The Quakers, also known as the Religious Society of Friends, are spiritual seekers, who meet for quiet worship.
Our faith springs from the experience that each one of us can have a direct relationship with the Divine.
Quakers believe that by meeting together for communal worship, we are empowered to find both peace and strength for our work in the world.
The Quakers have developed from strong Christian roots. However, personal experience and action have always been more important than dogma. Therefore we do not have a creed, and are open to a wide variety of beliefs.
Some central beliefs hold us together as a religious community:
These beliefs lead us to strive for:
We sometimes refer to these as Quaker testimonies.
A Quaker Meeting is silent worship in the presence of the Spirit of God.
There is no pre-arranged service or appointed minister.
The Meeting for Worship is a shared experience, in which worshippers listen for the promptings of God. It may be entirely without words, but usually there are spoken contributions. Anyone may feel the call to speak: man, woman, or child, experienced Quaker or first time visitor.
These contributions are spontaneous, and may be a reflection on personal experience and insight, perhaps including a reading from Quaker writings, the Bible, or other literature.
The Meeting closes with the shaking of hands.
Afterwards there will usually be drinks and biscuits and a chance to talk and spend time with Quaker friends.
Everyone is welcome to join us at our Meeting for Worship.
Children are an important part of the life of Quaker Meetings. Most Meetings make special provision for children in the form of children's groups which meet separately from the main Meeting For Worship.
Children usually join the adults for about 10 or 15 minutes at the beginning or the end of Meeting for Worship. The rest of the time is spent in special children's activities which may include work using Bible stories or Quaker stories. There may be time for children to talk about themselves and the things which are important to them. Older children have a programme of activities to support and challenge them in growing up as Quakers in a difficult world.
Quakers emphasise the importance of daily life and experience, rather than particular religious occasions. We meet on Sundays for convenience, but consider all days equally holy.
Meeting Houses are kept simple, without decoration. Elders nurture the spiritual life of each local Quaker meeting, and overseers provide pastoral care. None of these appointments are permanent, and none are paid. The responsibility for each meeting belongs to everyone.
At Quaker weddings the couple marry each other by making the marriage promise to each other, and seeking God's help for its fulfilment. During the meeting anyone present may speak, and afterwards everyone is invited to sign the Quaker marriage certificate as witnesses.
At Quaker funerals, again everyone can contribute to the worship in silent prayer and reflection or in words. The effect of personal contributions from family and friends of the deceased is often very moving.
Quaker Meetings For Business
Quaker meetings for business are held in the spirit of worship. A Clerk conducts the meeting and acts as its servant. Everyone at the meeting can be involved in the discussion. When it seems right, the Clerk offers a minute which is amended until everyone agrees. It is then accepted without the need for a vote.