Individual Quakers believe different things about the nature of what we call “God”, “the Inner Light”, “the Eternal Presence”, “the Spirit” or “the Divine”. However, we share a general approach of seeking to experience God directly, within ourselves, in our relationships with others and in the world around us. These direct encounters with the Divine are where we find meaning and purpose. There is something sacred (that of God) in every person and we recognise and respond to ‘that of God’ in others.
Quakerism has its roots in Christianity and finds inspiration in the Bible and the life and teachings of Jesus. However, the Bible is not the only written source of wisdom and inspiration for Quakers. We also find meaning and value in the teachings of other faiths and acknowledge that ours is not the only way.
Quakers focus on experience rather than written statements of belief, and our collective experience is shared in Quaker faith and practice. This book is a collection of insights from the founding of the Religious Society of Friends in the seventeenth century to the present day, and also describes how the Society is run. The much shorter Advices and queries contains questions to challenge us and practical advice about how to live as a Quaker. It is perhaps the nearest you will find to any guidelines about what it means to be a Quaker. Both Quaker faith and practice and Advices and queries are updated every generation, recognizing that our understanding of truth moves on or may need to be expressed in different ways.
Advices & queries 1 is a good summary of our approach:
Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life.
Our meetings for worship help us as we seek to hear the “promptings of love and truth in our hearts” which challenge us to live out our faith.