Quaker beliefs inform every action we take in our everyday lives. We know that there is value in every human being and we treat everyone with respect. Our philosophy makes us peaceful and patient and helps us to make positive changes in the world for all.
We believe that every person can have a direct personal relationship with God (whatever that might mean to the individual) and that there is something of God in everyone. As such, we don’t place a lot of importance on rituals and ceremonies in our worship. Instead, we look for spiritual enrichment in our everyday lives.
There are no shared Quaker beliefs concerning life after death as there are in other denominations of the Christian faith. We focus more on making the world a better place, rather than what happens after we leave it.
There are many shared Quaker values that allow us to worship and live in a peaceful and positive way. There are no fixed creeds or codes that determine how Quakers must act. We search for truth and develop new values as we learn.
Quaker values are called testimonies. These testimonies help us work together to help create a more peaceful, sustainable and just world. This is why we live without fixed creeds. We aim to adapt to meet the needs our contemporary society and encourage each other to keep trying to shape a better world.
There are several guiding testimonies that we always uphold.
These central Quaker values have guided many generations before us, and will continue to support countless generations to come. They are:
We’re incredibly proud that Quakers are known for their peaceful attitudes. Our peace testimony is drawn from our knowledge that every person has value and all life is of equal worth, and we believe that love is the centre of existence.
Quakers have long refused military service, instead creatively campaigning for peace. We promote peace personally and globally. We engage in lots of practical work to support areas that have been affected by violent conflict.
Equality and justice
One of the key Quaker values is that every single person is equal. We continually try and change unjust systems that create barriers between people and support the development of a peaceful, positive global community.
We also try to work closely with people who have suffered injustice, including asylum seekers and prisoners of conscience. In the 17th century, we were campaigning for independent juries. In the 21st, we’ve been promoting marriage equality, with a whole range of campaigns in-between.
Truth and integrity
Quaker values encourage us to speak the truth at all times, even in the face of adversity and to people in positions of power. We expect all people to show integrity, especially in those with influential positions. However, it is in silence that we are able to connect most to truth, which is why we conduct our worship in quiet reflection.
Simplicity and Sustainability
Currently, the global society in which we all live is a wasteful one. We know things need to change to ensure global sustainability. Quakers try to live simply and prioritise relationships, the natural world and the truth to be found in stillness rather than material goods.
In Quaker worship, you won’t find any ministers or priests. We gather together and first sit in silence to help quieten our minds and reflect on the world around us. There are no hymns or prayers. It’s in the silence that we can connect with God.
Sometimes, after the reflective silence, some people in the meeting are moved to share their thoughts in what we call ‘ministry’. All people are welcome to contribute and the rest of the group will consider what is said and try to find its meaning for ourselves.
In a Quaker meeting for worship, you’ll find copies of The Bible and Quaker Faith and Practice available to read. People can choose to read passages aloud as ministry.
Meetings end when two Quakers shake hands. The rest of the meeting then shakes hands with those around them to signify the end of the shared worship session. People often choose to stay a while longer to talk and share news.
Anyone is welcome to attend Quaker worship sessions, regardless of their faith. There are around 500 Quaker groups around Britain. If you’d like to attend a meeting for yourself, you can find one close to you on the Quakers in Britain website.Find a Quaker Meeting
Quaker Beliefs for Education
Quaker values and beliefs inform the way we impart knowledge to the new generation. The majority of staff and students in our schools don’t identify themselves as Quakers but they can all share and appreciate our values.
Our schools give students a wide range of experiences and show the importance of being peaceful, truthful and just through our actions. We seek to give them thoughtful, inquisitive minds that they’ll use throughout their lives to help make small, positive changes in the world.
Students aren’t pressured to pass formal examinations and are supported by experienced teachers in small classrooms. Each student knows that they are valued and can ask questions or share their thoughts openly and without fear of ridicule or repercussions. This means that they are better able to succeed during testing as they are confident and knowledgeable.More about Quaker values in Education