‘Quakers’ is the usual name used for the Religious Society of Friends. We are a faith group committed to living out what we believe in: creating a fairer, more just society for everyone. Quaker faith is based on experience, and it is openness to spiritual experience, rather than any specific belief system, which is at the centre for us. Quakerism has its roots in Christianity but we have always found meaning and value in the teachings of other faiths and traditions.
Quakers usually hold Meetings for Worship for an hour on Sunday mornings, although meetings can also take place at other times. You can find the details of the Meetings for Worship held in this area on the ‘Our Locations’ page of this website. Meeting for Worship begins when the first person has taken their place in the room and ends when two Quakers shake hands. We sit in a circle, which reminds us of the equality of everyone present. Our Meetings for Worship are based on silence, and a meeting of an hour may not include any spoken ministry. We try to find a place of stillness within the silence in which we can reflect, listen and connect with others at Meeting.
Out of the silence might come a call to speak, and any individual in the meeting may stand up and speak to the gathered group: what is said is a response to the experience of the worship. When others speak to us sincerely from the depth of their experience, whether in Meeting for Worship or elsewhere, we are advised to listen to what truth their words may contain for us.
Testimonies and beliefs
Quakers believe there is that of God in everyone, that the experience of a spiritual life is open to all and that the Quaker Way is a path, not a destination. Some principles that we hold in common are call “testimonies”. These are not beliefs so much as ways in which we show our faith in our lives. Quaker Testimonies of Peace, Equality, Simplicity, Truth and Sustainability are aspirations rather than rules.
Quaker beliefs and the way we express them vary greatly. Some believe firmly in a personal God, and in the resurrection of Christ; others find that these beliefs do not speak to them at all. The language used to describe our personal experiences can also vary greatly, while the words used in our publications is often traditionally Christian. Quakers are essentially non-judgemental and do not seek to evangelise or convert others to our ways or beliefs.
Quakers believe our faith is lived through action. We work positively and creatively with others to build a more just and peaceful world.
Quakers are committed to equality. We share responsibility for our work and worship and our life together without traditional structures or paid clergy.
Quakers try to live simply so that others can simply live. We are aware that in using the world’s resources we have a responsibility to those who may be affected by our use of resources. This doesn’t mean that we shun modern lifestyle but we try to consider the impact our choices might have on ourselves, others, and on the Earth itself.
Quakers try to live according to the deepest truth we know, and we connect most deeply to this in the stillness of worship. This means speaking the truth at all times, including to people in positions of power. As we are guided by integrity, so we expect to see it in public life.
Quakers are called to consider the effect of their lives on the world’s limited resources. We have committed ourselves, as a worshiping community, to work towards building a low-carbon, sustainable society.
In 2008, Quakers from Meetings in Cambridgeshire and Manchester launched a partnership with Quakers from the Community of Evangelical Friends’ Churches in Congo (CEEACO).
UK Quakers provide money and mentoring for trauma counselling – including support for orphans, for a community hospital, and for loans for women to set up small businesses. Congo Quakers provide regular reports coupled with their suggestions for new ways to address their continuing needs.
All the projects, based in and around Abeka in South Kivu province, are open equally to those of any faith (or none) and from any tribal background.