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Quakers are a global faith group committed to working for equality and peace;  they come from many faith backgrounds, including non-theist and agnostic.

Quakerism started in England in the 17th century at a time when many people were interested in radically re-shaping religion, politics and society.  The key beliefs of Quakerism were formed at this time including the idea that each individual can experience inner light, inner spiritual leadings or the Voice of God, without needing a priest or the Bible. This belief has evolved to mean that Quakers don’t have strict rules governing their Church.

It also means that they believe that there is that of God in everyone and see all humans as equal and deserving of equal treatment and respect.  

Many early Quakers were imprisoned and oppressed for their beliefs. These beliefs have led Quakers to act in ways they are now well known for – campaigning for the rights of prisoners, refusing to fight in wars, mediating in conflicts and becoming the first religious organisation to officially recognise same-sex marriage.

Early Quaker gatherings and organisational structure remains much the same today with a gathering to meet usually once a week, to sit in stillness and waiting, often in silence. There is no priest, everyone is equal: when someone feels moved to speak they can. (We need to mention here that not all Quakers around the world sit in silence at their meetings).

Quakers don’t have a fixed creed but the search for truth has led to new expressions of values.  We call them ‘testimonies’. Today we focus on equality, peace, truth, justice and simplicity and how they relate to one another. The testimonies encourage us to work for a more just, peaceful, sustainable world. 

It is not always easy to live this way but as Quakers we try to encourage each other to keep trying.

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At a Quaker Meeting you will always find a Bible and these two red books on the table;  the books are revised every few decades. Someone may read from one of them during the Quaker meeting.

The first of the ‘Advices & queries’ is as follows

‘Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts.  Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life’.

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