About Friends

The Religious Society of Friends of Pittsburgh

4836 Ellsworth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Map to Meeting House

In Short

Why You May Wish To Meet With Pittsburgh Friends Meeting
What are Quakers?
Founded in 1652 by George Fox, Quakers (The Religious Society of Friends) spread from England to America, Europe, and every continent in the world. The Friends' way of life ideally emphasizes simplicity and humility.

Originally, Friends believed strongly in God and the Bible, but also felt that every person was a source of continuing revelation -- that God could move beyond the Bible and speak through any person.

Friends' deep spirituality is a source of profound social activism. The need for aiding others ranged from early equality for women, anti-slavery, and religious freedom to penal reform and avoidance of war, and living in such a way as to take away the occasion of all war. These concerns continue today.

Who has authority among Quakers?
Pittsburgh Friends Meeting has no one with the authority that a pastor exercises.

The Meeting does have clerks, who record decisions by the Meeting. Meetings for Business are not run autocratically nor democratically.

The Meeting for Business is conducted in a spirit of worship with, we hope, God's guidance. In keeping with the beliefs and practices of The Religious Society of Friends, decision-making is by Sense of the Meeting.

Everyone is welcomed into the Meeting as member or attender regardless of their ability to make financial contributions.

Financial needs of the Meeting are met through contributions of members and attenders of the Meeting. Donations may be made personally or by mail to the Treasurer.

How To Join Pittsburgh Friends Meeting
If, after attending for a year or so, you feel led to become a member, the procedure is outlined in our Faith & Practice.
Membership Section

Friends' Beliefs
There is no set creed or belief for The Religious Society of Friends. Each person is responsible for his or her relationship with God, and the experience of each will be different. The only near-universal belief is that there is an inward light, a spark of the Divine, that of God in every person.

When you talk with people in Pittsburgh Friends Meeting, you will encounter a wide spectrum of belief. Concrete definitions of belief are often avoided, since words cannot contain the whole, and, through our individual seeking and common worship, revelation continues. Common beliefs tend toward the more practical and experiential; for instance, the thought that war creates more trouble than it solves is common.

During a Meeting for Worship, all settle into silence. While some meditate, others concentrate on relaxing, or feeling their bodies. Some consider a word or phrase to aid their search. Some will use the silence to empty their minds, "waiting expectantly" for wisdom from either deep in their own minds or from beyond.

Anyone may speak out of the silence. There is no prepared sermon. Although some speaking is considered more valid than others, humility teaches that anyone may be deeply inspired and bring wisdom we would do well to consider.

The Religious Society of Friends also publishes Queries, which are not statements of belief, but are designed to strengthen beliefs in truth and wisdom through questioning. An example: "Do we teach our children the value of religious beliefs and practices?" Each Meeting is expected to consider and answer the Queries over a period of time. The intent is to open up important areas of life for self-examination from time to time.