The Quakers are finding a new strategy for church growth: Merge with paganism! From “Pagans find a sometimes uneasy home among Quakers”, referring to “a small but growing movement of Quakers who also identify as pagan — a trend that may or may not exist in other Christian traditions, but certainly not in such an organized, public fashion”:
Across the board, the number of Quakers is dwindling, to roughly 100,000 in the U.S. But if Quakerism continues to catch on among the estimated half million pagans in the U.S., those who embrace both traditions predict that could reverse the Quakers’ downward trend. Still, some Quakers worry about losing their own traditions through the process of accepting new ones.
In the last decade, this dual faith has sprung up around the country, including Quaker-pagan gatherings, seminars, an extensive presence on the Internet, and even explicitly Quaker-pagan congregations. There may be only several hundred Quaker pagans, but among American Quakers, their presence can be distinctly felt.
“It seems that now, in most liberal meetings at least, you can always find a few members that identify as pagan,” says Stasa Morgan-Appel of Ann Arbor, Mich., who has facilitated a Quaker pagan interest group since 2002.
Quakers — officially the Religious Society of Friends — are divided into four main branches, three of which are explicitly Christian. Pagans have been generally joining the liberal fourth branch, the Friends General Conference, which counts 30,000 members in North America, including Morgan-Appel.