Who are the Friends and what are the Quakers?

In the seventeenth century amidst civil wars and radical Protestant uprisings, a group of English lay persons, both men and women dissatisfied with the Church of England, began travelling and preaching throughout Great Britain, northeastern Europe, and the American Colonies under the leadership of George Fox (1624-1691). Originally the Seekers, Camp of the Lord, and later the Religious Society of Friends of Truth, in 1650 they came to be known as the Quakers because they warned others to quake for fear at the threatened punishment of God (as well as quaking with religious fervor when filled with the Holy Spirit). Abandoning formal church dogma and orthodox structure, they consisted of close, primitive congregations which held local meetings for worship, called Meetings of Friends. Guided by the Holy Spirit and the Light of Christ in each soul, members were encouraged to engage in personal experiences with God, the results of which were measured against biblical scripture. New believers, called "Children of Light," were believed to already have the Inner Light of Christ within them and needed no assistance from ordained ministers or priests to come to a personal relationship with Jesus. They were also marked as conscientious objectors to war, avoided taking oaths, disdained fashions and titles, dressed simply (often similarly), practiced equality, believed in universal brotherhood, refused to own or trade slaves, would not serve in public office, did not pay tithes, refused to attend established church services, promoted humanitarianism, and forbade personal indulgences. The Quakers were often persecuted both in England and America for denouncing the clergy of legal denominations and their suffering helped lead to the Toleration Act of 1689, an act of Parliament which granted freedom of worship to Nonconformists (excluding Catholics and Unitarians). During the eighteenth century, Quaker missionary work began to give way to upright living, and the lives of its members became strictly regulated and disciplined. Due to disagreements over evangelical doctrines, religious authority, and antislavery tactics, the Quakers split into three groups from 1827-28, known as the Hicksites (liberals), Gurneyites (activists), and Wilburites (conservatives). Currently, the four primary organizations of Friends include the Friends General Conference, Friends United Meeting, Evangelical Friends International, and Conservative Friends.

Friends have traditionally rejected creeds, but today's Quakers generally agree on these tenets:
  • There is That of God in all persons, often called the Seed or Christ Within or Inward Light, which can guide and shape each life in accordance with the will of God.
  • God is directly accessible to all persons without the need of either an intermediary priest or ritual. God speaks in a manner that is personal, direct and certain - a continuing revelation. This discernment is clarified through collective worship.
  • The Scriptures can be understood only by entering into the Spirit which produced them. Divine revelation did not end with the publication of the Bible but has continued through history and remains available to the person or worshipping group open to receive it.
  • True religion cannot be learned from books, set prayers or rituals alone, but comes from direct experience of God.
  • The infinity of Divine Truth cannot be confined by a creed or dogma. To do so would trivialize it and deny the importance of experiencing it directly.
  • Friends continually work to remove the causes of conflict and war, striving to trust in love rather than to react in fear.
  • God's creation should be respected and preserved. Concern for the environment and right sharing of resources are evidence of this respect.
The power and love of God is over all, erasing the artificial division between the secular and religious. All of life, when lived in the Spirit, becomes sacramental. Quakerism is thus a way of life, putting faith into daily actions. (From the Friends Journal at http://www.friendsjournal.org/about/about_frame.html.)

The following affirmation of faith comes from the website of the Evangelical Friends International (http://www.evangelical-friends.org/about/beliefs.html).
  1. We believe in the one holy and loving God, who exists eternally in three persons--Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, and the final judge of everyone who lives within it.

  2. We believe in the deity and the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is at the same time fully God and fully man. We believe in His Virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood on Calvary's cross, in His bodily resurrection from the dead, in His ascension, in His being seated (enthroned) at the right hand of the heavenly Father, and in His second coming to earth in power and great glory.

  3. We believe in the Bible, the holy scripture of the Old and New Testaments, to be the fully inspired, infallible, authoritative, written word of God. God is the source of truth and apart from His revelation no spiritual insights or principles are binding upon us. The Holy Spirit illuminates the scriptures and applies their truth to our lives, bur never leads individuals or groups contrary to their teachings. We are obligated to obey what the scriptures teach and to subject all our doctrines and traditions to their authority.

  4. We believe that God created the human being, male and female, in His own image. When Adam and Eve fell into disobedience and rebellion toward God, they were alienated from Him and the perfect image of God was warped, marred, stained and corrupted. As a result all people inherit a pervasive sinfulness that invades every part of their beings. Further, all people sin by their own willful choices, falling short of both their own personal standards and also of God's moral law. This moral depravity means that everyone is sinful and separated from God and needs to be redeemed and regenerated through Christ's by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  5. We believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross, shedding His blood for us and for our sins and rose again from the dead to make us right with God. A person receives salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and not by being good enough to deserve it. To those who receive Christ, God grants forgiveness of sins, the gift of eternal life and ultimately the resurrection of the body to live forever in the new heavens and new earth. Rejecting Jesus Christ and His provisions for salvation and forgiveness of sins results in the penalty of eternal death in hell. The presence of saving faith is revealed by a life lived in obedience to the will of God and results in the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do.

  6. We believe that Christ lives in us and we live in Him. Living in this union with Christ we find out true identity in Him. We are crucified, buried, made alive, raised up and seated with Christ at the right hand of the Father. As a result our actual identity is no longer in outward appearances such as performance, looks, intelligence ability or wealth but rather that each of us is a child of God, a new creation in Christ Jesus. We believe that we can experience Christ directly and intimately without the intervention of human priests or required rituals. Our experience is that we commune with Christ daily as Lord, Savior, Teacher and Friend.

  7. We believe the Holy Spirit lives within every person who truly receives Jesus Christ. He satisfies our deepest longings for grace, truth, love power and righteousness. We respond to these riches of Christ with faith, hope, love, obedience and holy living. The Holy Spirit counsels and helps the Christian to train for godly living. He also gives one or more spiritual gifts to every saint (Christian) to serve God with a fruitful life. Within each true believer in Christ He grows the fruit of loving character qualities. We believe that every Christian is commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit, yielding heart, mind, spirit, soul and body as God's holy temple.

  8. We believe that in living union with Christ every Christian has the authority to overcome the three major spiritual enemies of this life--the world, the flesh and the devil. The world is the system that is organized to leave God out and to applaud those who violate Christian values. The flesh is the inner weakness within each of us that finds temptation attractive and desires what is evil instead of what is good. The devil is Satan, along with his forces of evil, fallen angels sometimes called demons, that deceive, accuse and harass Christians. Christ has already defeated Satan and all his evil powers at the cross and in the resurrection. Our Lord Jesus is now exalted to the highest place with absolute authority over all His enemies. In Christ we have all the resources we need to win the battle for our minds and overcome the evil one. These resources include God's Spirit, God's Word, God's Works, and God's people.

  9. We believe the church is composed of all people who through repentance and faith receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and become His devoted followers in fellowship with like-minded believers. This church, universal in scope, unites all true Christians in spirit to love one another, live holy lives and proclaim the gospel to all the world. It has local expressions in individual congregations and in families of churches called denominations or movements. Our denomination is called Friends, from the words of Jesus, "You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:16 NIV)" The church gathers to worship God, encourage believers, preach the gospel, teach the Bible, equip the saints, serve the needy, and pray for God's best. The church then fans out into the community and the world to demonstrate the love of Christ and the presence of His reign in the daily routines and crises of life. As a body the church uses its material, organizational and spiritual resources to obey its Head, Jesus Christ, until His coming kingdom finds fulfillment in His return.

  10. We believe in the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and all the great events of the end times prophesied in scripture. We refuse to divide fellowship over disputed questions of eschatology that are not clear in the scriptures. We believe in the great resurrection of both the saved and the lost. We believe everyone will stand before Christ in the final judgment to receive their just due. Those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life will inherit their eternal rewards in the new heavens and the new earth, freed forever from selfishness, sin, demonic influence, control and all evil. The finally unrepentant wicked will suffer the eternal condemnation of hell prepared for the devil and his angels. At that time Christ will reign fully over the restored universe and God the Father will be fully glorified.

  11. We believe the chief end of men and women is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

        "Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you! For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you." (Isaiah 64:1-3)

American Friends Service Committee

"The American Friends Service Committee was founded in 1917 to provide young Quakers and other conscientious objectors an opportunity to serve those in need instead of fighting during World War I. Four decades later, the AFSC and the British Friends Service Council accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of all Quakers. In making the presentation, Gunnar Jahn, chairman of the Nobel Committee, said, "It is through silent assistance from the nameless to the nameless that they have worked to promote the fraternity between nations cited in the will of Alfred Nobel." ...Recognizing that most conflicts have their roots in injustice, the Quaker organization has been long concerned with eliminating injustice at home in the United States. This has led to a long history of involvement with Native Americans, Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, migrant workers, prisoners, and the poor. The AFSC helps work with people to organize community action to obtain better schools, better housing, and better working conditions. Also throughout the United States, the AFSC works continually to create an informed public opinion on the issues of war and peace... The American Friends Service Committee carries out service, development, social justice, and peace programs throughout the world. Founded by Quakers in 1917 to provide conscientious objectors with an opportunity to aid civilian war victims, AFSC's work attracts the support and partnership of people of many races, religions, and cultures. AFSC's work is based on the Quaker belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. The organization's mission and achievements won worldwide recognition in 1947 when it accepted the Nobel Peace Prize with the British Friends Service Council on behalf of all Quakers. The AFSC is directed by a Quaker board and staffed by Quakers and other people of faith who share the Friends' desire for peace and social justice."

The Australian Quaker Home Page

"Quakers believe that each person can know God from personal experience and that this spiritual experience is a source of growth, enlightenment and love. Quakers began as a radical Christian sect, but they do not believe inspiration is confined to one sacred book or that Truth can be defined by a creed. Many Quakers see Jesus as an example of life guided by God, and find that Jesus can show us how to live and love. Words cannot convey the essence of spiritual experience, and individual Quakers will express their understanding in different ways. Quakers often speak of the 'Inner Light' and 'the Spirit': by these phrases they mean the divine stirrings within each of us, the promptings of God which illuminate our lives and lead us to make good and loving choices. How can one be sure that this 'illumination' is indeed divine? Quakers share and test their ideas with others because they find that the insight of a group is more reliable than that of an individual. Valuable sympathy and guidance often comes from the pooled wisdom of the group - in fact a Society of Friends. The Meeting for Worship is central to the Quaker way of life. Quakers usually hold a public Meeting for about an hour on Sundays but they may gather at any time. The Meeting for Worship begins when people sit together in silence. They settle into a time of quiet worship in which daily preoccupations fall away and stillness gathers all over as they open themselves to the Spirit. There are no programmed hymns, prayers or sermons during a Meeting for Worship. Sometimes an individual may feel guided to speak in order to share a particular insight or experience. The words are spoken in a sense of worship, not debate or lecture. Each meeting is unique and may be experienced as strengthening, enlightening, joyful or searching. Quakers find that during a Meeting for Worship both silence and speech can lead to spiritual renewal and growth. Australian Quakers do not ordain ministers or appoint pastors. Instead, the responsibility for the quality of worship and pastoral care is shared by members of the group. Quakers are members of the Religious Society of Friends - the formal name for the group. The Society began with people brought together by George Fox in England around 1650 and has spread world wide. Each local meeting runs its own affairs with regular business meetings in which all members are encouraged to participate. Each Australian state also has a regular Regional Meeting and there is an annual Yearly Meeting that gathers Friends from around Australia. The meetings support an Australian secretary, currently based in Melbourne. There are also international links through the Friends World Committee for Consultation. Business meetings are a spiritual exercise to find the will of God. In the process of decision making, the group seeks unity and no votes are taken. Women and men take an equal role in worship and business, as they have done from the beginning of the Society. Some Quakers grow up in a Quaker family, but many people come to the Society as adults and find it is their spiritual home. Application for formal membership may follow if they find that Quakers provide a spiritual community where they can grow and contribute. Quakers believe that there is something of God in everyone and that every person is capable of giving and receiving love. Thus every person is valuable and oppression is never acceptable because it is also oppression of the spirit of God. Many Quakers are pacifists. Early Friends were known for their strong code of self-denial, but these days they are open to joy and growth in all aspects of life. Quakers try to live out their religion in their daily lives, and many feel called to serve others through voluntary work, their employment, or through their family life. Quaker Service Australia organises aid and development projects in Australia and overseas. Friends' spiritual experience has led us to a concern for personal integrity, social justice and for peace. We try to bring our lives and actions into conformity with our beliefs. Quakers believe that there is 'that of God' in everyone and that all people have the same privileges and responsibilities regardless of race, age, creed, general or sexual orientation. We value all people and affirm the power and joy of all truly loving relationships."

Canadian Friends Historical Association

"The Canadian Friends Historical Association was founded in 1972 with the aim of preserving and making known the religious, cultural, social and pioneer heritage of Quakers from when they first settled in Canada until today."

Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

"Who are the Quakers? What do they stand for? How do they operate? Officially we are called the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Unofficially, we call ourselves either Quakers or Friends. To begin with, we are a religious society. Stephen Leacock once wrote wryly: 'Anybody can start a movement by beginning with himself.' George Fox did just that. His place and time was England in the mid-17th century. He grew up surrounded by social and political ferment, and besieged within by religious unrest. He was a deeply committed Christian, who did not intend to start a movement, a sect, or a church. But he attracted followers as other seekers heard of his ideas. What were those ideas? Simple but radical. A human being can have direct communion with God, without the intervention of another human being (a minister), an institution (the church), or a book (the Bible). Ordinary people sit together anywhere in silent worship, without clergy, liturgy, or sacraments (all of life is sacred). There we can feel a Presence and listen for the voice of God in our own lives. We are seekers of Truth, and that Truth is based on direct experience. Each of us has 'that of God' within us - the indwelling spirit of Christ, the Light within - which links us to God and to each other. Rank, race, religion, political persuasion, all these things become unimportant. We are equal, and can speak to 'that of God' in others. All of this led George Fox and his friends into a lot of trouble. The implications of these ideas were - and still are - far-reaching. The concept of 'that of God within' for example, meant that Friends would not bear arms against another person, or pay tithes to help support armies. George Fox once wrote that he 'lived in the virtue of that life and power that took away the occasion of all wars.' The early Quakers acted on the premise that love will work as a way of life, and championed the cause of the less fortunate. Their sensitivity to the plight of the poor, imprisoned and oppressed made them tireless workers for justice and equality. Equality was an important issue. In those days the custom was to take off one's hat, and bow, and use the respectful 'you' instead of the familiar 'thee/thou' with those of higher social rank. This Quakers refused to do. Nor would they use titles in addressing or referring to others. Rich, poor, old, young, men, women, educated, uneducated, privileged, oppressed - all were treated equally and simply called by their full or first names. There was an emphasis on simplicity and plainness of speech and dress, which became rigidly entrenched as time went on. Not only did early Quakers reject the established church and ministry, they also actively stirred people against it, and were often arrested for interrupting sermons or causing disturbances in village squares. When brought to court, they refused to swear oaths on the Bible, stating firmly that there are not two standards of truth, and following literally the biblical commandment to 'swear not at all.' It is hardly surprising, then, that the authorities considered Quakers dangerous heretics, and imprisoned many of them. George Fox himself was in prison many times. But always on his release he travelled around the country again with his fervour undiminished. He even visited friends in Barbados, Jamaica, and the American colonies late in his life. Today the 'testimonies' of those early Friends are still at the centre of Quaker work and witness. To begin with, the tradition of pacifism remains. In times of war, some Friends have taken non-combative roles such as in Friends' Ambulance Units, and others have gone to jail for refusing to accept the draft. In peacetime, many are refusing to pay the military portion of their income tax. In our social concerns we have continued to work with unpopular causes. Whether sending medical aid to all sides during the Vietnam War, taking a stand against capital punishment, working toward the abolition of prisons, seeking the spiritual roots of the environmental crisis or championing the rights of native people, we find as much to commit ourselves to now as 300 years ago. And these actions arise from the same religious convictions. We still do not use titles. We still espouse simplicity, though we no longer dress differently than anyone else. We 'affirm' rather than take an oath in court. But perhaps we have mellowed, and the authorities have mellowed, for we no longer seem to be so often put in jail. Today Friends co-operate with other religious groups, especially in working on common social concerns, and we hold membership in the Canadian Council of Churches. We in Canadian Yearly Meeting still do not go to church or have a paid ministry. But we do pay attention to the ministry of others, to the teachings of other religious groups, and to recorded religious experiences, biblical or otherwise. Our own experience is basic, but in our search for Truth we accept insights from many sources."

Fellowship of Friends of African Descent

"The Fellowship of Friends of African Descent was born out of the worldwide Gathering of Friends of African Descent planned by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting�s Racial Concerns Committee in 1990. Nearly 100 adults attended that conference which was held at Pendle Hill. Friends from across the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa gathered from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. FFAD was formed out of a desire that Black Quakers know each other. The Fellowship�s mission statement was adopted by the organization in 1991: To publish and respond to the concerns of Friends of African descent within the Religious Society of Friends; To provide for the nurture of Friends of African descent, their families and friends; To address and respond to issues affecting people of African descent in their communities worldwide... Early Friends sought to revive a form of primitive Christianity, without creed, outward sacraments, or paid clergy. In the course of Quaker history a variety of spiritual practices evolved as Friends followed the inward leadings of the Divine presence. Today those spiritual practices include both unprogrammed, and programmed Meetings for Worship. Unprogrammed meetings for Worship worshippers gather together in silence to seek the Divine presence, speaking out of the silence when led to do so by the movement of Spirit. Programmed meetings may include pastoral prayer, responsive readings, music, scripture, and sermon. Quakers believe that all are called to minister to one another; that each person has direct access to the Divine�an inner light present within; and that individuals must search and come to a personal understanding of their own Faith . During the past three centuries, consistent testimonies have emerged which bear witness that the Spirit can be trusted to lead toward simplicity, equality, justice, nonviolence, peace, and stewardship of the earth."

Friends Committee on National Legislation

"The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is a public interest lobby founded in 1943 by members of the Religious Society of Friends. FCNL seeks to bring the concerns, experiences and testimonies of Friends (called Quakers) to bear on policy decisions in the nation's capital. People of many religious backgrounds participate in this work. FCNL�s staff and volunteers work with a nationwide network of thousands of people to advocate social and economic justice, peace, and good government. FCNL is a 501(c)4 public interest lobby, not a political action committee (PAC) nor a special interest lobby. FCNL's multi-issue advocacy connects historic Quaker testimonies on peace, equality, simplicity and truth with peace and social justice issues which the United States government is or should be addressing. FCNL seeks to follow the leadings of the Spirit as it speaks for itself and for like-minded people... FCNL's efforts include Capitol Hill visits, congressional testimony, sign-on letters, and preparation of educational materials, such as the monthly FCNL Washington Newsletter. Through the timely distribution of educational and advocacy materials, FCNL staff help to mobilize people across the U.S. to participate actively in the legislative process. FCNL has the expertise and flexibility to respond quickly to new initiatives, as well as the patience to work for long-term change."

Friends General Conference

"FGC provides resources and opportunities that educate and invite members and attenders to experience, individually and corporately, God's living presence, and to discern and follow God's leadings. FGC reaches out to seekers and to other religious bodies inside and outside the wider Religious Society of Friends... Friends General Conference is a Quaker organization in the unprogrammed tradition of the Religious Society of Friends which primarily serves affiliated yearly and monthly meetings. It is our experience that: faith is based on direct experience of God; our lives witness this experience individually and corporately; by answering that of God in everyone, we build and sustain inclusive community. FGC provides resources and opportunities that educate and invite members and attenders to experience, individually and corporately, God's living presence, and to discern and follow God's leadings. FGC reaches out to seekers and to other religious bodies inside and outside the wider Religious Society of Friends... Friends General Conference is governed by a Central Committee composed of 170 Friends, 112 of whom are appointed by affiliated yearly and monthly meetings. The work of FGC is carried out by the staff and volunteer members of its program committees. These committees are: Advancement and Outreach; Christian and Interfaith Relations; Friends Meeting House Fund; Long Range Conference Planning; Ministry and Nurture; Publications and Distribution; Religious Education. Friends General Conference is an association of 14 yearly meetings and regional groups and 7 directly affiliated monthly meetings."

The Friends of Jesus Christ

"In the course of human history the Lord Jehovah has manifested his glorious power from time to time in a most eminent manner, as for instance in the Garden of Eden, at the Flood, in the deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Pharaoh, in the glorious Resurrection of Christ from the dead, in the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Ghost, in the most amazing spread of the Gospel during the time of the apostles, in the Reformation in Europe, and in the powerful moving of His Holy Spirit through the men and women of the Society of Friends who were in scorn called Quakers, whereby He spread the Gospel afresh throughout the western hemisphere after a dark night of apostasy. The following writings are accounts and memoirs of some of the more eminent of these Gospel laborers. Unfortunately, all spiritual movements have a life cycle. They have a birth, an early growth in youthful power and vigor, a mature growth, a time of spiritual decline, and lastly a spiritual death wherein the institution or organization remains but the life and power no longer exists in its members. At this stage there remains only a talk about its doctrines and a pretense in its claims to be that original living body (much the same as the Roman Catholic Church claims to be the apostolic church when in actuality it does not resemble that glorious church in the least). But its death is evident by the visible fact that it is no longer a spiritual force in the world. It no longer has converts and it no longer suffers persecution from the world, two things that the Spirit of Christ will always produce when He resides in the hearts of a people. We consider that movement of God among and through the early Quakers to have been by far and away the most spiritual and powerful manifestation of God on the earth since the apostolic days. The deep spirituality of their lives, their profound separation from the world with all of its deluding pleasures and cares, their unstinting sacrifices for the cause of Christ and lost souls, their unmatched courage in their ministries, their boldness to speak the word of truth even before kings, all of these things demonstrate that they were in deed and in fact the people of God in that age. Unfortunately for the world, the people who call themselves Quakers today are not even a shadow of those stalwart and spiritual men and women who were called by that name in days of yore. Some of them try to emulate those amazing saints, but they are unable to do so because they have never experienced the same sin-killing power in their own lives that would allow the Holy Ghost to dwell in them and work through them. They speak many of the words of the old Quakers but they lack the inward work and understanding of what those words really mean. Thus, they have no spiritual understanding nor do they have spiritual power for the salvation of a lost world. They have a name that they try to live but they are dead. George Fox and the early ministers of Quakerism well understood that true religion is not in rites or church fellowship or even in true doctrine. True religion is in the possession of the Life and Power of a risen Christ to give deliverance from sin and from the power of Satan and to give a living access to the throne of God. It is having fellowship with the Savior. Unconverted church members may easily know about Jesus, but only true Christians can know Him in a very personal way. Likewise any unconverted person may easily know Quaker history and Quaker doctrines without being in that same spirit and power that they were in. They may even try to imitate the Quakers of old, but it is impossible to imitate the life and power of Christ. A bare imitation can produce only hypocrisy and folly. It is like a child dressing up in her mother's clothes and pretending to be a big lady. There are some few people that hope to revive Quakerism. But this is a forlorn hope. No movement of God that has gone through its cycle of life and death has ever been revived. That is not the way that God works. He does not revive the old bones of that which is in death. The dead are unclean and must be buried. He raises up a new thing in the earth, just as he did in Fox's day. And that is what we are all about. We are expecting the new thing to appear in life and power once again before the Lord returns for His church. It will not be Quakerism, but it will contain all of the life giving elements of that wonderful movement of the Spirit of God. We do not read the Quaker writings to learn doctrine. We are not trying to be Quakers. The true Quakers are a thing of the past and will never be with us again. We read the writings of the early Quakers because we love that life and power that was so evidently in them. We read them in order to fellowship with them. We read them for inspiration and edification. We read them to remind ourselves of what the life and power of Christ can do for a person that is willing to pass through the ministration of condemnation in order to enter into the promised land of light and life. Those wonderful saints are our brothers and sisters and we long to be in our day what they were in their day. And by God's grace and for Jesus' sake one day we will be..."

Friends Journal

"FRIENDS JOURNAL is published by Friends Publishing Corporation. Our goal is to serve the Quaker community and the wider community of spiritual seekers through the publication of articles, poetry, letters, art, and news that convey the contemporary experience of Friends."

Friends United Meeting

"Our purpose is "to energize and equip Friends through the power of the Holy Spirit to gather people into fellowships where Jesus Christ is known, loved and obeyed as Teacher and Lord." We work in cross-cultural missions, cooperative ventures with our member yearly meetings in North America, and in communications... George Fox, born in 1624, experienced several years of intense spiritual conflict looking for an authentic faith. He wandered through England searching the Scriptures and seeking help from priests, professing believers in the established church and dissenters but seemed to find no satisfying answers. Then, when he had just about given up any hope of getting help from others, he discovered the living Christ to be his contemporary. In June of 1652, in the northwest of England, he climbed a high hill and had a vision of a great people to be gathered in the power of the Lord. From that time on he preached with great authority and by his death in 1691 some fifty to sixty thousand persons in England were firmly convinced Friends. The Seekers who responded to the message that Fox proclaimed found Christ to be a living presence in the depth of their own experience. They had met with God face to face and the encounter had left them changed persons. Their all-consuming passion was to live lives of holy obedience. Jesus' words, "You are my friends if you do what I command you" (John 15:14) took on great meaning for them and became the basis for using "Friends" as their identification. The label, "Quaker," was first used as a derogatory nickname because early Friends had urged those who heard their message to tremble in the face of the power of the Lord. Eventually they were glad to take the name themselves. Their lives had been shaken to the core by the power of God. The hearts of the first Friends were set ablaze by the fire of the Spirit and they sought to share their experience with others."

Evangelical Friends International

"Evangelical Friends International exists to help local Friends churches around the world meet the spiritual needs of their communities. Our desire is to stretch across racial, cultural, national, even denominational barriers to reach people with the life-changing love of Christ. Over 1,100 Evangelical Friends churches representing more than 140,000 Friends in 24 countries are actively carrying out this critical mission. We invite your interest, questions, and prayers as you discover our vision through this website... The Friends Church began more than three hundred years ago in England under the leadership of George Fox, a man who experienced a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and spent his life sharing this experience with others. The Quaker awakening and missionary movement that followed took the name "Friends" from Jesus' words "You are my friends if you do whatever I command." (John 15:12-15) The Friends teaching about the presence of Christ with His people resulted in strong ethical testimonies. These included support for religious and political freedom (including women ministers), opposition to slavery, honesty in business, humane treatment of criminals, compassion for the mentally ill and aid to war victims and others in distress. Friends opposed war and practiced peacemaking. The name Quaker, originally an insult, became a symbol of integrity. These Friends met to worship without program, plan, or preacher, relying upon Spirit-led ministry from anyone in the congregation. As the movement grew, it organized itself into "yearly meetings" (groups of Friends who met annually for business and worship). The first were in London and Dublin, then spreading to the English colonies in America. Later Quakers moved west as the frontier expanded. During the nineteenth century, separations within the Church came as quite a blow to the American Friends community. The most severe, the Hicksite separation, reflected a drift away from biblical authority. Touched by the revivals which swept America following the Civil War, Friends rekindled the fire of evangelism. Revival meetings with penitents kneeling in prayer were common during this period. Paid ministers were increasingly appointed to the pastoral care of the converts. There was rapid growth. Several unifying conferences were held around the last decade of that century. Missionaries were sent out to Africa, Cuba, Alaska, and elsewhere. A delegate body called the Five Years Meeting of Friends (later named Friends United Meeting) was established by eleven Yearly Meetings. This unity, however was shattered by the modernist-fundamentalist rift which shook American Protestantism in the early 1900's. Several Meetings withdrew form the Five Years Meeting. Two of the Yearly Meetings which withdrew from Five Years Meeting in the early 1900's formed a new evangelical alliance in the early 1960's. This organization, Evangelical Friends International, is a worldwide movement with regions in North America, Africa, Asia,Europe, and Latin America. This Christ-centered movement works hand in hand with Evangelical Friends Mission planting churches and carrying the gospel message around the world to participate in the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19 and 20)... Today, there are at least four major branches of the Religious Society of Friends: 1. Those who generally gather in meeting houses and practice unprogrammed, non-pastoral, silent worship within a broad theological continuum that includes folks who are very Universalist as well as some who are highly Christ-centered and scripturally based. 2. Those who gather in meeting houses to practice the unprogrammed, non-pastoral, silent form of worship but are more Christ-centered theologically. 3. Those who gather in either meeting houses or churches and are Christ-centered and have programmed, pastoral form of worship and may or may not be very evangelical. 4. Those who gather in churches and are very Christ-centered and very evangelical and have programmed, pastoral form of worship."

Malone College Library - Quaker Resources Online

New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia - Society of Friends (Quakers)

"The official designation of an Anglo-American religious sect originally styling themselves "Children of Truth" and "Children of Light", but "in scorn by the world called Quakers". The founder of the sect, George Fox, son of a well-to-do weaver, was born at Fenny Drayton in Leicestershire, England, July, 1624. His parents, upright people and strict adherents of the established religion, destined him for the Church; but since the boy, at an early period, felt a strong aversion to a "hireling ministry", he was, after receiving the bare rudiments of education, apprenticed to a shoemaker. He grew to manhood a pure and honest youth, free from the vices of his age, and "endued", says Sewel, "with a gravity and stayedness of mind seldom seen in children". In his nineteenth year, while at a fair with two friends, who were "professors" of religion, he was so shocked by a proposal they made him to join them in drinking healths, that he abandoned their company. Returning home, he spent a sleepless night, in the course of which he thought he heard a voice from heaven crying out to him: "Thou seest how young men go together into vanity, and old people into the earth; thou must forsake all, young and old, keep out of all, and be a stranger unto all." Interpreting the injunction literally, Fox left his father's house, penniless and with Bible in hand to wander about the country in search of light. His mental anguish at times bordered on despair. He sought counsel from renowned "professors"; but their advice that he should take a wife, or sing psalms, or smoke tobacco, was not calculated to solve the problems which perplexed his soul. Finding no food or consolation in the teachings of the Church of England or of the innumerable dissenting sects which flooded the land, he was thrown back upon himself and forced to accept his own imaginings as "revelations". "I fasted much", he tells us in his Journal, "walked abroad in solitary places many days, and often took my Bible and sat in hollow trees and lonesome places until night came on; and frequently in the night walked mournfully about by myself. For I was a man of sorrows in the first working of the Lord in me." This anguish of spirit continued, with intermissions, for some years; and it is not surprising that the lonely youth read into his Bible all his own idiosyncrasies and limitations..."

New Foundation Fellowship (UK)

"This is the official Web Site of the New Foundation Fellowship in the United Kingdom. The New Foundation Fellowship exists to reacquaint people with the Christian Message that was proclaimed by George Fox and the Early Friends. We do this by publishing books, articles, pamphlets and periodicals, and also by organising meetings and gatherings to worship in the Name of Jesus and proclaim the Christian Quaker message that; Christ has come to teach his people himself!"

New Foundation Fellowship (USA)

"Our foundation is the same as the prophets, apostles, early Quakers and all the holy men of God throughout the ages. Like the Quakers of the 17th century, we can say that the Life of the Prophets and Apostles is reclaimed in this our day. We are built and are being built upon the rock of hearing and obeying the voice of the Living Christ, who has appeared among us to teach us and bring us into His salvation... This foundation is good and right for all mankind, in every age, from all walks of life and from every location. We invite you to examine the foundation you are building your life upon. If it is not the foundation of hearing and obeying the voice of God, then wait, I say, in the Light of Christ Jesus who will show you the way forward... This foundation of hearing and obeying the voice of Christ our teacher is a new thing in the lives of modern men and women. This is the foundation firmly placed by God as The Foundation for mankind to build upon. This foundation is distinct from and opposed to the old foundation laid down in the fall of the first Adam. The old foundation has a teacher to instruct men in the way thereof. That teacher is the Serpent who appeared to Adam and Eve, tempting them to try to possess the knowledge of good and evil. The old foundation has a covering and a nature. When the Lord God drove man from his garden, he clothed them in skins of animals signifying that man had given up the image of God and taken on the nature of beasts. Unless you are building upon the New Foundation, you abide under the teaching of the Serpent, you cover yourself with deceit and trust in your covenant with death. Your foundation will be swept away along with all you have built. The New Foundation also has a teacher: Christ Jesus, the second Adam. He teaches those who will hear and follow Him how to live in righteousness and Life. The New Foundation has a covering and a nature, for Christ says, "Woe to those who cover themselves, but not with my Life." And being clothed in Life, we take on the nature of God according to our creation, for He breathes into us His breath of Life. We experience this foundation as a new thing, as that which fulfills the deepest yearnings of our being to know and follow after God. If you find a hunger within to know and experience this firm foundation, this hunger is the voice of God to you. It will bring you to His Life and establish you upon his Rock that will not move. The word fellowship implies a life beyond organizational heirarchy. We have no human leaders whose authority is binding upon the group. Among us Christ is King and we wait to know and then do His bidding. Christ is our minister of the new covenant. He it is that brings us the words of Life and breathes into us the breath of Life that we may become Living beings. We are all fellow-partakers of His Bread of Life. When we gather, our purpose is to know Christ present in our midst fulfilling all his offices... Here is your heritage -- the Life of God. It has long lain upon the floor to be trampled under foot. The call of God to all is to claim your inheritance, to live in the possession of the Life that comes by hearing the "one whom the Father has sent." He is come to bring you into the heritages that have long lain desolate."

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting

"Our Faith Community is comprised of over one hundred local Meeting communities in Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, all of Delaware and Eastern Maryland. We practice "unprogrammed" Quaker worship. That is we gather together in silent worship to wait on the word of God. We do not make use of a paid clergy or sacramental rituals. Rather we meet each other in a friendly atmosphere where anyone who feels strongly led to speak can do so. Many Friends give their time and resources to promote peace, understanding, justice and integrity. Through out these pages you will read of the faith work of each of the groups mentioned below. Monthly Meetings - Weekly worship at local congregations. These are referred to as "Monthly Meetings" because they usually meet at least once a month to make decisions about issues and concerns that affect the local group. There are usually committees in these groups that bring forward recommendations and take care of work that the Meeting is undertaking. Quarterly Meetings - Gatherings several times a year (most four times thus the name "Quarter") of members and attenders of local Meetings in a designated region. Some Quarters are more organized than others, having committees like local Meetings. Others gather simply for fellowship. Some have paid staff, some do not. Yearly Meeting - Annual gathering of people from all the Quarters with in its region as well as visitors from other Yearly Meetings. This is includes a year round organization of volunteers and paid staff. Standing Committees and working groups of volunteers work with the staff to implement programs through out the year."

Quaker.org - The Religious Society of Friends

Quaker introduction, organizations, meetings, meetinghouses, historical writings, contemporary writings, history, genealogy, links, and more.

Quaker Electronic Archive and Meeting Place

"Founded in early 1994 as the first general-purpose Quaker site on the Internet, this site contains Quaker writings and other documents such as minutes and resource guides, as well as a message board. The archive offers a keyword search function, and links to other sites of interest to Friends are also provided. The site is maintained by George Amoss Jr., a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)."


"Everyone is always welcome at a Quaker meeting for worship. In worship Friends gather into silent, expectant waiting. We hold ourselves open to the Light and reach for the divine center of our being. We know the center to be a place of peace, love, and balance, where we are at one with the universe and with each other. We know from experience that revelation is continuing and that a divine power is at work in the world today, healing, guiding, gathering, and transforming. We call this power God, the Light, Christ, the Seed, the Inward Teacher. By whatever name it is known, its nature is love. It draws us toward a life of integrity, simplicity, equality, community, and peace. Our meetings strive to be loving, nurturing communities. We celebrate diversity and encourage each person to find his or her true voice grounded in experience. We listen deeply to the Spirit and to each other as we seek to discern and embrace God�s will for us individually and as a community. We warmly invite you to join us. In most meetings, worship is held on Sunday mornings and usually lasts about one hour. �Unprogrammed� meetings are grounded in silent, expectant waiting and are spontaneous and open. When someone feels led to share a message, it is received in the gathered silence. �Pastoral� meetings have programmed or semi-programmed worship services culminating in a period of gathered silence. We generally close our worship by shaking hands and exchanging greetings. Programs for children and infant care are usually provided. Children are also welcome to join meeting for worship."

Quaker Heritage Press

"Quaker Heritage Press is a project of the members of Glenside Friends Meeting, a small independent Quaker meeting located in Glenside, Pennsylvania. The task of QHP is to make available some of the many historic Quaker writings which have been allowed to go out of print."


"What kind of material is on QuakerInfo.com? The articles are all about the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and can generally be categorized into three types: Reference material - listings of groups, Internet addresses, information on major meetings, etc.; Informational articles - material on the history, faith and practice of Friends; Essays - essays presenting perspectives on issues about Friends. In addition to articles, there are news items from and about Quaker activities and groups... This site endeavors to present the Religious Society of Friends generally, not just from the perspective of any particular group of Friends or any particular point on the Quaker spectrum. Much of the material is written with a view to meeting informational needs of people with little or no experience with Friends who want to learn about Friends. Many of the articles present historical facts and widely held perspectives, and indicate where there are major differences of perspective among Friends today. I think someone very familiar with the differences among Friends could read many of the articles without being able to discover the personal views of the authors."

Quaker Information Center

"Welcome to the web page of the Quaker Information Center. Our goal is to help you find information you are looking for about Quakers, Quakerism, or Quaker Organizations, especially our member organizations who are listed on this page. If you are looking for information on Friends, or The Religious Society of Friends, that is the same thing. At this website, you will find links providing answers to many of the questions we are frequently asked. Through the practice of Quaker spiritual hospitality, the QIC endeavors to provide information and referral services about the Religious Society of Friends: beliefs, practices, history, literature, organizations, and activities across the breadth of Quakerism. The Center's staff person and volunteers: Provide information about Quaker history, beliefs, practices, organizations, events, and activities within the U.S. and throughout the world and refer inquirers to appropriate Quaker organizations; Disseminate a wide variety of free Quaker literature provided by our member organizations; Display samples of Quaker books and sale items available through several catalogs; and Welcome visitors to Friends Center and lead tours for individuals and groups."

A Quaker Page

"Here's an index of Quaker-specific historical materials available at this site and elsewhere. Actually, this goes against a basic premise of this site - that Quaker history can be better understood in the broader historical context. But for what it's worth, here's the distilled version..."

Quaker Pages

"The Quaker Writings Home Page (QWHP): A diverse miscellany of Christian Quaker writings from all time periods, including multiple perspectives and different genres. This includes early to late writings, polemical works, teaching tools, journal extracts, letters, poetry, doctrinal works, etc. The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology (QHOA): This is more particularly focused site as far as genre, being probably the first attempt to compile a collection of Quaker sermons from all periods of Quaker history (there have been many print collections, most dealing with particular ministers or with ministers contemporary with the editors.) The QuakerPages Branch Office: Containing larger files and more researched material, from the discontinued Old Quaker Printshop. Presently contains Robert Barclay, Thomas Chalkley, Elizabeth Levis, the only full account of the trial of William Penn and William Mead available that I know of, Jacob Ritter, and Samuel Rundell."

"Quakers in Brief" or "Quakerism Made Easy"

"An over-view of the Quaker movement from 1650 to 1990, David M Murray-Rust. My alternative title is adapted from that of a book on Calculus written by the eminent Quaker scientist, Silvanus Thompson, in 1910. It was called "Calculus made Easy" and was derived from lectures he gave to his Engineering students, whom he wished to interest in Mathematics as well as to instruct. He said that his learned critics would complain that he had made it easy simply by leaving out the difficult part; and he said "THAT THIS WAS QUITE TRUE". Still, he made no excuse about it for, as he said: "Any subject may be made repulsive by presenting it bristling with difficulties." This is true not only of Mathematics, but also of History, Theology, and much else... including Quakerism! So I propose to give you this "overview", leaving out the "difficult parts". In fact, I shall be leaving out a great deal, for there have been many good books written on the story and nature of Quakerism, to which anyone may refer, if they wish to read further and deeper."

Quakers in Scotland

"General Meeting for Scotland is the organisation of Quakers in Scotland. It is one of 19 General Meetings that make up Britain Yearly Meeting and has four constituent Monthly Meetings which are made up of 32 local meetings. General Meeting acts on behalf of Britain Yearly Meeting in such procedures as may be required by the Scottish parliament and Scottish legal affairs. General Meeting is a member of ACTS (Action of Churches Together in Scotland) to which it appoints representatives. General Meeting itself meets quarterly for business, normally in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth or St Andrews. These meetings are open to all members of the Society of Friends in Scotland. Non-members may request permission to attend. General Meetings also provide an opportunity to talk with Friends from a distance and to hear invited speakers. In addition, there is an annual residential weekend gathering for all who attend Quaker Meetings in Scotland. The General Meeting also publishes a quarterly "Scottish Friends Newsletter". To organise business and carry through the decisions, General Meeting has a Central Committee, and sub-committees knows as Function Groups. These Groups deal with adult education and conference organising, the agenda for General Meeting, the newsletter, finance, nominations, outreach, children and young people, and parliamentary liaison. They ideally have representatives from the four Monthly Meetings, to provide a geographical balance. Telephone conferencing is often used to save on travelling time, though the value of personal meetings is also acknowledged. General Meeting has an Administrative Assistant who can answer enquiries about the operation of the General Meeting. Monthly Meetings were originally intended to hold monthly business meetings, but the distances in Scotland mean that our Monthly Meetings are held less frequently. The four Scottish Monthly Meetings (North of Scotland, East of Scotland, South East Scotland and West Scotland) are made up of 33 local meetings. (A Monthly Meeting is roughly equivalent to a presbytery.) The business conducted at Monthly Meeting includes membership, marriage, ownership of property etc. Monthly Meetings send representatives to other bodies, including the national executive committee (for historical reasons, called Meeting for Sufferings) which meets eight times a year at Friends' House in London. Local Meetings (in some cases called Preparative Meetings) are the worshipping groups which meet regularly, usually on Sundays. A Quaker Meeting for Worship is based on silence, an expectant silence of waiting, in which we seek to come nearer to each other and to God. Occasionally a Meeting will pass in total silence. The silence may be broken if someone feels compelled by the Spirit to speak, pray or read. The Meeting ends after about an hour with the shaking of hands."

Quaker Universalist Fellowship

"The Quaker Universalist Fellowship is an informal gathering of persons who cherish the spirit of universality that has always been intrinsic to the Quaker faith. We acknowledge and respect the diverse spiritual experience of those within our own meetings as well as of the human family worldwide; we are enriched by our conversation with all who search sincerely. We affirm the unity of God's creation. QUF provides resources and opportunities that educate and invite members and attenders to experience, individually and corporately, God's living presence, and to discern and follow God's leadings. QUF reaches out to seekers and to other religious bodies inside and outside the wider Religious Society of Friends."

Religious Movements Homepage Project - Quakers

"The Civil Wars of 1642 to 1649 were a time of immense social upheaval in England. This unstable atmosphere led many to reevaluate their religious beliefs, including their views on religious authority, the Scriptures, the role of the clergy, and the power and nature of the Spirit. With this time of revolution serving as a catalyst, the Quaker movement grew, strongly rooted in the ideas of radical Puritanism. While preaching in northern England in 1652, George Fox (regarded as the father of Quakerism) began a religious awakening among the people of the area, who were dissatisfied with the Church of England. This group of people, known to many as the Seekers, was fairly large in number, and had been around for a while. However, there was no real organization among the Seekers, and they lacked a strong leader. By filling the role of leader, George Fox was able to unify them and combine their individual strengths into a cohesive movement. Through practices of simple worship, honesty, and equality, the Quakers grew to be a strong and loyal group. They assumed the responsibility of bringing truth to the world, and so began to travel in small groups throughout Europe and New England. Calling themselves "the Camp of the Lord," they set out to confront evil and show the "light" to those who were spiritually lost. Despite the fierce opposition they faced on a regular basis, these missionaries succeeded in gathering many newly convinced worshippers -- whom they referred to as "the Children of Light" -- into meetings (a term still used to describe Quaker religious gatherings). However, this rapid growth of the Quakers was greatly slowed by the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, which brought with it 20 years of religious persecution for the Friends."

Religious Society of Friends (or Quakers) in Britain

"Quakers respect the creative power of God in every human being and in the world around us. We work through quiet processes for a world where peaceful means bring about just settlements... Quakers believe that we all can have direct experience of God. In our Meetings for Worship we meet with God in an un-programmed quiet time and in the vocal contributions of others. Worship is part of our daily lives. We make no distinction between the sacred and the secular as we try to live our convictions in the every day. A Meeting for Business is also held in the context of worship. Quaker Business Meetings explains the conduct of these meetings in which we seek the will of God... The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has no set creed or dogma - that means we do not have any declared statements which you have to believe to be a Quaker. There are, however, some commonly held views which unite us, and these are reflected in our writings. One accepted view is that there is 'that of God' in all people and that each human being is of unique worth. This shared belief leads Quakers to try to value all people and to oppose anything that harms or threatens them... The name 'Quaker' was originally a nickname given by our opponents but what we prefer to call ourselves is 'Friends'. The early Quakers called themselves 'The Religious Society of Friends of Truth'. In modern times we use the shorter version - 'The Religious Society of Friends' - but as our very name suggests we do see ourselves as a society of friends. We prize friendship highly and recognise its value for our religious life... Although Britain is a multi-cultural and multi-faith society, racism in its many forms is still part of everyday life. Examples of institutional, personal and cultural racism are well documented. These include racism in housing, education, work and on the football terraces. Cultural and religious minorities, such as Jewish and Muslim people, are often harassed and sometimes violently attacked by racists. We know that racism, in all its forms, hurts... Quakers believe that every person is potentially capable of understanding the will of God, and helping others to reach God. This is true of women, men, children and adults, so in our silent worship anyone who feels moved to speak may do so, and in our business meetings any member may hold office..."

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Ireland

"Friends have always believed in seeking guidance direct from God in corporate as well as private prayer and worship. Because fresh insights are always being revealed Friends have never had a written creed or a printed prayer book. The spiritual experience of Friends down through the years has been recorded in writing, and is an immensely valuable source of inspiration. Our important basic beliefs and principles have for many years been been outlined in "General Christian Counsel" and "The Queries for Serious Consideration". These are set out below. Although the wording is revised from time to time, it tends to remain in classic rather than contemporary style, emphasising that the basic beliefs do not change... There are about 1,600 members in Ireland, and about 340,000 worldwide. Our Meetings for Worship are central to the life of Friends. These are public meetings � anyone who wishes to attend is welcome. They are normally held in a meeting room in a Quaker Meeting House on a Sunday, but can be held at any time and any place and are based on quiet worship, and communion with God and with each other. Anyone present who feels moved to do so may speak, pray aloud, or read from the Bible or other writings. The special quality of Quaker worship depends on the prayerful participation of everyone present. Since we have no paid ministers, every member undertakes responsibilities according to his or her abilities. Quakers have always put men and women on an equal footing. Quaker marriages and funerals take place during a Meeting for Worship arranged for that purpose. Decisions in our meetings for Church Affairs are made by discerning the "sense" or "feeling" of the meeting and not by voting. Friends regard the whole of life as a sacrament, and Meeting for Worship itself as a form of communion. Our conviction that there is "that of God" or "the light of Christ" in everyone has its origin in what Jesus taught, and the way He lived. In outward matters we aim at simplicity and integrity. From the beginning Friends have opposed all war as inconsistent with the spirit and teaching of Christ. We try to avoid conflict in our daily lives and work towards reconciliation and relief of suffering. We do not claim that ours is the only path to God, but simply that it is the right way for us."

The Religious Society of Friends in New Zealand

"Being a Quaker is a way of living based in the discovery that we can, singly or together, be in the presence of the Spirit, or God, in all simplicity without words, forms or liturgy. "Quakers in Aotearoa" tells of this discovery and outlines the responses of the Religious Society of Friends, Te Haahi Tuuhauwiri, (Quakers) to many challenges met and further discoveries made, from the time of its founder George Fox until the present time... Quakers in Aotearoa/New Zealand are prominent in a wide range of issues and activities. The Society of Friends is in fact a real society, where Friends throughout the country maintain contact with each other through various events and activities, organisations and concerns. These include social gatherings at a local level, meetings and dealing with regional and national concerns, and our Yearly Meeting which deals with national, ethical and spiritual issues and sometimes makes comment on international issues. Peace and Service concerns are important to Quakers, and we are active in areas such as justice and prison reforms. We are also concerned about ethical investments as well as the cultural issues of Maori/Pakeha interaction and community."

Religious Tolerance.org - Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

"Most faith groups have specific beliefs that their membership is expected to follow. Sometimes, as in the case of the Roman Catholic church, these requirements are numerous. The Religious Society of Friends is near the opposite end of the religious spectrum. They rely heavily upon spiritual searching by individual members, individual congregations and meetings (regional assemblies). This makes the Quakers difficult to describe in a short essay. We attempt here to portray mainstream Quaker practice. Some Quaker meetings at the liberal and evangelical ends of the spectrum differ significantly from what is covered below."

soc.religion.quaker Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

"Subject: (1.1) Quakers -- The term "Quaker" refers to a member ofthe Religious Society of Friends, which is the proper name of the sect. There are two reputed origins of the term, the first refers to people "quaking" or trembling when feeling moved by the Holy Spirit to speak in Meetings for Worship. The other according to Elfrida Vipont Brown, is: George Fox was arrested in Derby in October 1650 and charged with blasphemy. The magistrates who tried him were Gervase Bennett and Colonel Nathaniel Barton. George Fox was questioned intermittently over an eight hour period, during which at one point George Fox told the magistrates "Tremble at the word of the Lord". It was Justice Bennett who coined the name "Quakers" for the followers of George Fox. Subject: (1.2) Shakers -- The "Quakers" are occasionally confused with the "Shakers"; the Shakers were to some extent a "spin-off" of the Quakers, a group started by a Manchester, England woman, Ann Lee, who was born Quaker. She formed a "celibate order" which started communities throughout the United States. The Shakers are quite interesting in their own right, adding speaking in tongues and free-form dancing to the end of a Quaker-style silent meeting. There are fewer than 10 Shakers left today in the last remaining Shaker community in Maine, but several of their communities are preserved as museums. Subject: (1.3) -- Plymouth Brethren The Plymouth Brethren are not an offshoot of Quakerism and not a branch of the (German) Brethren church, to the best I have been informed. Subject: (1.4) Oatmeal, Motor Oil, etc. -- Since the city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania in the United States were started by Quakers, many businesses and towns originating in that area mention Quakers in their names. In fact these names are particularly common in places like Quakertown, PA., where the names are actually derived from the name of the town. This leads many to the incorrect conclusion that members of the Religious Society of Friends still are in the habit of wearing the late 1600's period clothing of the person pictured on the Quaker Oats(tm) box; this perhaps contributes to the common American confusion between Quakers and the Amish (who really *do* wear clothing styles standardized in the 1600's)..."

        "In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his canopy around him - the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot arrows and scattered the enemies, bolts of lightning and routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of breath from his nostrils." (2 Samuel 22:7-16)

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