Who are the Quakers?
We will find that out together! Different Quakers have different answers to this question. You may also hear Quakers referred to as the “Religious Society of Friends,” and we often refer to each other as Friends. While Quakers have roots in Christianity and being “friends of Jesus” (and many Quakers are Christian), there are Quakers who have also found truth in other faith traditions or simply the wonders of the universe.
Core to the Quaker experience is the idea that each person is able to listen to the Inner Light (also known as God, or Spirit, or Christ, or Conscience, or by other names) and can be guided by this experience. Gathered together in silence, we listen deeply and share as we feel led. Quakers generally do not adhere to what they call “outward forms” of worship such as communion or baptism or other rituals, and there is a focus on the worth of every human being (often referred to seeing “that of God” in everyone).
Anyone can be ministers and/or speakers of truth, as the connection to God does not require the intermediaries of priests or ceremonies. We discern together whether what we hear resonates as truth, or “speaks to our condition.” This carries over to our way of doing business – we seek a sense of the meeting together: a sort of spiritually-based agreement to move forward in a particular way. There is a focus on finding the sacred as part of everyday living – mindfulness in action. Quakers shape the decisions of the community together as equals, listening together for the guidance of the Spirit.
The tenets of the Quaker faith are also known as “testimonies” – some of the basic testimonies include: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship (sometimes remembered by the acronym “SPICES”). Testimonies are not fixed or part of a creed, but rather a distillation of how Quakers strive to live their faith and do good in the world.
Quakers have a rich history and there are many resources to explore – some will be provided on this site, and others we will explore in our time together! What is even more important than how things have always been done is how we will shape the future of our faith together.