The Quakers are a free-thinking faith organisation with a long tradition of challenging accepted norms, helping the disadvantaged and working for peace. During the 17th century, the Quakers challenged the established church by refusing to have clergy and doctrines, a practice that continues to this day.
You will find Quakers at the heart of many peace campaigns and working to help those who are treated unfairly in our society and around the world.
Quakers meet at Meeting Houses to sit in silence believing that in the stillness inner promptings are revealed that help guide our lives.
A Spiritual Home for Today
Many people are busier than ever with less time for themselves and their families. We might go to the gym to keep physically healthy, but where do we go to look after our inner selves, to keep spiritually healthy?
Spirituality is an awareness of that which is deepest within us, that which responds to other people and the world around us, that which gives us a direction in life.Miranda Salamon
Quaker Meetings provide a place and community to help people listen to the inner voice that gives direction to their lives. This inner voice goes by many names. Some call it God, some the Inner Teacher or Inner Light, others don't attempt to give it a name at all. But we all understand the value of sitting in silence during a Quaker Meeting for Worship that leads to promptings from within.
"True silence ... is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.William Penn, 1699
What Quakers Do
But it's not just about the silent worship. It's also about what we do, trying to live our lives in a better way, upholding Quaker values, creating a community that is inclusive and tolerant, and expressing our values through the work we do, particularly helping those who are disadvantaged.
Quakers try to lead their lives according to four testimonies, equality, peace, simplicity and truth. Some say that the root of Quaker values is equality. Equality guides us to;
- turn away from conflict towards peace and reconciliation
- act with integrity and honesty
- tread lightly on the earth and have care for its limited resources
- help those who are disadvantaged
- seek to bring justice where there is inequality and unfairness
What do Quakers Believe?
We believe in unity based on shared understanding and a shared practice of worship, not on our beliefs all being the same. There is no need to be in unity with Quakers on every issue in order to be part of our meetings.
We believe that as individuals we continue to learn, grow and develop through experience, reflection and the wisdom of others. We are open to new learning, or new light as it is often called, from many sources and do not hold one text above all others. Because we don't have a hierarchy or clergy, we don't have a doctrine that we are expected to follow. So while many Quakers might consider themselves to be from a Christian tradition, they are open to the teachings of others.
Quaker work is driven by our commitment to social justice, peace, and care for the environment.
Do not be content to accept things as they are, but keep an alert and questioning mind. Seek to discover the causes of social unrest, injustice and fear...Work for an order of society which will allow men and women to develop their capacitiesQuaker Faith & Practice, 23.02
In order to care for others, it's important to care for ourselves too - to support and nurture the 'life of the Meeting'. We work to nurture the practical and spiritual lives of our Quaker community by providing and facilitating training and resources, support networks and advice, spiritual retreats and pastoral care.