About Friends (Quakers)
As members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), we celebrate a rich heritage. The origins of Friends are found in the seventeenth century in England, a time when many were questioning the established beliefs of the age. George Fox (1624-1691) did not find answers to his questions in any of the churches of his day. Out of his searching and study of the Scripture came the spiritual message which swept a large part of the country. The Society of Friends was born.
Fox called for a radical, Spirit-filled Christianity that would not be oppressive of people on account of race, gender, or class. Fox preached that every person had free, unmediated access to God for Jesus Christ has come to teach his people himself. We believe that God is love and wants to communicate inwardly with everyone who is willing. Quakers believe that everyone has “That of God” within them, and we strive to look for that “Inner Light” in all people and treat everyone with equality.
We have no official creed or statement that all Friends must follow in order to be a considered a Quaker. We believe that no official words can substitute for a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. However, there are a few social testimonies which Friends strive to uphold. These are often referred to with the acronym “SPICES”
S– Simplicity: we live simply so that we can focus on faith and share our resources
P-Peace: we oppose war and violence because we are all God’s children and violence
is not the way of the Kingdom of God
I-Integrity: we believe that we are called to carry out our business with honesty
C-Community: though we can access God individually, cultivating community is an
important ministry as we support one another in compassionate living
E-Equality: we believe that everyone is equal and we oppose all discrimination
S-Stewardship: we believe in caring for God’s creation
In addition to the social testimonies, Quakers use queries (questions) to gently guide us in our decisions. Queries are not meant as rules, but as food for thought to help us evaluate and direct our lives. Here are a few examples from our Faith and Practice book of North Carolina Yearly Meeting, our state denominational organization:
– Do you strive for the constant realization of God’s presence in your life? Are you sensitive and obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit? Do you endeavor to advance your spiritual growth by the prayerful study of the Bible and other devotional literature?
–Do you love one another as becomes the followers of Christ? Are you careful of the reputation of others? When differences arise, do you make earnest effort to end them speedily?
–Do you avoid such undue expansion of your business responsibilities as to endanger your personal integrity? Are you truthful and honest in your business transactions, punctual in fulfilling your promises, and prompt in the payment of your debts?
–Do you make diligent effort to acquaint yourselves and those under your care with the spiritual needs of the world? Do you support by prayer and systematic giving those who are laboring to extend Christ’s Kingdom? Do you use your spiritual gifts in serving humanity as God grants you light to see such service?
–Do you consistently practice the Christian principles of love and goodwill toward all men? Do you work actively for peace and for the removal of the causes of war? Do you observe the testimony of Friends against military training and service? Do you endeavor to make clear to all whom you can influence, that war is inconsistent with the spirit and teaching of Jesus?
–Does your attitude toward people of other races indicate your belief in their right to equal opportunity? Do you believe in the spiritual capacity of men of all races and do you recognize their equality in the sight of God? Are you aware of your responsibility as a Christian to help in the elimination of racial discrimination and prejudice?