Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Quaker Star
Logo used by Friends' service organisations since the late 19th century
Classification Protestant
Theology Evangelical, Liberal, Orthodox
Governance various
Distinct fellowships Friends World Committee for Consultation
Associations Evangelical Friends International, Friends General Conference, Friends United Meeting
Geographical areas Kenya, North America, Bolivia, United Kingdom, India, Rwanda, Tanzania
Founder George Fox
Origin Mid-seventeenth century
Separated from Church of England
Members 340,558 (in 2007)[1]
Aid organization American Friends Service Committee, Canadian Friends Service Committee, Quaker Peace and Social Witness (UK)
Other name(s) Friends Church

The Religious Society of Friends, or Friends Church, is a Christian denomination. Members are known as Friends, or popularly as Quakers. There is a wide range of theological views including evangelical, conservative and liberal; collectively they differ from other Christian churches by a particular emphasis on the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. The Religious Society of Friends is not a single organisation, but is made of autonomous national or regional organisations, which have theological, social and cultural differences between them. Some organisations hold strongly opposing views, leading to conflict. Within each organisation, church government is via a hierarchy of meetings at a local, regional and national level, similar to presbyterian polity, although in some organisations all members, rather than only elders, take part in these. Worship varies between services co-ordinated by a pastor or recorded minister; or worship with no fixed programme which is predominantly silent.

The movement began in mid-17th century England when travelling preachers including James Naylor, George Fox, Margaret Fell and Francis Howgill broke away from the Church of England, bringing together groups of English Dissenters, attempting to restore what they believed were the practices of the early Church. They emphasised the idea that it was only Christ, rather than priests, who could speak to them.

Historically, Quakers have been known for their refusal to participate in war; plain dress; refusal to swear oaths; opposition to alcohol and participation in anti-slavery, prison reform, and social justice movements. Quakers are also known historically for founding and running a number of large corporations which were run under Quaker principles and have funded much of the Quakers' work - including banks (Barclays and Lloyds among others), financial institutions (eg Friends Provident), and manufacturing companies (eg Clarks, Cadbury, Rowntree, Fry's).



In 1652, George Fox preached to around 1000 people from this rock on Firbank Fell, now known as Fox's Pulpit

There were many dissenting Christian groups in England in the late 1640s, following the English Civil War. George Fox was a young man who, like others at the time, became convinced that it was possible to have a direct experience of Christ without the mediation of clergy. He travelled around England, preaching, and found several pre-existing groups of like-minded people, and he gathered them together. Their central teaching that Christ has come to teach his people himself forms the basis of modern Quaker faith and practice.[2] This group thought of themselves as part of the restoration of the true Christian church after centuries of apostasy, and not as a separate movement. They described themselves using terms such as true Christianity, Saints, Children of the Light, and Friends of the Truth, reflecting terms used in the New Testament by members of the early Christian church. The numbers of Friends increased fast, to a peak of 60 000 Quakers in England and Wales in 1680[3] (1.15% of the total population of England and Wales[3]).

In 1650, George Fox, was brought before Gervase Bennet, a magistrate, on a charge of blasphemy. According to Fox's autobiography, Bennet "called us Quakers because we bid them tremble at the word of God",[4] a scriptural reference ("e.g.", Book of Isaiah 66:2, Ezra 9:4). Therefore, what began apparently as a way to make fun of Fox's admonition by those outside the Society became a nickname that today is widely used. At the popular and scholarly level the usual term is "Quaker", which originated in ridicule but soon became widely accepted.[5]

William Penn founded Pennsylvania as a holy experiment - a state run on Quaker principles

Quakers were officially persecuted in England under the Quaker Act (1662) and the Conventicle Act 1664, with persecution being relaxed after the Declaration of Indulgence in 1687-1688 and stopped under the Act of Toleration 1689. Some Quakers escaped to America, and whilst some also suffered persecution there (eg Mary Dyer hanged in Massachusetts Bay colony), they were tolerated in Rhode Island (with 36 of the governors for the first 100 years being Quakers), West Jersey and Pennsylvania (which was set up by affluent Quaker William Penn in 1682 as a holy experiment of a state run under Quaker principles). From these areas Quakerism spread across the eastern seaboard. William Penn signed a peace treaty with Tammany, leader of the Delaware tribe,[6] and additional treaties between Quakers and other tribes followed.

One of their most radical innovations was a greater, nearly equal, role for women[7]. Despite the survival of strong patriarchal elements, Friends believed in the spiritual equality of women, who were allowed to take a far more active role than had ordinarily existed before the emergence of radical civil war sects. Early Quaker defenses of their female members were sometimes equivocal, however, and after the Restoration of 1660 the Quakers, became increasingly unwilling to publicly defend women when they adopted tactics such as disrupting services. Women's meetings were organized as a means to involve women in more modest, feminine pursuits. Some Quaker men sought to exclude them from church public concerns with which they had some powers and responsibilities, such as allocating poor relief and in ensuring that Quaker marriages could not be attacked as immoral. In spite of legal persecution the Quakers continued to meet openly, even in the dangerous year of 1683. Heavy fines were exacted and, as in earlier years, women were treated as severely as men by the authorities.[7]

During the eighteenth century, the Society of Friends became a more closed group, less active in converting others. The numbers of Friends dwindled, for example in England and Wales dropping to 19 800 in 1800[3] (0.21% of population[3]) and 13 859 in 1860[3] (0.07% of population[3]). This period of Quaker history is known as Quietism. Marrying outside of the Society became outlawed. Dynasties of Quakers grew up who were successful in business including banking and manufacturing (particularly chocolate). Some Quakers in America became well known for their involvement in the abolition of slavery. The formal name "Religious Society of Friends", dates from the 18th century and is still in use. The term Religious Society of Friends, harks back to the "Friends of the Truth".

Divisions of the Religious Society of Friends



Conservative Friends



Friends United Meeting


Evangelical Friends International


Friends General Conference

Friends General Conference

Showing the divisions of Quakers occurring in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

In the nineteenth century, the Religious Society of Friends started its series of large splits which still dominates Quakerism internationally today. The Great Separation of 1827 in several American Yearly Meetings was precipitated by a division which occurred within Philadelphia Yearly Meeting when its members could not agree on who was to be clerk. The background issue involved the visits and preaching of Elias Hicks, whose views were claimed to be Universalist and contradicted the historical tradition of Friends. In the same and following year, a number of Friends from Philadelphia, New York, Ohio, Indiana, and Baltimore Yearly Meetings in sympathy with him separated to form a parallel system of yearly meetings in America. They were referred to by their opponents as Hicksites, and the others as Orthodox; neither side embraced its nickname, preferring to style themselves simply Friends.

Isaac Crewdson. a Recorded Minister in Manchester, UK published A Beacon to the Society of Friends in 1835. This led to doctrinal controversy which led in 1836–1837 to the resignation of Isaac Crewdson, 48 fellow members of Manchester Meeting and about 250 other British Quakers, a number of whom joined the Plymouth Brethren, including John Eliot Howard and Robert Mackenzie Beverley.

The orthodox Friends (who made up the vast majority of Quakers on both sides of the Atlantic), together with Anglicans and Methodists, became progressively more evangelical during the nineteenth century[8], led by the British Quaker, Joseph John Gurney, of London Yearly Meeting. Friends enthusiastically held Revival meetings and becoming involved in the Holiness movement, influenced in part by the Second Great Awakening which was sweeping America at the time.

Joseph John Gurney was a prominent nineteenth century British Friend, and a strong proponent of evangelical views

Some Quakers in America disliked this move and wanted to retain their Quietist ways - these yearly meetings led by John Wilbur, an American Friend who worked to prevent what he saw as the dilution of the Friends' tradition of being led by the Holy Spirit. Wilbur was expelled from his yearly meeting in 1842, and he and his supporters went on to form their own separate Yearly Meeting. In the UK, in 1868, some Friends split off from London Yearly Meeting, as they felt this organization was becoming too evangelical and abandoning traditional Quaker ways, forming the separate Fritchley General Meeting which remained separated from London Yearly Meeting until 1968. Similar splits also took place in Canada. The remainder of London Yearly Meeting and the remaining American yearly meetings were called Gurneyite yearly meetings, after Joseph John Gurney, and eventually collectively became called Five Years Meeting and then Friends United Meeting.

In 1887, a British Quaker, Joseph Bevan Braithwaite proposed a declaration of faith known as the Richmond Declaration. This was agreed by 95 representatives at a meeting of Five Years Meeting] but unexpectedly the declaration was not adopted by London Yearly Meeting, because a vocal minority of Friends, including Edward Grubb opposed it.[9]

In the early days, Friends had no ordained priests and thus needed no seminaries for theological training. The first major Quaker colleges were all founded much later - in America they founded Haverford College (1833), Guilford College (1837), Earlham College (1844), Swarthmore College (1864), Wilmington College (Ohio) (1870), Bryn Mawr College (1885), Friends Pacific Academy (now George Fox University) (1885), Friends University (1898);[10] in Britain, Woodbrooke College in 1903; and in Kenya, Friends Bible Institute (now Friends Theological College in Kaimosi, Kenya in 1942.

Missionary activity started in the late nineteenth century, for example with the Friends Foreign Mission Society from Britain sending missionaries to India forming what is now Mid-India Yearly Meeting, and Friends Churches from Ohio Yearly Meeting sent missionaries to India in 1896[11] forming what is now Bundelkhand Yearly Meeting. Friends from Cleveland meeting went to Mombasa, Kenya, starting what has been Friends most successful mission field. Quakerism spread within Kenya and to Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.

In the very late nineteenth and early twentieth century there began to be a move within London Yearly Meeting away from evangelicalism and towards liberal Christianity (such as starting to explore the theory of evolution, modern biblical criticism, and the social meaning of Jesus's teaching), following the Manchester Conference of 1895 where 1000 British Friends met to consider the future of British Quakerism, heavily influenced by John Wilhelm Rowntree.[12]

The first world war and second world war called Friends' opposition to war to test in the twentieth century. Many Quakers were conscientious objectors and some formed the Friends Ambulance Unit and American Friends Service Committee. These brought together Friends from different Yearly Meetings to work together for service. Following this Friends from across the theological splits worked together with several World Conferences, and the subsequent creation of the Friends World Committee for Consultation which brought together Friends from different Yearly Meetings.

After World War I, growing desire for a more fundamentalist approach among some Friends began to split Five Years Meeting. In 1926, Oregon Yearly Meeting seceded from Five Years Meeting, bringing several other yearly meetings and scattered monthly meetings. In 1947, the Association of Evangelical Friends was formed, with triennial meetings which lasted until 1970. In 1965 this was replaced by the Evangelical Friends Association, which since 1989 has been Evangelical Friends Church International.[13]

Branches of Quakerism

Conservative / "Wilburite"

Conservative Friends share the beliefs of early Friends, stressing their trust in the immediate guidance of the inward Christ,[14] with authority with the Holy Spirit rather than the Bible. Prior to the mid-eighteenth century, all Quakers were what would now be described as Conservative, but splits and developments in the nineteenth and twentieth century have resulted in the majority of Friends moving away from this branch.

Today, Conservative Friends exist in the US as the conservative yearly meetings of Ohio, Iowa, and North Carolina; Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative) is generally considered the most traditional in this regard, retaining more rural Quakers who use the plain language and continue wearing plain dress more than the other two.[15] There are also groups of Conservative Friends in the UK (Ripley Quaker Meeting) and Greece (Athens Meeting), and Canada.


The largest proportion of Friends worldwide are in the evangelical group of yearly meetings (mainly in the US, Asia and Central America which are affiliated with Evangelical Friends Church International). They regard Christ as their Lord and savior,[14] and have similar theological views to other evangelical churches.


The Orthodox Friends in America were exercised by a transatlantic dispute between Joseph John Gurney of England and John Wilbur of Rhode Island. Gurney emphasized scriptural authority and favored working closely with other Christian groups. Gurneyite Friends today (especially those in parts of the US and Africa affiliated to Friends United Meeting) regard Christ as their teacher and Lord.[14] Over the next several decades, a number of Wilburite-Gurneyite separations occurred. Gurneyite Friends today often have a pastor and combine traditional Quaker "waiting worship" (unprogrammed worship) with practices common to Protestant services, such as scripture reading, hymns and choirs. A minority continue to practice entirely unprogrammed worship.

Liberal / "Hicksite"

Today, there are a number of liberal Yearly Meetings - these have inherited from the tradition of the nineteenth century Hicksite yearly meetings in the USA (Elias Hicks argued that it was possible to be led in ways contrary to the Bible). Today, the Hicksite yearly meetings are affiliated to Friends General Conference. There are also other yearly meetings which are also sometimes termed liberal, having formerly had more orthodox views, such as the Beanite yearly meetings (e.g., Pacific Yearly Meeting, North Pacific Yearly Meeting) on the western side of the USA, and and some yearly meetings in Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India,—have all become progressively more liberal in belief and practice during the twentieth century.

There is often a very wide range of theological beliefs in these liberal Quaker yearly meetings, which often share a similar mix of theological ideas as other liberal Christian denominations. Similar to Conservative Friends, there is often a strong emphasis on listening to the inward Christ, inward light or inner light, although there is not always a shared understanding of what these terms mean. Common ideas among members of liberal yearly meetings include stating a belief of "that of God in everyone", and stating belief in truth/integrity, peace, equality and simplicity.[16] However, again, what individual Friends mean by these phrases often varies quite dramatically. Amongst liberal Quakers one will find liberal Christians, universalist Christians, non-theists, agnostics, and atheists. The proportions of people with different views is not known, and is difficult to define as different people define the same beliefs with different labels, and is likely to vary within different yearly meetings and who one were to ask. In Britain Yearly Meeting (which has become more liberal during the twentieth century), around 30% of Quakers have views which might be described as non-theistic, agnostic or atheist[17][18].

Systematic theology

Quakerism has always had doctrines, some of which have been codified declarations of faith, confessions or theological texts - for example Letter to the Governor of Barbados (George Fox, 1671)[19], An Apology for the True Christian Divinity (Robert Barclay, 1678)[20], A Catechism and Confession of Faith (Robert Barclay, 1690)[21], The Testimony of the Society of Friends on the Continent of America (adopted jointly by all orthodox yearly meetings in USA, 1830)[22]. As a public statement of faith today, many Yearly Meetings publish their own Book of Discipline - often called Faith and Practice - that expresses their senses of truth and purpose.

The theological beliefs of different Yearly Meetings vary considerably, ranging from evangelical Christianity to universalist and new thought beliefs. In addition, there is wide variation in a meetings' acceptance of dissent expressed by individuals and local constituencies. While the predominant theological beliefs of different Yearly Meetings do not tally exactly with the style of service,[16] there is often some correspondence, with Yearly Meetings that employ programmed worship tending to have more evangelical theologies, and those with unprogrammed worship tending to have more conservative or liberal theologies.

Most Friends believe in continuing revelation, which is the idea that truth is continuously revealed directly to individuals from God without a need for any intermediary, objective logic or systematic theology. For this reason, many Quakers reject the idea of priests, believing in the priesthood of all believers. Some Friends express this idea of God revealing truth to them directly using the phrase Inner Light, or Inward Light of Christ, whilst others talk of the Holy Spirit or use other phrases. George Fox, an early Friend described it as "Christ has come to teach His people Himself."[4] Friends often focus on trying to hear God. As Isaac Penington wrote in 1670, "It is not enough to hear of Christ, or read of Christ, but this is the thing — to feel him my root, my life, my foundation..."[23]

Conservative Friends worshipping in London in 1809. Friends are dressed in traditional plain dress. At the front of the meeting house, the recorded ministers sit on a raised ministers' gallery facing the rest of the meeting, with the elders sitting on the bench in front of them, also facing the meeting. Men and women are segregated, but both are able to minister.


Conservative Friends completely reject all forms of religious symbolism and outward sacraments, such as water baptism or the Eucharist. Conservative Friends do not believe in the reliance upon practice of the outward rites and sacraments, believing that holiness can exist in all the activities of one's life — that all of life is sacred. Many Friends believe that any meal with others could be a form of communion. Like conservative Friends, liberal Friends also reject forms of religious symbolism and sacraments, such as water baptism and the Eucharist. While Friends may recognize the potential of these outward forms for awakening experiences of the Inner Light, they are not an incorporated part of Friends worship, and are by no means regarded as necessary to authentic spirituality.

Beginning in the 1880s, some Friends began using outward sacraments, first in Evangelical Friends Church - Eastern Region (then known as Ohio Yearly Meeting [Damascus]). Friends Church Southwest approved the practice of outward sacraments. In places where Evangelical Friends have done mission work, including in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, baptism with water is carried out. This practice differs from Friends in liberal and conservative Yearly meetings.


Conservative Friends have continued early Friends' rejection of the mainstream Protestant idea of sola scriptura, that the Bible is self-authenticating, clear and its own interpreter; instead, they believed that Christ, instead of the Bible, is the Word of God. Robert Barclay wrote in his Apology that the scriptures "are only a declaration of the fountain, and not the fountain itself, therefore they are not to be esteemed the principal ground of all Truth and knowledge, nor yet the adequate primary rule of faith and manners".[24] Similarly, George Fox recounted an incident in his Journal in which when a minister claimed that the Scriptures were authoritative, Fox "...was commanded to tell them God did not dwell in temples made with hands. But I told them what it was, namely, the Holy Spirit, by which the holy men of God gave forth the scriptures, whereby opinions, religions and judgments were to be tried; for it led into all Truth, and so gave the knowledge of all Truth".[4] Like early Friends, conservative Friends believe that Christ would not lead them in ways that contradicted the Bible.

Gurneyite Yearly Meetings put more emphasis on the authority of the Bible over the direct experience of God, often seeing the Bible as the direct word of God. Both children and adults participate in ongoing religious education emphasising Bible and its relationship to Quaker testimonies and Quaker history. Evangelical Friends regard the Bible as the literal and self-authenticating word of God.

Within liberal Friends meetings one will encounter various approaches to the Bible. The Bible remains central to many liberal Friends' worship, and almost all meetings for worship in liberal Yearly Meetings will have a copy or copies of the Bible available in the meeting house (often on a table in the centre of the room) which Friends may read privately or publicly during worship. However, unlike evangelical or Gurneyite Friends, many liberal Friends have decided that if they feel led by God in a way which is contrary to the Bible, that Scripture should give way. Many Friends are also influenced by liberal Christian theologians and modern Biblical criticism, often holding non-propositional Biblical hermeneutics (eg believing that the Bible is an anthology of human authors' beliefs and feelings about God at the time of its writing) and that multiple different interpretations of scripture are possible.


Conservative Friends reject any formal written creed. Statements of faith made by early Friends include the Catechism and Confession of Faith by Robert Barclay, and George Fox's Letter to the Governor of Barbados. Due in part to the emphasis on reliance on the immediate guidance of the Spirit, diverse statements of "faith and practice" and diverse understandings of the "leading of the Spirit" have always existed among Friends. Liberal Friends believe a corporate confession of faith would be an obstacle — both to authentic listening and to the recognition of new insight. As a non-creedal form of Christianity, Quakerism is especially receptive to a wide range of faith understandings. Most liberal Yearly Meetings publish a Faith and Practice book with a range of experiences of what it means to be a Friend in that Yearly Meeting.

Orthodox Friends have enumerated and subscribed to a set of doctrines, such as the Richmond Declaration. While there has been conflict over the role of the Richmond Declaration in subsequent years, it was "adopted," "accepted" or "approved" by nearly all of the Gurneyite yearly meetings at the time. The Five Years Meeting of Friends reaffirmed the Richmond Declaration in 1912 but specifically stated that it was not to constitute a creed. The "Beliefs of Friends" statement by Evangelical Friends International, is comparable to other evangelical churches' confessions of faith.

A common set of practices emerged which spoke of key principles and beliefs held by Friends. These are "testimonies", for Friends believe these principles and practices testify to the truth of God among Friends as well as others, in deed. (See Testimonies for a list and description of several testimonies.) Rooted in the immediate experience of the community of Friends, for many Friends these values are verified by the Bible, especially in the life and teachings of Jesus.

Ecumenical relations

All Quakers prior to the 20th century considered the Religious Society of Friends to be a Christian movement, but did not feel their faith fit within categories of Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant.[25] Many conservative Friends, whilst fully seeing themselves as a Christian group, choose to remain separate from other Christian groups.

Many Friends in the liberal Friends' meetings are actively involved in the ecumenical movement, often particularly working closely with other Mainline Protestant and liberal Christian churches with whom they share common ground, particularly a concern for peace and social justice, and often work together with other churches and Christian groups on social justice projects and campaigns. Some liberal Yearly Meetings are members of ecumenical pan-Christian organizations which include Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican churches - for example Philadelphia Yearly Meeting is a member of the National Council of Churches,[26] Britain Yearly Meeting is a member of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, and Friends General Conference is a member of the World Council of Churches.[27] All Guerneyite Friends would see themselves as part of a Christian movement, and work closely with other Christian groups. Friends United Meeting (the international organization of Gurneyite Yearly Meetings) is a member of the National Council of Churches [26] and the World Council of Churches,[27] which are pan-Christian organizations which include Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican churches. Evangelical Friends work closely with other evangelical churches from other Christian traditions. The North American branch of Evangelical Friends Church International is a member church of the National Association of Evangelicals. Like other evangelical churches, evangelical Friends tend to be less involved with ecumenical work with non-evangelical churches, and are not members of the World Council of Churches or National Council of Churches.

The majority of other Christian groups are happy to recognize Friends amongst their fellow-Christians.[28] The Bible Theology Ministries (a small charismatic church in Swansea) does not recognise Quakers as Christian,[29] but then they also do not recognise Roman Catholics as Christian,[30] regarding both Quakers and Roman Catholics as 'cults'. Some people who attend Friends meetings assume that Quakers are not Christian because they may not hear anyone using overtly Christian language during the meeting for worship.[31]

There are Friends in some liberal unprogrammed Meetings who no longer feel happy to call themselves Christian and instead consider themselves unitarian, agnostic, atheist, secular humanist, postchristian, or nontheist.[32] In 1870, Richard Price Hallowell argued that the logical extension of Quakerism is to establish a universal Church, which demands a religion which embraces Jew, Pagan and Christian, and which cannot be limited by the dogmas of one or the other,[33] and there are now a few Friends in liberal meetings who actively identify as members of a faith other than Christianity, such as Judaism, Islam,[34] Buddhism [35] or Paganism, although this is controversial, even in liberal Yearly Meetings.

Practical theology

Quakers try to bear witness or testify to their beliefs in their every day life — an expression of "spirituality in action",[36] drawing on James' advice that faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.[37]

They may do this in many ways, according to how they are led by God, however there are some shared ways in which many Quakers relate to God and the world. These ways of acting often mirror common Christian ethical codes, e.g. the Sermon on the Mount or the Sermon on the Plain, however Friends would argue that they feel personally moved by God or Christ to act in these ways rather than simply following an ethical code.

Some theologians have attempted to classify the ways in which Friends commonly testify to their faith into categories of common ways in which Friends behave - these are known by some as testimonies. As these are not centrally drawn up in any way but are simply individuals' descriptions of the way in which many Friends are currently led to act, lists of testimonies are continuously evolving, and vary between different theologians and traditions.[38] In his book Quaker Speak, the British Friend Alastair Heron lists the following ways in which Friends do, or have, witness(ed) or testify/testified to God:[39]

Testimony which opposes:

Testimony which promotes:

In the USA, children and Friends school students are often taught the acronym SPICES, which stands for Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Stewardship. In the UK, the acronym STEP or PEST is used, for Peace, Equality, Simplicity and Truth. These are known by some as testimonies. As these are not centrally drawn up in any way but are simply individuals' descriptions of the way in which many Friends are currently led to act, lists of testimonies are continuously evolving, and vary between different theologians and traditions.[38] In his book Quaker Speak, the British Friend Alastair Heron lists the following ways in which Friends do, or have, witness(ed) or testify/testified to God:[40]

Several groups of Quaker meeting houses in the US, particularly Delaware and Pennsylvania, have extended the testimony opposing hat honor to include an opposition to modern-day honorifics bestowed to corporate officer titles, corporate hierarchies, and publicizing salary history for employees.

Calendar and church holy days

The "plain calendar," sometimes called the "scriptural calendar," differs from what Friends referred to as the "world's calendar" in that it uses numbers to denominate the names of the months and days of the week. The plain calendar does not use names of calendar units derived from the traditional names due to their derivation from pagan deities. Instead, it uses ancient terminology as found in the bible where the days of the week were numbered; for example, Jesus' followers went to the tomb early on the First Day of the week. From this, the plain calendar week begins with First Day (Sunday) and ends on Seventh Day (Saturday). Similarly the calendar's months run concurrently with the traditional months albeit named First Month, Second Month, etc. The calendar emerged in the 17th century in England in the general non-conformist movement but became closely identified with Friends by the end of the 1650s and was commonly employed into the 20th century. However, most Friends today regard its continued usage as somewhat pedantic and it is rarely encountered, except in certain parts of the Society. The term "First Day School" is still in quite common among Quakers, for what is called by most churches "Sunday School".

Friends have also eschewed the traditional church calendar of holy days, not observing religious festivals such as Christmas, Lent, or Easter at particular times of the year, but instead believing that Christ's birth, crucifixion and resurrection should be commemorated every day of the year. For example, many Quakers feel that fasting at Lent but then eating in excess at other times of the year is hypocrisy, and therefore many Quakers, rather than observing Lent, live a simple lifestyle all the year round (see Testimony of Simplicity). These beliefs tie in with Quakers' beliefs on sacraments and the belief that all of life is sacred.

Similarly, Friends traditionally are non-Sabbatarians, holding that "every day is the Lord's day", and that what should be done on a First Day should be done every day of the week. Meeting for Worship is often held on a First Day, however this is more because of convenience rather than because it is believed that Sunday is Sabbath (or the appointed day), and many Friends hold Meeting for Worship on other days of the week.

These beliefs are often referred to as the testimony against time and season.


Quakerism differs from other mystical religions in at least two important ways. For one, Quaker mysticism is primarily group-oriented rather than focused on the individual. The Friends' traditional meeting for worship may be considered an expression of that group mysticism, where all the members of the meeting listen together for the Spirit of God, speaking when that Spirit moves them.

Additionally, Quaker mysticism as it has been expressed after the late 19th century includes a strong emphasis on its outwardly directed witness. Rather than seeking withdrawal from the world, the Quaker mystic translates his or her mysticism into action. They believe this action leads to greater spiritual understanding — both by individuals and by the Meeting as a whole. This view of mysticism includes social and political activities.


Friends Meeting House, Manchester, England

Most groups of Quakers meet for regular worship. There are two main types of worship worldwide:

  • Unprogrammed worship - This, constituting about 11%[citation needed] of Quakers worldwide, is based in silence. It is practiced in yearly meetings in Europe, Asia, southern Africa, Oceania and parts of the US. It is usually held with others, and those who feel "moved to speak by God" can minister for as long as they feel is right. There is usually space to reflect between spoken contributions, and the meetings normally last for one hour. There is no (human) leader in such a service, Quakers who worship in this tradition often believing that each person is equal before God and is capable of knowing "the light" directly. The event where this happens is usually called meeting for worship
  • Programmed worship - this makes up around 89% of Friends worldwide. The event is sometimes called a meeting for worship or sometimes called a Friends Church service. In many yearly meetings in Africa, Asia and parts of the US, worship is programmed. Here there is often a prepared message, which may be delivered by an individual with theological training. There may be hymns, a sermon, Bible readings and prayers, and a period of silent worship. There is often a paid pastor responsible for pastoral care of the members of the local church. This style of worship is particularly common with meetings affiliated to Friends United Meeting (who make up around 50% of Friends worldwide) and Evangelical Friends International, who make up around 30% of Friends worldwide.[16]

While the different styles of worship are often associated with the theological splits, with conservative (Wilburite) and liberal (Hicksite) Friends generally worshiping in unprogrammed meetings, and Gurneyite and evangelical Friends worshiping in programmed Friends church services, this is not a strict rule. Many meetings hold both programmed and unprogrammed services or other activities.

Unprogrammed worship

The interior of an old meeting house in the United States

Unprogrammed worship is the more traditional style of worship among Friends and remains the norm in Britain, Ireland, continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and parts of the United States (particularly Yearly Meetings associated with Friends General Conference). During an unprogrammed meeting for worship, Friends gather together in "expectant waiting" for God's leading. Sometimes a meeting is entirely silent, sometimes quite a few people speak. Meeting for Worship generally lasts about an hour.

When they feel they are led by the spirit of God a participant will rise and share a message (give "vocal ministry") with those gathered. Typically, messages, testimonies, ministry, or other speech are not prepared as a "speech". Speakers are expected to discern the source of their inspiration — whether divine or self. After someone has spoken, it is expected that more than a few moments will pass in silence before further Ministry; there should be no spirit of debate.

Unprogrammed worship is generally deemed to start as soon as the first participant is seated, the others entering the room in silence. The Meeting for Worship ends when one person (usually predetermined) shakes the hand of another person present. All the members of the assembly then shake hands with their neighbors, after which one member usually rises and extends greetings and makes announcements.

Meetings for worship for specific tasks


Within the unprogrammed tradition, Friends do not practice water baptism, Christening ceremony or other ceremony for the birth of a child. The child is welcomed into the meeting by everyone present at their first attendance. Formerly, it was the practice that children born to Quaker parents automatically became members of the Religious Society of Friends (sometimes called Birthright membership), but this is no longer the case in most areas, and most parents now leave it up to the child to decide whether to become a member when they are an older child or adult.


A meeting for worship for the solemnisation of marriage in an unprogrammed Friends meeting is similar to any other unprogrammed Meeting for Worship.[41] The meeting for worship is conducted exactly as a normal meeting for worship, and the pair marry one another before God and gathered witnesses. After exchanging vows, the meeting returns to open worship and guests are free to speak as they are led. At the rise of meeting all the witnesses, who comprise everyone present at the meeting including the youngest children, are asked to sign the wedding certificate as a record of the event. In Britain, Quakers have their own registrars who keep a separate record of the union and notify the General Register Office.

In the early days of the United States, there was doubt whether a marriage solemnized in such a manner was entitled to legal recognition, so that over the years each state set its own rules for the procedure. Most US states (Pennsylvania being the prominent exception) expect that the marriage document filed with local authorities will be signed by a single officiant (a priest, rabbi, minister, Justice of the Peace, etc.). Quakers routinely modify the document to allow several Friends to sign as the officiant. Often these are the members of a committee of oversight of the marriage ceremony, 3 or 4 individuals that have helped the couple plan their marriage. Usually a separate document containing their vows and the signatures of all present is kept by the couple, and often displayed prominently in their home.

In many Friends meetings, the couple will also have met with a "clearness committee" prior to getting married. This committee's purpose is to discuss with the couple the many aspects of being married and being a couple. If the couple seems clear in their commitment to marry, then the couple will be recommended to the meeting for marriage and the marriage will take place. "Clearness committees" are used in other contexts as well, where individuals or groups need to obtain guidance on a particular action to be taken.

In recent years, Friends within the liberal, unprogrammed meetings in Australia, Britain and some meetings in North America have celebrated weddings or civil unions between partners of the same sex. Britain Yearly Meeting decided in 2009 to recognise marriages between same-sex couples, making them the first mainstream religious body in the UK to do so. As true same-sex marriage (as distinct from civil partnership) is not recognized in law or by civil authorities in the United Kingdom these marriages will not be recognized in civil courts. However, they stated that the law does not preclude Friends from "playing a central role in the celebration and recording" of marriage between same-sex couples, and asked the government to change the law so that marriage between same-sex couples would be recognized in the same way as opposite-sex marriages.[42] In parts of the United States where same-sex marriages are not legal, some meetings follow the practice of early Quakers in overseeing the union without reference to the state at all. Many Friends meetings in the US have celebrated "union" ceremonies for same-sex couples; sometimes other Friends meetings geographically nearby have quite different views on the topic. Many Friends in the US are also involved in the movement to allow same-sex marriage legally.

Memorial services

Traditional Quaker memorial services are also held as a form of worship and are known as memorial meetings. Friends gather for worship and offer remembrances about the person who has died. In some traditions, the coffin or ashes of the deceased are not present, and these memorial meetings are often held many weeks after the death, which can enable wider attendance and can also allow spiritual reflection and celebration of life, rather than emotional grief, to dominate. However in some traditions memorial meetings take place immediately after death and may occur prior to burial or cremation with the coffin present in the meeting for worship. Memorial meetings can last over an hour, particularly if there are a large number of people in attendance. Memorial services give everyone a chance to remember the lost individual in his own way, thus bringing comfort to those present, and re-affirmation of the larger community of Friends.

Decision making
Quaker Business Meeting in York

Business decisions on a local level within unprogrammed meetings are conducted at a monthly meeting for worship which may be variously called a "Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business", "meeting for worship for church affairs" or simply "Business Meeting". A business meeting is a form of worship, and conducted in the manner of meeting for worship, all decisions are reached so that they are consistent with the guidance of the Spirit.[43]

Instead of voting, the Meeting attempts to gain a sense of God's will for the community. Each member of the meeting is expected to listen to that of God within themselves and, if led, to contribute it to the group for reflection and consideration. This ministry is, unlike in meeting for worship, regulated. A friend will stand if they feel moved to speak but must wait to be called upon by the Clerk of the meeting before speaking. Each member listens to others' contributions carefully, in an attitude of seeking Truth rather than of attempting to prevail or to debate. Direct replies to someone's contribution are not permitted and all contributions must be addressed to the clerk or the meeting as a whole.

A decision is reached when the Meeting, as a whole, feels that the "way forward" has been discerned (also called "coming to unity") or there is a consensus. On some occasions a single Friend will hold up a decision because they feel the meeting is not following God's will; occasionally, some members of the Meeting will "stand aside" on an issue, meaning that these members do not share in the general sense of the meeting but are willing to allow the group to move forward.

Many Quakers describe the search for unity as the gathering of believers who "wait upon the Lord" to discover God's will. When seeking unity, Friends are not attempting to seek a position with which everyone is willing to live (as is often the case in consensual models) but in determining God's will. It is assumed that if everyone is listening to God's Spirit, the way forward will become clear.

The business conducted "in the manner of Friends" can seem time-consuming and impractical. The process can be frustrating and slow, but Friends believe it works well, allowing the group to come to decisions even around the most difficult matters. By the time a decision is recognized, the important issues have been worked out and the group supports the decision; there is no "losing" side.

Many non-Friends express doubts as to whether this process of decision making can work in a large group, although many yearly meetings have successfully employed this practice for generations.

Programmed worship

Programmed worship resembles a typical Protestant worship service in the United States. This tradition arose among Friends in the United States in the 19th century in response to large numbers of converts to Quakerism during the national spiritual revivalism of the time. Typically there are readings from scripture, hymns, and a sermon from the pastor. A period of silence (similar in practice to that of unprogrammed meetings, though generally shorter) is included in some Programmed Friends worship services. Most Friends in the southern and central United States worship in this way.

The Friends meetings started in Africa and Latin America were generally started by Friends from programmed elements of the society, therefore most African and Latin American Friends worship in a programmed style.

Some Friends also hold what is termed Semi-Programmed Worship, which brings programmed elements like hymns and readings into an otherwise unprogrammed worship service.

National and international divisions and organization

Like many movements, the Religious Society of Friends has evolved, changed, and split into various smaller subgroups.

Since its beginnings in the United Kingdom, Quakerism has spread to other countries, chiefly Australia, Bolivia, Burundi, Costa Rica, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Uganda, and the United States. Although the total number of Quakers is relatively small, around 360,000 worldwide,[44] there are places, such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;Kaimosi, Kenya; Newberg, Oregon; Greenleaf, Idaho; Whittier, California; Richmond, Indiana; Friendswood, Texas; Birmingham, UK; Ramallah, Palestine and Greensboro, North Carolina in which Quaker influence is concentrated.

Unlike many other groups that emerged within Christianity, the Religious Society of Friends has tended away from creeds, and away from hierarchical structure.[45]

The various branches have widely divergent beliefs and practices, but the central concept to most Friends is the "Inner Light" or "Light of Christ within". Accordingly, individual Quakers may develop individual religious beliefs arising from their personal conscience and revelation coming from "God within"; Quakers feel compelled to live by such individual religious beliefs and inner revelations. Throughout their history, Quakers have also founded other charities or organizations for many causes they felt are in keeping with their faith. Within the last century there have been some 100 organizations founded by either individual Friends, groups of Friends or Friends working with or amongst others: Amnesty International, Greenpeace, OXFAM, Peace Action, WILPF. (SEE List of Quaker Businesses)

A worldwide list of yearly meetings is at http://www.fwccworld.org/find_friends/index.php. Many (mostly US) meetings are listed at http://www.quaker.org/meetings.html. A geographic locator of local meetings and smaller worship groups in North America is at http://quakerfinder.org/.

International organization

Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) is the international Quaker organization which loosely unifies the diverse groups of Friends; FWCC brings together the largest variety of Friends in the world.

There are various organizations associated with Friends including a U.S. lobbying organization based in Washington, D.C. called the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL); several service organizations like the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the Quaker United Nations Offices, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, Friends Committee on Scouting, the Quaker Peace Centre in Cape Town, South Africa and the Alternatives to Violence Project.

Friends World Committee for Consultation is divided into four Sections to represent different regions of the world: Africa, Asia West Pacific, Europe and Middle East, and Americas.


The highest concentration of Quakers is in Africa.[46] The Friends of East Africa were at one time part of a single East Africa Yearly Meeting, then the largest Yearly Meeting in the world. Today, this region is served by several distinct Yearly Meetings. Most of these are affiliated with the Friends United Meeting, practice programmed worship, and employ pastors. There are also Friends meetings in Rwanda and Burundi, as well as new work beginning in North Africa. Small unprogrammed meetings exist also in Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Australia and New Zealand

Friends in Australia and New Zealand are based around the unprogrammed tradition, similar to Britain Yearly Meeting

Considerable distances between the colonies, and a low immigration of Quakers, meant that the organization of Friends in Australia was quite dependent on London until the 20th century. The Society has remained unprogrammed and is constituted as the Australia Yearly Meeting, with local organization around seven Regional Meetings: Canberra (which extends into southern New South Wales), New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia (which extends into Northern Territory), Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.[47] There is an annual meeting each January hosted by a different Regional Meeting over a seven year cycle, with a Standing Committee each July or August. The 2006 Australian Census recorded 1984 Quakers in Australia, which was an increase of 11% since the 2001 Census.[48]

Meetings for worship in New Zealand started in Nelson in 1842, and in Auckland in 1885.


There are Quaker meetings in India, Hong Kong, Korea, Philippines, Japan and Nepal.

India has four Yearly Meetings - the unprogrammed Mid-India Yearly Meeting, programmed Bhopal Yearly Meeting and Mahoba Yearly Meeting. Bundelkhand Yearly Meeting is an evangelical Friends Church affiliated to Evangelical Friends International. There are also a number of separate programmed and unprogrammed worship groups not affiliated to any yearly meeting.

There are also evangelical Friends Churches in the Philippines and Nepal, affiliated to Evangelical Friends International.


In the United Kingdom, Quakers follow unprogrammed worship and are part of Britain Yearly Meeting, where there are 25,000 worshippers[49] in around 500 Local Meetings.

These meetings used to be called Preparative Meetings, and the groups they formed were previously known as Monthly Meetings: now they are Area Meetings. This change, made in Britain Yearly Meeting 2007, was intended to simplify Quaker jargon. The structure extends into several Area Meetings becoming a General Meeting — formerly Quarterly Meeting — Some General Meetings now call themselves Regional Gatherings (e.g. Bristol & Wessex Regional Gathering, was Bristol & Somerset GM) which each continue to meet up to three times per year, but now play no direct role in church government. Instead, Area Meetings are represented directly in Meeting for Sufferings, which meets in between Yearly meetings.[41]

There is also small groups of Conservative Friends meeting in Ripley and Greenwich in England, and Arbroath in Scotland,[50] and Athens in Greece, who follow Ohio Yearly Meeting's Book of Discipline.[51]

The first French Quaker community was founded in Congénies, in the south of France in 1788.

Friends meetings also exist in the Netherlands, Russia,Switzerland(www.swiss-quakers.ch) and Germany. Some of these meetings are small and do not meet weekly.

North America

Quakers can be found throughout the provinces of Canada, with some of the largest concentrations of Quakers in Southern Ontario[citation needed].

Friends Church, Pleasant Plain, Iowa.

Friends in the United States have diverse practices, though united by many common bonds. Along with the division of worship style (see "Quaker Worship" above) come several differences of theology, vocabulary and practice.

A local congregation in the unprogrammed tradition is called a meeting, or a monthly meeting (e.g., Smalltown Meeting or Smalltown Monthly Meeting). The reference to "monthly" is because the meeting meets monthly to conduct the business of the meeting. Most "monthly meetings" meet for worship at least once a week; some meetings have several worship meetings during the week. In programmed traditions, the local congregations are often referred to as "Friends Churches".

Several local monthly meetings are often part of a regional group called a quarterly meeting, which is usually part of an even larger group called a yearly meeting. Again, quarterly or yearly refers to the frequency of "meetings for worship with a concern for business."

Some yearly meetings belong to larger organizations to help maintain order and communication within the society, the three chief ones being Friends General Conference (FGC), Friends United Meeting (FUM), and Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI) (in all three groups, most member organizations, though not necessarily people are from the United States). FGC is theologically the most liberal of the three groups, while EFCI is the most evangelical. FUM is the largest. Friends United Meeting was originally known as "Five Years Meeting." Some monthly meetings belong to more than one of these larger organizations, while others are independent, not joining any.

Notes and references

  1. ^ Friends World Committee for Consultation (2007) 'Finding Quakers around the World http://www.fwccamericas.org/publications/images/fwcc_map_2007_sm.gif
  2. ^ Britain Yearly Meeting (2008). "19: Openings; paragraph 20". Quaker Faith and Practice (4th edition). http://qfp.quakerweb.org.uk/qfp19-20.html. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Wrigley, Edward Anthony; Schofield, Roger; Schofield, R.S. (1989). The population history of England, 1541-1871: a reconstruction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 93. ISBN 0521356881. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pV9SZS4WpjkC&dq. 
  4. ^ a b c George Fox (1694). George Fox: An Autobiography (George Fox's Journal). http://www.strecorsoc.org/gfox/title.html. 
  5. ^ Margery Post Abbott et al., Historical dictionary of the Friends (Quakers) (2003) p. xxxi
  6. ^ David Yount (2007). How the Quakers invented America. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 82. ISBN 0742558339. http://books.google.com/books?id=pk7ycUq3cxsC&pg=PA82&dq&hl=en#v=onepage&q=&f=false. 
  7. ^ a b Kay S. Taylor, "The Role of Quaker Women in the Seventeenth Century, and the Experiences of the Wiltshire Friends." Southern History 2001 23: 10-29. Issn: 0142-4688, not online
  8. ^ Bronner, Edwin B. (1990). "Moderates in London Yearly Meeting, 1857–1873: Precursors of Quaker Liberals". Church History 59: 356-371. doi:10.2307/3167744. 
  9. ^ Kennedy, Thomas C. (2001). British Quakerism 1860–1920: The Transformation of a Religious Community. New York: Oxford University Press. 
  10. ^ David Yount How the Quakers invented America (2007) pp. 83-84
  11. ^ Nixon, Eva Anna (1985). A Century of Planting: A history of the American Friends' mission in India. Newburg, OR, USA: Barclay Press. ISBN 0913342556. 
  12. ^ Blamires, David (1996). ") The context and character of the 1895 Manchester Conference". Friends Quarterly 30: 50. 
  13. ^ Northwest Yearly Meeting Historical Statement[dead link]
  14. ^ a b c "Quaker Finder". Friends General Conference. http://www.quakerfinder.org/. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  15. ^ anonymous. "A short history of Conservative Friends". http://www.snowcamp.org/shocf/. 
  16. ^ a b c http://www.quaker.org.uk/files/ymg-2009-epistles-and-testimonies.pdf Page 5; Introduction from Quaker World Relations Committee
  17. ^ Dandelion, Pink. A Sociological Analysis of the Theology of Quakers: The Silent Revolution, Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston NY,1996.
  18. ^ Heron, Alistair Caring Conviction Commitment: Dilemmas of Quaker membership today, Quaker Home Service, London 1992
  19. ^ Fox, George. "Letter to the Governor of Barbadoes". http://www.quakerinfo.com/barbados.shtml. 
  20. ^ Barclay, Robert (1678). An Apology for the True Christian Divinity. http://www.qhpress.org/texts/barclay/apology/. 
  21. ^ Barclay, Robert (1690). A Catechism and Confession of Faith. http://www.qhpress.org/texts/barclay/catechism/index.html. 
  22. ^ The Testimony of the Society of Friends on the Continent of America. New York: Richard and George S Wood. 1830. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=CtctAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  23. ^ "Isaac Penington to Thomas Walmsley (1670)". Quaker Heritage Press. http://www.qhpress.org/texts/penington/letter40.html. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  24. ^ Robert Barclay. "Barclay's Apology, proposition 3". Quaker Heritage Press. http://www.qhpress.org/texts/barclay/apology/prop3.html. 
  25. ^ "Quakers—The Religious Society of Friends.". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/subdivisions/quakers_1.shtml. 
  26. ^ a b "Members of the National Council of Churches". Ncccusa.org. http://www.ncccusa.org/members/index.html. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  27. ^ a b "Friends (Quakers)". Oikoumene.org. http://www.oikoumene.org/en/member-churches/church-families/friends-quakers.html. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  28. ^ "Quakers - the Religious Society of Friends". Bbc.co.uk. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/subdivisions/quakers_1.shtml. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  29. ^ "Quakers - Are They Christians?". Christiandoctrine.net. 2008-10-26. http://www.christiandoctrine.net/doctrine/outlines/outline_00027_quakers_are_they_christians_web.htm. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  30. ^ "Roman Catholicism". Christiandoctrine.net. 2008-10-26. http://www.christiandoctrine.net/about/beliefs_web.htm#21. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  31. ^ "If Quakers were more Christian". Guardian. 2008-07-16. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/mar/18/quaker-religion-jesus-christianity. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  32. ^ David Rush (2002) They Too Are Quakers: A Survey of 199 Nontheist Friends The Woodbrooke Journal, 11(Winter)
  33. ^ Richard Price Hollowell (1870). The Quakers in New England: An Essay. Merrihew & Son, Printers. p. 26. http://books.google.com/?id=6IOQcwb7xTYC. 
  34. ^ Brett Miller-White (2004) The Journeyman – The Making of a Muslim Quaker Quaker Theology, 10
  35. ^ Valerie Brown (2006) The Mindful Quaker
  36. ^ Testimonies Committee of Quaker Peace and Social Witness (2005). Living What We Believe: Quaker Testimonies: a way of living faithfully (leaflet). 
  37. ^ "James 2:17" (New International Version ed.). 
  38. ^ a b "Quaker Testimonies leaflet". Britain Yearly Meeting. http://www.quaker.org.uk/sites/default/files/Quaker%20Testimonies%20leaflet.pdf. 
  39. ^ Heron, Alastair (2008). Quaker Speak. http://www.s113871194.websitehome.co.uk/qsol/main.htm. 
  40. ^ {{cite book|last=Heron|first=A>Gee, Matthew (26 May 2011). The Friend 169 (21). ISSN 0016-1268. 
  41. ^ a b Britain Yearly Meeting (1999). Quaker faith & practice (3rd ed.). London: Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain. ISBN 085245306X. http://www.quaker.org.uk/qfp. 
  42. ^ Gledhill, Ruth (2009-08-01). "Quakers back gay marriage and call for reform". The Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6734687.ece. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  43. ^ "Guide to Quaker Business Meetings". Quakers in Scotland. http://www.quakerscotland.org/businessmeetings. 
  44. ^ "FWCC's map of quaker meetings and churches". Fwccworld.org. http://fwccworld.org/find_friends/map.shtml. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  45. ^ Chuck Fager. "The Trouble with 'Ministers'". http://www.quaker.org/quest/ministers-1.htm. 
  46. ^ 43 percent of Quakers worldwide are found in Africa, versus 30 percent in North America, 17 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean, 6 percent in Europe, and 4 percent in Asia/West Pacific. See Quaker Information Center.
  47. ^ http://www.quakers.org.au/ list of Australian Quaker Regional Meetings
  48. ^ www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/research/_pdf/poa-2008.pdf
  49. ^ http://www.quaker.org.uk/sites/default/files/Quakers-today-large-print.doc
  50. ^ "Ripley Christian Quakers". http://www.rcquakers.lomaxes.me.uk. 
  51. ^ "News and Events". Ripley Christian Quakers. http://www.rcquakers.lomaxes.me.uk/events/news.htm. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 

Further reading

  • Abbott, Margery; Chijioke, Mary Ellen; Dandelion, Pink; Oliver, John William, ed (Jun 2003). Historical Dictionary of The Friends (Quakers). Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0810844834. 
  • Bacon, Margaret Hope (Apr 2000). The Quiet Rebels: The Story of the Quakers in America. Pendle Hill Publications. p. 249. ISBN 978-0875749358. 
  • Bacon, Margaret Hope. "Quakers and Colonization," Quaker History, 95 (Spring 2006), 26–43.
  • Barbour, Hugh; Frost, J. William. The Quakers. (1988), 412pp; historical survey, including many capsule biographies online edition
  • Barbour, Hugh (Oct 1985). The Quakers in Puritan England. Friends United Press. p. 272. ISBN 978-0913408872. 
  • Benjamin, Philip. Philadelphia Quakers in an Age of Industrialism, 1870-1920 (1976),
  • Bill, J. Brent, Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality ISBN 1-55725-420-6
  • Boulton, David (ed.) 2006. Godless for God's Sake: Nontheism in Contemporary Quakerism. Dales Historical Monographs. ISBN 0-9511578-6-8
  • Birkel, Michael L., Silence and Witness: The Quaker Tradition ISBN 1-57075-518-3 (in the UK, ISBN 0-232-52448-3)
  • Braithwaite, William C. The Beginnings of Quakerism (1912); revised by Henry J. Cadbury (1955) online edition
  • Braithwaite, William C. Second Period of Quakerism (1919); revised by Henry Cadbury (1961), covers 1660 to 1720s in Britain
  • Brinton, Howard H., Friends for 350 Years ISBN 0-87574-903-8
  • Brock, Peter. Pioneers of the Peaceable Kingdom (1968), on Peace Testimony from the 1650s to 1900.
  • Bronner, Edwin B. William Penn's Holy Experiment (1962)
  • Burnet, G.B., Story of Quakerism in Scotland The Lutterworth Press 2007, Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-7188-9176-3
  • Connerley, Jennifer. "Friendly Americans: Representing Quakers in the United States, 1850-1920." PhD dissertation U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 2006. 277 pp. Citation: DAI 2006 67(2): 600-A. DA3207363 online at ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
  • Cooper, Wilmer A., A Living Faith: An Historical and Comparative Study of Quaker Beliefs. 2nd ed. ISBN 0-944350-53-4
  • Dandelion, Pink, The Quakers: A Very Short Introduction ISBN 978-0-19-920679-7
  • Davies, Adrian. The Quakers in English Society, 1655-1725. (2000). 261 pp.
  • Doherty, Robert. The Hicksite Separation (1967), uses the new social history to inquire who joined which side
  • Dunn, Mary Maples. William Penn: Politics and Conscience (1967)
  • Frost, J. William. The Quaker Family in Colonial America: A Portrait of the Society of Friends (1973), emphasis on social structure and family life
  • Frost, J. William. "The Origins of the Quaker Crusade against Slavery: A Review of Recent Literature," Quaker History 67 (1978): 42-58,
  • Gillman, Harvey, A Light that is Shining: Introduction to the Quakers ISBN 0-85245-213-6
  • Guiton, Gerard, The Growth and Development of Quaker Testimony' ISBN 0-7734-6002-0
  • Hamm, Thomas. The Quakers in America. (2003). 293 pp., strong analysis of current situation, with brief history
  • Hamm, Thomas. The Transformation of American Quakerism: Orthodox Friends, 1800-1907 (1988), looks at the impact of the Holiness movement on the Orthodox faction
  • Hamm, Thomas D. Earlham College: A History, 1847-1997. (1997). 448 pp.
  • Hubbard, Geoffrey, Quaker by Convincement ISBN 0-85245-189-X and ISBN 0-14-021663-4
  • Illick, Joseph E. Colonial Pennsylvania: A History. 1976. online edition
  • Ingle, H. Larry, First Among Friends: George Fox and the Creation of Quakerism ISBN 0-19-507803-9 and ISBN 0-19-510117-0
  • Ingle, H. Larry, Quakers in Conflict: The Hicksite Reformation ISBN 0-87574-926-7
  • James, Sydney. A People among Peoples: Quaker Benevolence in Eighteenth-Century America (1963), a broad ranging study that remains the best history in America before 1800
  • Jones, Rufus M., Amelia M. Gummere, and Isaac Sharpless. Quakers in the American Colonies (1911), history to 1775 online edition
  • Jones, Rufus M. Later Periods of Quakerism, 2 vols. (1921), covers England and America until World War I.
  • Jones, Rufus M. The Story of George Fox (1919) 169 pages online edition
  • Jones, Rufus M. A Service of Love in War Time: American Friends Relief Work in Europe, 1917-1919 (1922) online edition
  • Jordan, Ryan. "The Dilemma of Quaker Pacifism in a Slaveholding Republic, 1833-1865," Civil War History, Vol. 53, 2007 online edition
  • Jordan, Ryan. Slavery and the Meetinghouse: The Quakers and the Abolitionist Dilemma, 1820–1865. (2007) 191pp
  • Kennedy, Thomas C. British Quakerism, 1860-1920: The Transformation of a Religious Community. (2001). 477 pp.
  • Larson, Rebecca. Daughters of Light: Quaker Women Preaching and Prophesying in the Colonies and Abroad, 1700-1775. (1999). 399 pp.
  • LeShana, James David. "'Heavenly Plantations': Quakers in Colonial North Carolina." PhD dissertation: U. of California, Riverside 1998. 362 pp. DAI 2000 61(5): 2005-A. DA9974014 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
  • Minear, Mark., "Richmond, 1887: A Quaker Drama Unfolds" ISBN (0913408980) ISBN (9780913408988)
  • Moore, Rosemary, The Light in Their Consciences: The Early Quakers in Britain 1646-1666 (2000) 314pp ISBN 0-271-01989-1
  • Moretta, John A., William Penn and the Quaker Legacy ISBN 0-321-16392-3
  • Mullet, Michael, editor, New Light on George Fox ISBN 1-85072-142-4
  • Nash, Gary. Quakers and Politics: Pennsylvania, 1680-1726 (1968)
  • Punshon, John, Portrait in Grey : a short history of the Quakers (1994) ISBN 0-85245-180-6
  • Punshon, John. Portrait in Grey: A short history of the Quakers. (Quaker Home Service, 1984).
  • Rasmussen, Ane Marie Bak. A History of the Quaker Movement in Africa. (1994). 168 pp.
  • Russell, Elbert. The History of Quakerism (1942). online edition
  • Smuck, Harold. Friends in East Africa (Richmond, Indiana: 1987)
  • Steere, Douglas. 1967. On Being Present Where You Are. Wallingford, Pa: Pendle Hill Pamphlet No. 151.
  • Tolles, Frederick B. Meeting House and Counting House (1948), on Quaker businessmen in colonial Philadelphia
  • Tolles, Frederick B. Quakers and the Atlantic Culture (1960)
  • Trueblood, D. Elton The People Called Quakers (1966)
  • Vlach, John Michael. "Quaker Tradition and the Paintings of Edward Hicks: A Strategy for the Study of Folk Art," Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 94, 1981 online edition
  • Walvin, James. The Quakers: Money and Morals. (1997). 243 pp.
  • Yarrow, Clarence H. The Quaker Experience in International Conciliation (1979), for post-1945

Primary sources

  • Bill, J. Brent, Imagination and Spirit: A Contemporary Quaker Reader ISBN 0-944350-61-5
  • Gummere, Amelia, ed. The Journal and Essays of John Woolman (1922) online edition
  • Jones, Rufus M., ed. The Journal of George Fox: An Autobiography online edition
  • Mott, Lucretia Coffin. Selected Letters of Lucretia Coffin Mott. edited by Beverly Wilson Palmer, U. of Illinois Press, 2002. 580 pp
  • Smith, Robert Lawrence, A Quaker Book of Wisdom ISBN 0-688-17233-4
  • West, Jessamyn, editor, The Quaker Reader (1962) ISBN 0-87574-916-X collection of essays by Fox, Penn, and other notable Quakers

Children's books

External links


Documentary films

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  • Quakers — • Quakers, an Anglo American religious sect Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Quakers — Société religieuse des Amis « Quaker » redirige ici. Pour les autres significations, voir Quaker (homonymie). Sommaire 1 Pratiques et croyances …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Quakers —    The Friends (or Quakers) movement represented the most radical wing of Puritanism, the 17th century attempt to purify the Church of England. Founder George Fox (1624 1691) began to preach in 1647 after experiencing an inner illumination. Fox… …   Encyclopedia of Protestantism

  • Quakers — квакеры (от англ. quakers, букв. трясущиеся), члены христианской общины; отвергают институт священников, проповедуют пацифизм, занимаются благотворительностью. Quakers who migrated to New England were persecuted by the Puritans. They were driven… …   Словарь топонимов США

  • QUAKERS — Quaker ou Qouacre, ou Primitif, ou Membre de la primitive église chrétienne, ou Pensylvanien, ou Philadelphien.     De tous ces titres, celui que j aime le mieux est celui de Philadelphien, ami des frères. Il y a bien des sortes de vanités; mais… …   Dictionnaire philosophique de Voltaire

  • QUAKERS —    a small PROTESTANT GROUP known as the SOCIETY OF FRIENDS which arose in the seventeenth century as a result of the preaching of George FOX. They emphasized the leading of the HOLY SPIRIT, or INNER LIGHT, rejected the SACRAMENTS, insisted on… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Quakers — noun a Christian sect founded by George Fox about 1660; commonly called Quakers • Syn: ↑Religious Society of Friends, ↑Society of Friends • Hypernyms: ↑sect, ↑religious sect, ↑religious order • Member Meronyms …   Useful english dictionary

  • Quakers de Philadelphie — Données clés Fondé en …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Quakers in North America — constitute approximately 30% of Quakers worldwide, according to the online Quaker Information Center. There are about 107,000 individual Quakers and about 44 Friends Yearly Meetings in North America.Quakers are members of the Religious Society of …   Wikipedia

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