About Quakers

Around 1650 George Fox founded our movement. Its dangerous ideas threatened the authorities, who gave it the derogatory nickname “Quakers”. George Fox and his followers adopted the name and we have used it ever since. Officially we are “the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)” and often refer to each other as “Friends”.

What do we believe?

Each of us seeks to experience the religious life for ourselves, in the company of fellow seekers. We have no one definition of "God". We have the conviction that each of us can have direct experience of the Spirit of God and that something of God is expressed in everyone's life. Find out more about what we believe.

What happens in Meeting for worship?

A Quaker meeting is based on an expectant silence, in which we seek to come nearer to each other and to God. Occasionally a meeting will pass in total silence. The silence may be broken if someone feels compelled by the Spirit to speak, pray or read. The meeting ends after about an hour with the shaking of hands. Find out more about Quaker worship.

How do we live our lives?

Quaker beliefs lead us to live in accordance with the values of peace, equality, truth and integrity, and simplicity and sustainability. We promote our values by taking practical action and speaking truth to power. Read more about how we live our faith.

What rituals do Quakers have?

Quakers have no sacraments such as holy communion or baptism. We do have special meetings for worship for weddings and funerals. Read more about Quaker weddings and Quaker funerals and memorial meetings.

How do Quakers make decisions together?

We have a distinctive way of deciding how to run our meetings and decide what activities to undertake. These business meetings are special meetings for worship, where we try to discern the will of the Spirit. We only make decisions when the way forward is clear, so we do not have votes. Learn more about how we make decisions.

How are Quakers organised?

We have no paid spiritual leaders and we share responsibility for our work, worship and community at local, area, Scottish and British levels. Learn more about how we are organised.

Where did Quakers come from?

The Quaker religion began in the mid-17th century with George Fox and like-minded seekers. Fox had studied the Bible in detail and had many questions about it. He tried all the preachers and priests he could find but none of them could help him answer these questions. He came to realise that people can have direct experience of God without an ordained minister as intermediary.

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