Their weddings are very informal compared to those from other traditions and there is no priest or minister to lead the couple as they make their vows. Worship is our response to an awareness of God. Meeting for Sufferings' Statement of Intent on Racism, 1988. The Quakers are organised through a series of meetings. This helps them to be aware that they are a group together for worship, and puts everybody in a place of equal status. George Fox was personally opposed to the use of violence. It has also led at times to a refusal to contribute resources to the preparation for war – from Pennsylvania’s refusal to provide funds for the defence of New York in 1693, to modern day Peace Tax campaigns. The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is a “Quaker lobby in the public interest” and the lobbying arm for Quakers of widely varying beliefs. Read more. The couple promise to be loving companions and take each other as lifelong partners in a spirit of freedom and equality. The Walking Purchase. The structure is organised at local level (Preparative Meetings), smaller and larger district levels (Monthly and General Meetings) and national level (Yearly Meeting). Like many Christian groups, Quakers never intended to form a new denomination. They will also formally ask the government to change the law to allow gay people to marry. These meetings begin with silence. Quakers strongly oppose violence and war. Quakers don't believe in a clergy, they feel that all believers can minister to one another. The straw that broke my camel’s back was when I was told to my face at a FGC Gathering that all libertarians were racists. Guests are greeted by a door keeper when they arrive for the marriage ceremony. Quakers do not celebrate Christian festivals such as Easter and Christmas (although Quaker families may mark Christmas as the secular festival it has largely become). Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. We do … The biblical basis for … Quakers integrate religion and everyday life. Violence in response to violence can only worsen human suffering and increase hatred and fear. Quaker worship is designed to let God teach and transform the worshippers. Members of the congregation sign the Quaker Marriage Certificate as a witness to both their presence and support for the marriage. This comes partly from their belief that there is something of God in every human being, and that they should respect the worth and dignity of each person, and partly from following Christ's own example of social activism. They are particularly concerned with: Quakers do not regard any book as being the actual 'word of God'. But it wasn’t just about their religion. The repudiation of violence as a means to an end has led many Quakers to espouse forms of non-violent direct action – from a refusal to pay church tithes in England in the 17th Century, to the Civil Rights Movement in the US, the campaign for democracy in South Korea, and many others. They are actively involved in social and political issues and believe in pacifism and non-violence. The Quakers have welcomed same-sex unions for more than two decades, allowing local groups to celebrate same-sex commitments through special acts of worship. Do not be persuaded into buying what you do not need or cannot afford. Others would use more abstract terms: just 'listening' (though no voice is heard), or 'looking inward' (though no visions are seen), or 'pure attention' (though nothing specific is attended to). We can worship alone, but when we join with others in expectant waiting we may discover a deeper sense of God's presence. So: A written list of beliefs is considered inappropriate. Appointment as an elder doesn't mean that the person is in any way superior to anyone else. In most cases, the finer details of the ceremony are decided through discussion with the marriage registering officers and community elders. Why do Quakers care about politics? A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it. The early church up until the time of Augustine of Hippo were pacifists. The Quakers were the first whites to denounce slavery in the American colonies and Europe. They believe the events celebrated at such festivals (e.g. Quakers will not swear oaths in court (or elsewhere) but will only affirm. Despite its brutality and inhumanity, the slave system aroused little protest until the 18th century, when rationalist thinkers of the Enlightenment began to criticize it for its violation of the rights of man, and Quaker and other evangelical religious groups condemned it for its un-Christian qualities. By 1696, Quakers in Pennsylvania officially declared their opposition to the importation of enslaved Africans into North America. A Quaker service is not a time of individual meditation, although the description above may make it sound like that. The Process of Seasoning a Minute/Statement Relati... Light a Candle for Peace in Syria; Why what we say, or don't say, at Yearly Meeting m... What can we do to oppose the evils of empire: war ... August (8) July (4) June (8) May (11) The name 'Friends' comes from Jesus' remark "You are my friends if you do what I command you" (John 15:14). But music is, on the whole, rare. Quakers are as fully opposed to personal, family or community violence as to war. Quakers avoid working for companies that manufacture weapons or other harmful products (nor will they invest in such companies). We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretence whatsoever, and this is our testimony to the whole world. Among the best known Quaker testimonies, this stems from the idea of moving beyond the need for violence. They seek the will of God by following the leading of the Spirit to resolve differences. They do this by stopping everyday thoughts and anxieties. Quaker weddings do not have to take place in registered buildings but they must be held indoors. Acting as trusted intermediaries or neutral hosts, they have enabled diplomats, and other representatives of nations in conflict to meet or communicate discreetly. The right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priest's or magistrate's; for it is God's ordinance and not man's...we marry none; it is the Lord's work, and we are but witnesses. See Answer. The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is a “Quaker lobby in the public interest” and the lobbying arm for Quakers of widely varying beliefs. Quakers usually refer to themselves as 'Friends' and they believe that there is something sacred in everyone and that violence should always be avoided. Quakers do not separate religious life and secular life and feel that all life should be 'lived in the spirit'. Some would call it 'listening to the quiet voice of God' - without trying to define the word. Some of them include: God, the Light Within, Christ, Spirit, Seed, and Inward Teacher. The monthly meeting must approve the application before the registering officer, who is recognised by law, makes arrangements for the public notices and other legal requirements. They recognize that not all violence is physical, and have always been concerned about the use of economic, social, or psychological force. Christ demands of us that we adhere, without swerving, to the methods of love, and therefore, if a seeming conflict should arise between the claims of His service and those of the State, it is to Christ that our supreme loyalty must be given, whatever the consequences. Once a minute has been drafted and read out members can suggest modifications. Why do Hindus oppose violence? The decision is not based on a majority or a consensus, but on the "sense of the meeting". They object to experiments on animals for trivial purposes such as cosmetics, and are divided as to whether animal experimentation should be allowed for medical research. In their renouncement of violence, they sought to eliminate sources of conflict such as poverty, intolerance, and exploitation. At least six weeks before the wedding date, the couple must make an application to the registering officer of the monthly meeting where the marriage ceremony is due to be held. Like other Quaker testimonies, it is not a "belief", but a description of committed actions, in this case to promote peace, and refrain from and actively oppose participation in war. The Peace Testimony has led many (though not all) Quakers to refuse to bear arms or to play any part in military action. Many Quakers do use artificial methods of birth control. Mennonites are pacifists. What do Quakers believe? The words spoken are usually brief and may include readings (from the Bible or other books), praying, or speaking from personal experience. The Quakers were the first whites to denounce slavery in the American colonies and Europe. Fox believed that everyone should try to encounter God directly and to experience the Kingdom of Heaven as a present, living reality. 9,000 people in Britain regularly take part in Quaker worship without being members of the Religious Society of Friends. It does not matter which order the bride and groom speak. One story says that the founder, George Fox, once told a magistrate to tremble (quake) at the name of God and the name 'Quakers' stuck. Beliefs are not just safe ledges in an uncertain reality, but rather handholds from which further heights can be reached. One of their documents states: " In all our meetings for church affairs we need to listen together to the Holy Spirit. The movements they founded ( the Pietists, Quakers and Zen ) became exemplary, but they were the exceptions. That meant that to be true to their beliefs they had to oppose war and not participate in it. Quakers seek religious truth in inner experience, and place great reliance on conscience as the basis of morality. Quakers, also called Friends, belong to a historically Christian denomination known formally as the Religious Society of Friends or Friends Church. The first step in the official process is a meeting for clearness. 11 Answers. The meetings are named after the frequency with which a group meets. Since believers should have a direct relationship with God, no one (priests, for example) and nothing (like sacraments) should come in between. Many Quakers took an active role in the Temperance Movement of Victorian times. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. Each speaking is followed by a period of silence. Some Quakers make 'living wills', requesting that if they become ill to the point of being incapable of living without artificial life support systems or inappropriate medical intervention, they be allowed to die naturally and with dignity. The Britain Yearly Meeting is the body that represents the interests of the thirty thousand Quakers in the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain. Scientific facts are the opposed of art. Neither is it customary to have a best man or bridesmaids. Most Quakers regard the Bible as a very great inspirational book but they don't see it as the only one, and so they read other books that can guide their lives. Quakers oppose blood sports, and do not approve of businesses that exploit animals, such as circuses or zoos, or the fur trade. The silence in a meeting for worship isn't something that happens between the actual worship - the silence itself is part of the worship; it provides a space for people to separate themselves from the pressures and events of daily life and to get closer to God and each other. The repudiation of violence as a means to an end has led many Quakers to espouse various forms of nonviolent action. Some people say that there is often a feeling that a divine presence has settled over the group. At a meeting following the silent pattern the contributions are likely to include memories as well as prayers or readings. Quakers call worship events meetings for worship rather than services. This is why Quakers value all people equally, and oppose anything that may harm or threaten them. what was the most famous fraud of Colonial America? Shut the front door! However, both religions would say that protests should be non violent in nature. And from a practical point of view they think that force nearly always creates more problems than it solves. They also practice worship in silence. Quakers have frequently taken peacebuilding initiatives to reconcile communities and nations involved in violent conflicts, such as in post-genocide Rwanda. Holding hands, the couple take it in turns to make declarations based on the following: "Friends, I take this my friend...to be my wife/husband, promising divine assistance to be unto her/him a loving and faithful husband/wife so long as we both on earth shall live." Quaker marriages can be held at any time of day. The words should come from the soul - from the inner light - rather than the mind. And they opposed any form of art. But you may still have a number of questions, such as: Who or what are these Quakers? Quakers don't have a collective view on the rightness or wrongness of contraception. In a Quaker meeting for worship a group of people sits in a room in silence for an hour. Education for peace aims to empower individuals to handle violence in themselves and others, and to build peace wherever they can. This is because: Quakers think that adopting a creed is taking on belief at second hand - they think that faith should be more personal than that and based on a person's inner conviction and on taking part in a shared search for the truth with other Quakers. As such, I cannot help but conclude that a Quaker must be an anarchist, or at least a libertarian. It's not just Quakers in the Christian tradition -- it's pretty wide-spread. There is no creed or formal set of beliefs that you have to hold to be a Quaker. The meeting ends when the elders shake hands. Yet novelty kept appearing relentlessly from the lips of stray Lyfordites, Baptists, and Quakers who later visited the wilderness community. The origins of Christian abolitionism can be traced to the late 17th Century and the Quakers. There are many reasons that the Quakers were persecuted in England, each of them contributing to the justification for their escape to North America in the mid-1650s. The same thinking applies to the Quaker attitude to homosexuality. Quaker Speak is a weekly video series. Quakers recognise that there is 'that of God in everyone', and this leads us to renounce violence and to work actively for peace. In the early days Quakers were suspicious of theology... and many Quakers are still not keen on it, believing that experience is a better teacher. Finally, Quakers have played a significant role in the creation and support of peace organisations not run by Quakers. Quakers are members of a group with Christian roots that began in England in the 1650s. 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