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Why Am I A Quaker?

A collection of individuals' thoughts from  Friends at Bolton meeting

Central Focus
There is something sacred in all people. All people are equal before God. Religion is about the whole of life. In stillness we find a deeper sense of God's presence. True religion leads to respect for the earth and all life upon it. Each person is unique, precious, a child of God.

~  In the silence of the Meeting For Worship I experience a shared search for love and truth with others, and I am also learning to listen to the silence and to wait. I am in sympathy with Quakers in their belief in the fundamental worth and value of everyone which underlies the Quaker testimonies to peace, social justice and love. Within the silence of Meeting For Worship, I know that whatever my doubts and uncertainties might be, I am accepted and therefore I feel the freedom just to be.

~ I came to Quakers after undergoing a period non-belief in the existence of God. To find Quakers was like a breath of fresh air. It was a relief to feel free from creed or dogma. To accept that there was that of God (good) in everyone, and to share the silent worship with like-minded Friends, waiting on the spirit to move us is inspiring. To hear someone's ministry brings us all closer to one another and The Holy Spirit. It seems to me that Quakerism is a return to basics. 

open air meeting
Meeting for Worship in the town square

~ Attending Meeting For Worship can feel like being strengthened and grounded. The silence at times draws me into an openness in which new truths can be received. It is a call to a different way of being, a way in which the testimonies may be lived out and that of God recognised in all.

I came to Quaker meeting very recently because of what it isn't as much as what it is. No clergy. No male dominance. No Creed or Dogma. No Statues or other clutter in the place where we worship. I like the fact that Quakers do not spend their time trying to prove the existence of God through writings, but try to live their daily lives by actively following the teachings of Jesus. I don't take kindly to being told what to think so this practical example and the silent form of worship, where I am allowed to think and reflect on things in my own way, is good for me.
~  I have attended Quaker meetings since I was a young child.  As a young adult, I discovered Quakers again for myself.  For me the worship, community and action in the world are inseparable from each other, all inspired by the legacy left to us by earlier Friends.  Sometimes Meeting for worship can feel very still in a restful way.  At other times, I experience the stillness as full of energy and sometimes very challenging.  My local Quaker meeting is important, but so too is my sense of connection to the wider community of Quakers in the country and the world.  Why am I a Quaker?  I don't think I could be anything else now.

I came to Quakers by a circuitous route. What appealed particularly to me is their belief that there is something of God in everyone. (Though it may be difficult to discern in some people). They have no set prayers or creed, but try to live out their lives in accordance with their testimonies to integrity and simplicity, non-violence peace and social justice. This too I find attractive and I find harmony with these testimonies in the Quaker practice of meeting in silence. The meeting may not be wholly silent. Anyone can speak if they feel called by the spirit to do so and I feel I have come home in a Quaker meeting.

~  I come to the Meeting House to join in silent worship largely because of the respect offered by Friends to everyone’s individual spiritual enquiry and the warmness of Friends’ general support. For me, the writings of early Quakers, though difficult to deconstruct, offer both spiritual and historical inspiration. Meeting For Worship allows us to have quality reflection time in shared silence on our Quaker beliefs. Meeting For Worship is a wonderful bridge between the spiritual world and our everyday living expressed in our testimonies when Friends hold each other 'In The Light'.

~ There seem to be few opportunities today to sit quietly uninterrupted by the outside noise and bustle. Meeting For Worship, the hour of silence, which Quakers hold at the centre of their faith, without creed or set prayers, gives a chance to share with others a precious time for contemplation for listening and for seeking guidance. We try to live by our testimonies of truth, equality, simplicity, integrity and social justice and attempt to see that of God in everyone.

Glossary of Terms

Testimonies - Ideals to which Quakers aspire and by which they try to live their lives. e.g. non- violence, simplicity

Simplicity - Concentrating on the things that matter most, having discarded the superfluous

Silent Worship - the emphasis in Silent Worship is on sharing, being open, receptive. It may be that someone feels inspired to speak some words or give a short reading, which is then absorbed into continuing silence.

Ministry - To Quakers, ministry is the term used to describe a Friends contribution, usually spoken, into the silence of the Meeting For Worship. It is a deeply experienced thought or feeling that comes through us and cannot be suppressed but has to be communicated to all. In a gathered meeting an individual Ministry may reflect something to us all.

To Hold In The Light - Quakers share a deep sense of spirituality together and link this to supporting individuals who are all regarded as equal in the sight of God.