The Quaker understanding of concern
Throughout the history of the Religious Society of Friends we have recognised that to anyone may come, at any time, a special inward calling to carry out a particular service. It is characterised by a feeling of having been directly called by God and by an imperative to act.
The ministry which has been carried out 'under concern' is a remarkable record of strength and perseverance in adversity. Many speak of the peace that came to them with the certainty that they were working with God. Recognising concern has also placed an obligation on the meeting which tests and supports it. Friends have on occasion been released from financial considerations and in some cases their families have been cared for whilst they carried out the service required of them.
A concern may arise unexpectedly out of an interest or may creep up on one out of worshipful search for the way forward. It may be in line with current desires and projects or it may cut across them; it may lead to action which is similar to that undertaken by others or it may require a brave striking out into the unknown.