Introducing Quakers:short essays on Quaker faith, practice and concerns
Published by SARM for Quaker open day 2004
What do Quakers believe?
Most Quakers would have difficulty providing an unambiguous and unequivocal answer. This is because Quakers hold a diverse range of orientations towards their spirituality. Some Quakers have beliefs that are firmly founded in the Christian tradition, others draw upon inspiration from diverse religious sources. Quakers tend to discover their own unique spiritual path, their own understanding of God (and even their own words to express 'God') and their own ways of expressing their faith in words and action.
Quakers do agree that there is 'that of God' in everyone and as you will discover in the essays that follow, this gives rise to a way of life that is guided by the principles of peace, social justice, equality, integrity, simplicity and environmental sustainability. The ways that these principles are talked about and enacted may be as diverse as the number of Quakers that there are, therefore Quakers tend to speak for themselves, rather than for the Society of Friends as a whole. These essays, then, express the views of their authors and may not represent the views of all Quakers.
|Humphrey Tranter||Who are the Quakers?|
|Elizabeth Stevenson||How do Quakers worship?|
|Robin Sinclair||Quakers in the world|
|Jenny Stock||Peace and social justice|
|Kerry O'Regan||Quaker simplicity|
|Roger Keys||Indigenous concerns: letting go of our 'whiteness'|
Quaker Sorry Statement to the Indigenous people of Australia
Quakers believe reconciliation between Indigenous Australians, the original custodians of the land, and non-Indigenous Australians, to be the cornerstone of a non-violent, inclusive Australian society.
Australia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) acknowledges the injustices suffered by the Indigenous people of Australia since 1788.
We are ashamed that we have failed to recognise the extent of dispossession, deprivation and trauma over the past 200 years. We have been and are part of a culture that has dominated, dehumanised and devalued Aboriginal religious, cultural and family life.
For this we are deeply sorry and express our heart-felt apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. We commit ourselves to working towards a reconciled Australia.
Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with
another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against
another; but praying one for another, and helping one another up with
a tender hand.
Isaac Pennington, 1667 (Quaker faith and practice, 10.01)
Life from the centre is a life of unhurried peace and power. It is simple. It is serene. It is amazing. It is triumphant. It is radiant. It takes no time, but occupies all our time. And it makes our life programs new and overcoming. We need not get frantic. God is at the helm. And when our little day is done we lie down quietly in peace, for all is well (Thomas Kelly, A testament of devotion).