Broadmead Friends Meeting
Beliefs in Action

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Beliefs in Action

Most faith groups have specific beliefs that their members are expected to follow. Quakers rely heavily instead upon spiritual discernment by individual members, congregations, and regional assemblies. Because revelation is continuing, new leadings will come, but because the Spirit is consistent, certain principles will prevail. Friends have called these principles "testimonies" because they witness to the wider world of the power of God to transform individuals and human society.

The testimonies challenge us to live our lives as God would wish us to. Testimonies bear witness to the truth as Friends in community perceive it-truth known through relationship with God. Some key testimonies are:

Simplicity - eliminate non-essentials.
Peace - strive for harmony in all relationships.
Integrity - be honest in thoughts and actions.
Community - live and work in community with others, especially within the meeting.
Equality - give fair and equal treatment to everyone.

A consequence of Friends' search for truth is that scientific discoveries do not tend to challenge the basis of our faith. Like the scientific method, Quaker faith and practice rely upon experience as a guide. We come to know truth experientially. The search for truth is more important to us than the maintenance of beliefs, so we try to remain open to new approaches to the truth. Quakers do not have a creed, as we believe that it is impossible for words to adequately describe God or our faith for all time. The Apostle Paul wrote, "The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Corinthians 3:6)

Quakers attempt to live by our testimonies. Much of our ministry is carried out within our families, places of work, and through our community involvements. Over the years, Quakers have worked for prison reform, the abolition of slavery, an end to the death penalty, civil rights, right sharing of the world's resources, peaceful conflict resolution, religious liberty, and have advocated for alternative service for those whose conscience forbids them to kill others in war. Quakers have ministered to the needy, especially victims of war.

As you come to know us better, you will discover our shortcomings, our faults, and our failures. We have high ideals, but do not always live up to them. We are on a lifelong journey toward truth and fulfillment-a journey made more meaningful and easier by the companionship of other seekers.

For more information on Quaker beliefs, click here to go to Lake Erie Yearly Meeting's web site.

Portions of this text are quoted or paraphrased from Silence and Witness: The Quaker Tradition, by Michael L. Birkel, 2004, ISBN 1-57075-518-3. Used by permission.
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