About Quakers

Quakers are a religious group who originated in England in the 17th century. We are known more formally as the Religious Society of Friends. There are now Quakers all over the world, including about 14,000 members in Britain.

What do Quakers believe?
Quakers maintain that every person can have a real and direct experience of God without the need for priests and rituals. We believe that there is something of God in everyone. Although we have our roots in Christianity we also find meaning and value in the teachings and insights of other faiths and traditions. But Quakerism is essentially a way of life rather than a system of beliefs. We try to live our lives according to a set of values known as ‘testimonies’.

What are the Quaker testimonies?
Quaker testimonies include truth, simplicity, equality, sustainability and peace. Quakers endeavour to work positively and creatively with others to build a more just and peaceful world.

Do Quakers have churches and services?

No, because for Quakers all times and places are equally sacred. But we do have ‘meeting houses’ where we come together to hold ‘meeting for worship’. Quaker meetings are usually held on Sunday mornings and last for about an hour. Typically they are followed by announcements and then a cup of tea. Sometimes there may also be a shared lunch or a study session of some kind.

What happens in a meeting for worship?
If you are used to a priest-led service, you will find a Quaker meeting for worship quite different. Typically a group of people will sit facing each other around a plain table. The meeting starts when the first person sits down. Meetings generally last one hour and are based on silence. Occasionally, someone will stand and say something briefly. The meeting ends when two elders shake hands.

Can I attend a Quaker meeting in Ealing?
By all means – our meetings are open to everyone. You may like to arrive a few minutes in advance so that we can make you welcome.

Who can be a Quaker?
Anyone can be a part of the Quaker community. Those who go to meeting but have not been formally accepted into membership are known as ‘attenders’. Attenders may apply to become members if they have acquired an understanding of Quaker values and practices and feel that they are ready.

Where can I find out more?
Visit the Quakers in Britain website, or go to an informal Monday evening session at Friends House, Euston, London.