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Beliefs and Practices
Hicksite (Unprogrammed) Meetings became affiliated through the United States with Friends General Conference (FGC), which arose in the early 1900s. FGC meetings continued the 350 year tradition of silent worship, there being no presiding pastor, priest, or minister. Friends believe that within each human being there is a divine spark or "Inner Light," and that every person is a vehicle of God. There is no creed, no prepared order of worship, or sermon. This simple Christian form of worship seeks for direct communion with the Divine without an intermediary.
The immanence of God implies that all persons are children of the Divine and brothers and sisters of one another. Thus, all persons have inherent dignity and the right to respect and support regardless of gender, race, religion, political affiliation, or economic condition. As within ourselves we become conscious of the same Spirit (the "Inward Light" or the "Christ Within"), and as we submit ourselves to its leadings, we also are enabled to live in conformity to the will of God. Quakers believe that every person is a vehicle of God.
All have the capacity to discern spiritual truth and to have direct communication with God. Each individual must prayerfully seek individual guidance and must follow the Inner Light as it guides them. Each will be helped by studying the developing interpretations of God in the Bible and the ideas of the great spiritual leaders of all faiths, of which the life and writings of Gandhi are but a single example. Of significant help is pondering the life and teaching of Jesus.
Love, the outworking of the Divine Spirit, is the most potent influence that can be applied in and to human affairs, and this application of love to the whole of life is seen by Quakers as the core of the Christian Gospel. "A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another." (John 13:34-35)