Towards a Quaker View of Sex

FHSC Responds to Criticism


Gorman responded quickly to criticism by calling a special meeting of the Friends Home Service Committee executive committee that released a statement (minute) that was received by the Meeting for Sufferings.


Reproduced by permission of The Friend, March 8, 1963, p. 271; and HSC Quaker Group on Homosexuality records, Friends House, London


Friends Home Service Committee
Friends House
Euston Road
London N.W.1

20th February, 1963

TO: Members of the Executive & Finance Committee
and the Working Group on Extension Matters.

Dear Friend,

After consultation with the Deputy Chairman of General Committee and the Chairman of the Executive Committee it has been decided to call a special meeting of the above two committees on Thursday, February 28th, at 5 p.m., in Room 37 at Friends House, to consider what responsibility we may have to help those embers of the Society who are perturbed by the publication of the essay, "Towards a Quaker View of Sex", and by the publicity it has aroused. The Chairman of the Literature Committee and the Chairman of the group of Friends responsible for the publication of the essay have also been invited to attend.

As some Friends may have other previous engagements immediately before the meeting tea will be served at 5 p.m. We are sorry for this short notice, but we hope that as many members of the groups as possible will be able to attend.

In case you have not seen the essay a copy is enclosed.

Yours sincerely,
George H. Gorman
General Secretary

The Friend
March 8, 1963

Publications Procedure to Be Re-Examined

The following minute was received from the executive Committee of the Friends Home Service Committee:

"The Executive Committee of the Home Service Committee has met with a number of Friends connected with its literature and extension work and with the chairman of the group that prepared the essay Towards a Quaker View of Sex in an an endeavor to see whether anything helpful might be said to Meeting for Sufferings in face of the criticism levelled against the essay and the unhappiness which many Friends are feeling.

We recognize that the publication of the essay under the imprint of this Committee gives rise to misunderstanding, but it has for many years been our practice to publish papers written by concerned Friends or groups of Friends and it was, therefore, natural for this particular group to approach the Committee. We on our part were glad, recognizing the depth of their concern, to undertake the publication and we feel that publication on any other basis would not have prevented confusion in the public mind. The clear statement that the essay does not embody the official view of the Society has been generally accepted in Press comments as well as in the television broadcast.

We recognize also that the timing of the broadcast, which was initiated by the BBC, was unfortunate and that distress was caused to many Friends by its taking place before the essay was published.

In light of this experience the Committee proposes to re-examine its policy in regard to its publications and the questions of publicity which arise in relation to them and will report to Meeting for Sufferings in due course if so desired. Meanwhile, we hope that Friends will read the essay carefully, recognising that it is the outcome of prayerful con-


To member of Meeting for Sufferings
and Elders who regularly attend

At a Meeting for Sufferings
held in London
1st March 1963

Minute 6: "Towards a Quaker View of Sex"

The attached Minute is received from the Home Service Committee, and Derek Crosfield has spoken to it. The Home Service Committee has from time to time issued pamphlets on subjects of interest to Friends and enquirers, and has not in general submitted these before publication to a representative body of Friends. The essay "Towards a Quaker View of Sex" is the work of a serious, informed and responsible group of Friends working under sincere concern; its publication by the Home Service Committee and the use of the word "Quaker" in the title have given the impression to many that the views of the group are the views of the Society. The publication has attracted immense publicity, some frivolous but much serious, including warm commendation and strong criticism. Many Friends have been deeply distressed by the publication in this way of so controversial an essay without adequate consultation, and by the resulting publicity.

We accept the offer of the Home Service Committee to reconsider their procedure in sponsoring publications and to report to us at a later meeting.

Stephen C. Morland
Clerk this time
Stephen Thorne (signature)
Recording Clerk