Quakers are a free-thinking faith organisation. We are people of differing beliefs, lifestyles and social backgrounds, and we welcome everyone – there isn’t a nationality, eccentricity, or sexual orientation that we exclude for any reason. And we have no creed; instead, we encourage people to believe only what they have experienced for themselves.
Our core spiritual practice is based on silence and stillness. We sit in silence waiting for promptings to gently guide our lives. As the silence helps us reach a state of stillness, we often find ourselves enveloped in a shared sense of peace and unity. In that atmosphere, we may experience inner promptings that help to give meaning and purpose to our lives.
The ‘still, small voice’ at the heart of these promptings can go by many names. Some may call it God, some the Inner Teacher or Inner Light, others don't attempt to give it a name at all.
Quakers have always seen the outer life as an expression of the inner and therefore have been both mystics and activists. Deepening our spiritual roots is an ongoing process that gives our work in the world a greater integrity and authenticity.
- Quaker Faith and Practice in Aotearoa New Zealand 6.01
The outer expression of our inner lives lead many Quakers to work for peace and take social action for the benefit of others. We also find spiritual nurture through our connection with others and living our values in our daily lives.
You can find out more about the variety of work Quakers have done and are doing on the Quakers in the World website.
Quakers have gathered in Quaker Meeting houses and the homes of individuals since Quakerism emerged in the 17th century. Today you will find Quakers gathering in most cities and many towns across Britain. You can find a list of Meetings here.
When Quakers come together to sit in silence and stillness, or manage the affairs of Quaker organisations, the gatherings are also called meetings.
Recently, especially during the Covid pandemic, many Quakers have started to use online video conferencing to come together. This has enabled Quakers to come together from around the world and at times that suit them.
Quakers also come together in groups to pursue a common interest or purpose. There are groups for young adults, those with an interest in ethical business, those interested in the arts, and many more. The Quaker groups listed on this website welcome everyone and are a great way to meet Quakers and learn more about Quakerism.
We value being part of the Quaker community in different ways - there is no one size fits all. What you will find if you visit a meeting or join an online meeting, group or event is people who share a common set of values, or testimonies as they are more often called by Quakers.
These testimonies cover a huge range of everyday actions and personal beliefs. They are usually listed as truth, simplicity, peace, sustainability and equality.
Some say that the root of Quaker values is equality. Equality guides us to
Quakers have a long tradition of rejecting accepted norms. We are committed to working for social justice, peace and care for the environment. We are often to be found at the heart of campaigns fostering peace and peace-making, and many of us work to help those who are treated unfairly in our society and around the world.
Do not be content to accept things as they are, but keep an alert and questioning mind. Seek to discover the causes of social unrest, injustice and fear... Work for an order of society which will allow men and women to develop their capacities.
- Quaker Faith & Practice 23.01
On the main pages of this website, we have simplified our description to six aspects of Quakerism.
We can’t hope to represent the breadth and richness of Quakerism in this way, but hopefully we can give an overview and provide signposts to other useful sources of information.
Quakerism is not alone in providing or working in these areas. Many faith and secular organisations provide opportunities to find stillness and nurture the spirit. Other organisations actively work for peace and focus on activism. What makes Quakerism unusual, maybe even unique, is the connection and interaction between these aspects, making the whole greater than the sum of the parts.