Who are the Quakers?
Quakers come from all walks of life and uphold a progressive religious approach based on inward spiritual experience. The name ‘Quaker’ is shorthand for the Religious Society of Friends. This originated in seventeenth-century England as a radical Christian movement. Members of the Society are also often simply called Friends. Around 23,000 people attend nearly 475 Quaker meetings in Britain.
Affirming the equality and dignity of all human beings, regardless of race, creed, gender, or sexuality, Quakers have always been concerned to promote social justice and to relieve suffering wherever it occurs.
Above all Quakers oppose the waging of war and violence as the means of solving social problems. Quakers are often found working for peace and reconciliation locally, nationally and internationally.
Click here for the Quaker weekly, The Friend.
Click here to find out about Quaker Quest.
What do Quakers believe?
Quakers believe that within every human being there is a spark of something which can be called God, the divine, or the Spirit.
In the quiet stillness of their meetings for worship Quakers try to be open to this spirit or ‘inward light’ in the belief that God’s real presence can be found amongst the worshippers.
Quaker beliefs are rooted in Christianity but we do not regard the Bible as the only source of God’s truth, and we are open to the insights of other faiths and to new light from wherever it may come.
Click here for Quaker faith and practice, which describes our spiritual experience, and our ways of organising our Meetings.
How do Quakers worship?
Meeting for Worship is very simple. It is normally held on Sunday mornings, for one hour. Those attending are greeted at the door and invited to take a seat in the Meeting Room among others settling in silence. There is no appointed minister and no order of service. At some meetings the silence can last for the whole hour and become very deep and powerful; at others the experience of stillness may lead one or more people to speak briefly in what is known as ministry. The meeting ends when an elder shakes hands with his or her neighbours.
After the meeting, and any necessary notices, all present welcome the chance to talk over a cup of tea or coffee.