding us of that lesson and giving us the opportunity to act like truly educated and compassionate people.

John Bach
Quaker Chaplain at Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

International Day of Peace
In 2002, The United Nations established September 21 as the International Day of Peace (IDP), which provides a date for individuals, organizations, and nations to share in celebrations and acts of peace. Special activities and celebrations take place all over the world in over 150 countries. Locally, members of FMC plan a celebration with numerous religious and peace organizations. The event features music, art, dance, poetry, song, stories, and messages of hope on a Sunday afternoon in September closest to the actual date for the IDP on the Boston or Cambridge Common.