About Quakers

The essence of Quakerism

The essence of Quakerism is a belief in a living Spirit within each of us, the ‘seed’ the ‘Light within’. We experience it directly and trust it as our inner teacher that guides us. We believe that Inner Light is equally within each of us and we can pay attention to it most readily through shared silent worship. So we come together to worship and to find inspiration together. We seek to learn where that Spirit is leading us. Our ministry is our expression of our experience in that worship, and it may take many forms. It may be to care for members of our community, to uphold our worship or lead us to seek radical change in the world that we live in. We seek to live our ministry, to “let our lives speak”. 

Living Eldership, Jenny Routledge, 2014

What it means to be a Quaker today

We are a faith without creed: that is, there is no requirement to accept specific beliefs in becoming a Quaker. And yet there are those things that do bind and unite us, both in belief (that we all have access to the Inward Teacher, for example) and in the practice of our faith (the meeting for worship and our business method, to name but two). Within our religious community we recognise a wide range of seekers representing a considerable diversity of religious backgrounds and spiritual beliefs. Our willingness to embrace that diversity is part of what creates a strong spiritual community. Yet it also presents us with the challenge of discerning what it means to be a Quaker today.

Being Quaker Doing Quaker, Quaker Life, May 2012

 Quaker Worship

“When worshipping we’re all connecting to the divine essence, or God, or Spirit or – we use many different terms but we’re all connecting to the same thing within that silence.“

Quaker Testimonies

One of the most important of the original Quaker insights was that our testimony is what we do. It is not what we say we believe, or what we claim to value that matters, but what we say with our life. Our testimony is all of our actions; a whole way of life that testifies to the reality of our experience. If we encounter spiritual reality and are transformed by it, we will lead a transformed life, and that is our testimony.

. . . what is most essential about the Quaker way; that it is a way of practice, rooted in experience, not in principles or beliefs. Our testimony is what we do because we know from our own experience that it is what we have to do. Instead of starting from our heads, it rises up from the ground on which we stand.

Quaker values or testimonies?, Craig Barnett

Further information

Our book Quaker Faith & Practice is available online. The Introduction is a great place to start reading.

We have a small book called Advices & Queries  to challenge and inspire us in our daily lives and lead us into contemplation of what it is to be a Quaker. It forms Chapter 1 of Quaker Faith & Practice as well as being published separately.

In addition to the general advices and queries we also have a Green Advices & Queries.

For a longer reflection of What it means to be a Quaker today, intended for the more serious reader, there is an excellent long article Living our Faith Daily, by Ben Pink Dandelion.

Here is a short pamphlet on Quaker Worship.

There is more on our Quaker Testimonies here: Actions not Principles, by Craig Barnett.

For a full explanation of Quaker ideas and language, here is a Quaker Glossary (PDF).

Useful Websites

To find out more about Quakerism, check out the Discovering Quakers website.

For more information about Quakers in Britain, visit www.quaker.org.uk.

For a list of other Quaker meetings in the area, visit quakermeeting.org/surrey-hampshire-border.