The Quaker Way

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Quakerism is a way of life, rather than a dogma or creed. It rests on a conviction that by looking into their inmost hearts people can have direct communication with their Creator. This experience cannot ultimately be described in words, but Quakers base their whole lives on it.

The Quaker movement arose in the mid-seventeenth century. It’s followers called themselves ‘Friends of Truth’, or simply ‘Friends’. ‘Quaker’ was an abusive nickname used by others, but Friends have since adopted the term themselves, and today ‘Friend’ and ‘Quaker’ mean the same and are used interchangeably. The formal title is ‘The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Friends’ basic attitudes show themselves in certain ideas and practices, personal and collective, of which most important are:

Finally it is fundamental to the Quaker way to be open to new insights from whatever source, to tolerate differing opinions, and to work for reconciliation wherever there is strife and enmity.

It should not be imagined, however, that Quakers are impossibly ‘good’ people. Like others they have faults and fall short of their own aims. Nor do they claim that their path is the only trueone, they have simply found it right for them.

While Friends are glad to tell others what Quakerism means to them, they do not pressurize anyone to join them, but leave people free to decide whether the Quaker way really is for them.

Everyone is welcome to attend a Quaker meeting for Worship and Friends are delighted when people want to find out more about them. This may take some time. The best approach is to attend a Meeting for Worship on several occasions, and also Meetings in different places, and to do some reading. Leaflets on Friends’ silent worship and other aspects of the Quaker way can usually be obtained free from any meeting house.

Two more comprehensive books are available and both contain suggestions for further reading:

Also available by Richard Allen, Silence and Speech (Quaker Books, £1.25) practical hints to help newcomers to a Quaker Meeting for Worship to discover what is really happening. These are obtainable from the Quaker Bookshop at the address below, who also issue a full catalogue of other Quaker literature.

Reproduced by kind permission of Quaker Life Outreach

For free information about Quakers, please contact:
Friends House
Euston Road
London NW1 2BJ
Freephone: 0808 109 1651