Who are the Quakers?
Quakers – officially known as The Religious Society of Friends – are a group of roughly a third of a million individuals worldwide, who refer to each other simply as “Friends”.
The Society was founded as a radical Christian movement in 17th century England. Today, Quakers come from a great variety of backgrounds and continue to uphold a progressive spiritual approach.
What is Quakerism?
Quakerism is a way of life, rather than a dogma or creed. It rests on the conviction that by looking into their inmost hearts people can have direct communion with something much deeper than thought – a profound and loving source of inspiration. This experience cannot ultimately be described in words, but Quakers aspire to base their whole lives on it. Quakers have helped to begin many charities and non-profit organisations as well as large businesses.
What all Quakers have in common
There are differences in style of practice between Quakers as individuals, between local meetings, and especially between different parts of the world. Nonetheless, all Quakers share these things in common:
- A commitment to silent worship
- The welcoming of sensitive ministry from anyone present at a meeting
- Absence of any ‘spiritual’ authority, such as a priesthood or scripture (although individual teachers or scriptures may be regarded as inspirational)
- Lack of dogma or creed
- A commitment to working towards social justice, peace, humane treatment of prisoners, animals etc.