The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) originated in the mid-1600s with the teachings and writings of George Fox. Since that time, Quakers such as John Woolman, Lucretia Mott, and Bayard Rustin have provided examples of how to live a life consistent with one’s faith, and challenged others to do the same.
One of the basic beliefs of Friends is that there is that of the Divine in each person. Many of the Testimonies originate from this very basic belief. “Testimonies” are what Quakers call the ways we have found to live and act based on our beliefs. As a group, we find that listening to and following God leads us to:
- Simplicity – focusing on what is truly important and letting other things fall away
- Peace – seeking justice and healing for all people; taking away the causes of war in the ways we live
- Integrity – living as whole people who act on what we believe, tell the truth, and do what we say we will do
- Community – supporting one another in our faith journeys and in times of joy and sorrow; sharing with and caring for each other
- Equality – treating everyone, everywhere, as equally precious to God; recognizing that everyone has gifts to share
- Stewardship or care for the Earth – valuing and respecting all of God’s creation; using only our fair share of the earth’s resources; working for policies that protect the planet.
Quakers seek to live these as a natural extension of our beliefs, in particular that there is that of God in each person. Being in community with other Quakers and those who share our beliefs and values helps us to tune back in to the leadings of the Divine.
Some language taken directly from FGC’s pamphlet – “Quaker Testimonies”
For more information on the Religious Society of Friends, its history, and our local Quaker community, please visit: Bucks Quarterly Meeting and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. You may also visit Friends General Conference.