Where did Quakerism come from?

Quakerism developed out of the teachings of George Fox, who lived in England in the mid 1600s. He believed that the spirit of God was in all people and rejected the hierarchy of established religion. For more information, visit our history page.

Why do Quakers call themselves “Friends”?

Early Quakers referred to themselves as “Friends of the Truth.” Modern Quakers use the terms “Friends” and “Quakers” interchangeably.

Are Quakers Christians?

Most Quakers do consider themselves Christian, in that they follow the spirit and teachings of Jesus Christ. Quakers do read the Bible. However, some Quakers take a universalist approach to religion which encompasses the core beliefs found in many faiths.

Are Quakers the same as the Amish?

No. Both are “Peace Churches,” and both believe in simplicity. Early Quakers wore the “plain dress” that the Amish still wear. However, unlike the Amish, Quakers do use technology, drive cars, believe in higher education, marry outside the faith, and interact freely with the outside world.

How do Quakers worship?

As in most religions, there are variations according to the community. “Programmed” Meetings have a pastor, and the services are similar to many Protestant churches. “Unprogrammed” Meetings follow the traditional Quaker practice of a period of silent worship, with members only rising to speak when they feel strongly led to give a message. Fallsington Friends Meeting is unprogrammed. A full description of Quaker meeting for worship can be found here.

If you don’t have clergy, who performs weddings, counseling, etc.?

Quaker weddings are similar to Quaker meeting for worship, except that the prayers and messages focus on the couple. The wedding is witnessed, and the marriage certificate signed, by all present. For members needing counsel, the Care and Concern committee offers assistance in various ways or endeavors to help them find clarity about the problem.

Do Quakers still dress like the “Quaker Oat guy” and say “thee” and “thou”?

The practices of “plain dress,” and “plain speak” came out of the Quaker testimony on simplicity. Most modern Quakers wear modern clothes, and most of us look and talk like anyone else, although some of our elders still do practice “plain speak” among themselves. Although we use and appreciate modern technology, Quakers still strive to live as simply and mindfully as possible.

How many Quakers are there?

There are approximately 300,000 Quakers worldwide, on every continent except Antarctica. About one-third of those are found in the U.S. and Canada, and one-third in Africa.

Do Quakers have a creed?

We do not have a formal written creed, as each individual experiences and expresses their faith in their own way. However, most Quakers do follow certain core principles, or “testimonies.” A handy acronym for these is SPICES (Simplicity; Peace; Integrity; Community; Equality; Stewardship/Service).

What is the Quaker peace testimony?

Quakers are strongly committed to non-violence, both personally and societally. We do not join the military or fight in wars. Quakers choose to serve the country in peaceful ways, and to work for peaceful solutions. “There is no way to peace; peace is the way.”

Who makes the “rules”?

There are no written directives governing individual behavior, as we try to discern our own path through worship and “listening for God’s voice." However, most Quakers do try to live according to the Quaker testimonies listed above.

Decisions involving the entire Meeting are made through consensus, at the monthly Meeting for Business. The Clerk oversees the business of the Meeting but does not govern; rather, it is his or her job to help the Meeting find clarity and consensus.

How do I become a Quaker? Can anyone join?

There are no restrictions on membership; anyone who feels led to become a Quaker is welcome. Start by attending some meetings for worship and talking with the members afterward; this will give you a feel of whether this is right for you.

Are there programs for young people?

Most meetings have a First-Day (Sunday) School program. There are also Young Friends (high-school age) and Middle School Friends gatherings, Quaker camps, and Quaker schools. Information on gatherings can be found on the PYM website and schools and camps on the Links page.

How can I find the closest Quaker meetinghouse?

This website lists Quaker meetings in Bucks County: http://www.quakersbucks.org/index.php/site/meetings/

Where can I find out more about Quakerism?

You can find more detailed history here, and links to many other very informative websites here. You can also contact us. Or come and see for yourself – we always welcome visitors, and the Friends of Fallsington Meeting will be happy to talk with you!