What is Quakerism?
Quakerism emphasizes a personal experience of direct communion with God, which is available to everyone. Those seeking this experience meet together in silent anticipation of the Sacred Presence. The silent gatherings for worship begun by George Fox and early Seekers are still the center of the Quaker life. These meetings are open to all and are beautifully simple: a coming to together for a quiet hour in communion with others and God. Those present are invited to worship and to follow the leadings of the Spirit as to whether or not to speak. When truly moved by the spirit during the worship, anyone may minister. As a result of the focus of Quakerism on direct personal experience of the Light within, Quakerism has no written creed, designated ministers or outward sacraments. Quakers believe that what the outward sacraments represent can be attained by each person. The eucharist and water baptism are no substitute for the personal/direct experience of communion with God and baptism of the spirit. Quakers believe that all of life is sacred, every minute of every day and that one day is no more or less special than another.
Quakers believe that more can be accomplished by appealing to the love and goodness in all people rather than threatening punishment and retaliation. This does not ignore the existence of evil, but recognizes that there is no effective way to combat evil with weapons or physical violence. Most Quakers choose not to engage in military activities but instead find ways to perform service as conscientious objectors during times of war. In the Spirit of Christ we are led to seriously consider our employment, our investments, our purchases, our payment of taxes, and our manner of living as they relate to violence.
Walking Gently on the Earth
How we treat the earth and its creatures is a basic part of our relationship with God. Wasteful and extravagant consumption is a major cause of destruction of the environment. Friends are called upon to be models of living simply with respect for the earth.