‘Quakers’ is the shorthand term for the Religious Society of Friends which was founded as a radical religious movement in 17th century England. Today, Quakers come from all walks of life and continue to uphold a progressive religious approach.
Quakers hold Meetings for Worship which means that we come together in silence and try to open ourselves to the deeper levels of our experience. Quakers have no paid clergy to lead or interpret our spiritual life and it is open to anyone who feels moved by the spirit to make a spoken contribution.
Quakers recognise the equal worth and unique nature of every person. This means working to change the systems that cause injustice and hinder true community. It also means working with people who are suffering from injustice, such as prisoners and asylum seekers.
Perhaps Quakers are best known for their peace testimony. This derives from a conviction that love is at the heart of existence and all human beings are equal, and that we must live in a way that reflects this. It has led Quakers to refuse military service, and to become involved in a wide range of peace activities from practical work in areas affected by violent conflict to the development of alternatives to violence at all levels from personal to international.
Quaker testimonies are not a set of words, but an expression of our spirituality in action. In attempting to live out our testimonies, Quakers are holding up an alternative vision of humanity and society, centred on meeting real needs rather than ever changing desires.