What makes Quakers different?

There are many answers to this question. Some might be the following.

Quakers DO:

  • Believe that every person has a spark of God’s own spirit and love
  • Base their faith on their own lived experience.
  • Appreciate that there is a great diversity of understandings about God. Some Quakers have a conception of God which is similar to that of orthodox Christians, and would use similar language. Others are happy to use God-centred language, but would conceive of God in very different terms to the traditional Christian trinity. Some describe themselves as agnostics, or humanists, or non-theists and describe their experiences without using the word God entirely.
  • Worship in silence.
  • See every person as a minister; all members share responsibility for worship and for pastoral care.
  • Consider that every moment and every occasion can be a time of special closeness with God
  • Work actively for peace in every area of life, from the family to international relations
  • Believe in telling the truth at all times, no matter what the cost
  • Try to live simply, out of respect for the needs of others and the environment, and out of a desire to keep in touch with what is really important.

 Quakers DON’T:

  • Believe that some people are created “good” and that other people are “naturally” bad.
  • Believe that truth can be found in any one book, or set of words.
  • Share a fixed set of beliefs. Our unity is based on shared understanding and a shared practice of worship, not on our beliefs all being the same.
  • Require people to sign or agree to a creed or statement of belief as a condition for membership.
  • Ordain ministers to organise our worship.
  • Serve communion or practice other special sacraments such as baptism, confession, etc.
  • Require you to be a Quaker to worship with us at one of our meetings. Quaker meetings are open to all.
  • Decide church business by voting; there is no “majority” or “minority” in a Quaker meeting. If the meeting is not united on a decision, Friends wait and pray until they are united
  • Seek to convert anybody; it has never been a part of what we do.
  • Take oaths in court, or take any kind of loyalty oath or pledge of allegiance

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