Quakerism is a way of life rather than a set of beliefs. Quakers seek to experience God directly, within themselves and in their relationships with others and the world around them. These direct encounters with the Divine are where Quakers find meaning and purpose.
Worship is at the heart of what it means to be a Quaker. We come together in stillness so we can quiet our minds and open ourselves to a sense of community, our relationships with others and an awareness of the eternal. Our way of worship together can also be the inspiration for action in the world for peace and social justice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are Quakers?
‘Quakers’ started as a nickname. Their full name is the Religious Society of Friends. Members are known as either Quakers or Friends.
What do Quakers believe?
Quakerism started in England in the 1650’s when George Fox gathered groups of ‘seekers’ together. Quakers were trying to lead a renewal in living more simply and truthfully, following Jesus’ example more closely. Many Quakers centre their faith on Jesus while some Quakers find inspiration from other spiritual experiences and faiths. Friends see ‘that of God in everyone’. They base their search for truth on the experience that there is a real and direct relationship between each person and God. Quakers try to live by their testimonies to simplicity, truth, equality and peace.
What happens in a Meeting for Worship?
The Meeting for Worship starts when the first person sits down. Meetings last one hour and are based on silence. In the silence, Friends turn towards the Light and worship God together. Occasionally, someone will stand and say something briefly. After that the Meeting will continue. A gathered Meeting for Worship can be transforming. Following their belief in a direct relationship with God, Quakers have no formal priests to lead worship and do not feel the need for special feast days or sacraments. The meeting ends when two elders shake hands. The clerk will usually welcome everyone and give out any notices. Most Meetings enjoy cups of tea together afterwards.
How do I go about attending a Meeting for Worship?
Just arrive at a Meeting House a few minutes before the start of Meeting (10:30 on Sunday mornings). Enter the Meeting House when you are ready and you can sit anywhere. You could make contact via our website beforehand. We’d be very pleased to welcome you.
What about Quakers and children?
Children usually spend 10 minutes in Meeting for Worship with the adults before going out to have their own programme or activities. Many of our older young people enjoy the residential gatherings run nationally every year. Several members of the Meeting have volunteered to run children’s activities and all have had a DBS check in the last three years. Please let us know in advance if you would like to bring your children to Meeting so appropriate provision can be made.
Find more information via the links below in About Quakers and Discover Quakers.
Visit londonquakers.org.uk for information about Quaker events in London.
For details about London West Area Quaker Meeting visit londonwestquakers.org.uk