Quakers (also known as the Religious Society of Friends) often recall the words of William Penn, writing in 1682 in the language of his time:
“True godliness don’t turn men out of the world, but enables them to live better in it, and excites their endeavours to mend it.”
Quakers have been instrumental in social reform for over 350 years. We were among the earliest advocates of prison reform, community centres and social welfare. We continue to work for non-violent resolution of conflicts, and the provision of aid for those affected by famine and war. We have been and remain core supporters of Indigenous voices, civil rights movements and environmental activism. Christian in origin, the Quaker approach is experiential. We hold silent Meetings for Worship, where spoken ministry may be delivered by any of those present, guided by the Spirit within. We have no priests or sacramental rituals. We believe that every person has something of the divine within them. Holding to this belief gives us a sense of connection with and reverence for all people, as well as for other living things and for the planet we share. We seek to express in our lives the principles and testimonies of truthfulness, simplicity, equality, compassion, peace and care for the earth.
Lorna Marsden, writing in 1986, summarised that worship is the basis of Quaker work in the world:
“Our testimonies arise from our way of worship. Our way of worship evokes from deep within us at once an affirmation and a celebration, an affirmation of the reality of that Light which illumines the spiritual longing of humanity, and a celebration of the continual resurrection within us of the springs of hope and love; a sense that each of us is, if we will, a channel for a power that is both within and beyond us.”