Welcome to Quaker.org!
The Religious Society of Friends (better known as the Quakers) is a diverse global community.
You may have heard about Quakers sitting in silence, waiting for a message from the Holy Spirit. That’s a crucial part of how Friends worship—but each Quaker community can, and often does, have its own way of doing things.
So we created this website to share some information about Quakers and our beliefs, and talk about how you might see Friends practicing their faith today.
What Do Quakers Believe?
There are two fundamental aspects to Quaker faith. First, Friends believe that all people are capable of directly experiencing the divine nature of the universe—which is known by many names, God or the Holy Spirit or simply Spirit being among the most common. You don’t need a priest or any other kind of spiritual intercessor; you don’t need to perform any kind of ritual. When you need to hear from God, you will. When Spirit has a message for you to share, you should share it.
That leads us to the second key principle, our belief in continued revelation. In the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, we read many stories of God communicating directly with people. Friends believe God’s revelations have never stopped, and that God might reach out to any one of us at any time. When Quakers come together to meet for silent worship, we participate in a shared space in which we strive to become better able, and help each other become better able, to recognize such divine messages.
How Do Quakers Worship?
Quakers can, and sometimes do, meet for worship just about anywhere; in keeping with the words of Jesus, “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Most Quaker communities, or meetings, though, are likely to come together for worship at a meetinghouse. (Some Quaker meetings with a more explicitly Christian orientation might call themselves a “Friends Church,” but they’re basically meetinghouses.)
At least once a week, the members of a meeting will gather for silent worship.
How Do Quakers Live?
George Fox, whose visions helped shape the Society in its early days, offered Friends some crucial advice on how to live:
“Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come,” he wrote; “that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone; whereby in them you may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them to bless you.”
The Quaker Story
The Quaker movement began in 17th-century England. Frustrated by the spiritual shortcomings they perceived in the Church of England and other Protestant denominations, early Friends such as George Fox set out to revive “primitive Christianity” by going back to the roots of Jesus’ teachings around non-violence, simple living, God’s concern for the marginalized, and everyone’s capacity for immediate and equal access to God’s Spirit.
Though they named themselves the Religious Society of Friends, opponents mocked them as “Quakers,” for the way their bodies often shook when they were overcome with spiritual energy. Embracing the insult and making it their own, the Quakers became one of the most distinctive religious movements in modern Western culture.
Meet Friends from many different backgrounds, discussing the core questions of Quaker faith.