NEW FORMS OF QUAKER INTERACTION, 1960-1987
Quaker pacifism and concern for social service and social change, which grew amid social crises in 1930-45, came to fruition in 1945-50 after World War II in overseas relief, mental hospital reform, and new programs in Quaker colleges. The Korean War and conservatism of the 1950s brought these stands under attack, but in the Kennedy era of the 1960s liberal Friends and much of the nation interacted in new ways with blacks seeking civil rights and with Catholics and "counterculture" activists working for peace. Among Friends, East Africa, Jamaica, and Cuba Yearly Meetings became equal members of the Friends United Meeting, the new name of the Five Years Meeting after its session in 1960, as its structure was simplified and it began meeting every three years.
The relation of American and Third World cultures changed in other ways also. Mystical Quakers had long been cordial to mystics in other faiths. By 1930 E. A. Burtt and other Friends had become expert in Buddhist literature. Douglas Steere and Howard and Anna Brinton studied Buddhism in Japan, as did Tom Kelly in Hawaii. In 1960 Pendle Hill, which was soon to be caught up in peace and social justice issues, focused its program on the relation of Quakerism to other faiths. 1 Many Friends practiced the discipline of Zen meditation. Zen masters taught at Pendle Hill and at American Quaker colleges. Many Friends kept meditation journals. Friends and others who explored the psychology of Carl Jung led the Council on Religion and Psychology's annual conferences and issued a thoughtful journal, Inward Light. Friends in the 1960s also responded to Martin Buber's existentialist presentation of Hasidic Judaism and "the life of dialogue." A "working party" of a dozen Quaker writers and social scientists met thrice a year in the 1960s to search for new Quaker symbol-words but agreed only that human sharing of diverse experiences already reflects the undergirding Spirit. Liberal Friends often believed that they could share a common mystical experience that was the essence of all faiths and transcended history and cultures.