Quakerism began with George Fox of England in the mid-1600's as a movement trying to recapture the essence of early Christianity. As such, it has been traditionally classified under the umbrella of Christian Protestantism. However, as we perceive that revelation is ongoing, the faith is non-creedal. Quakers more often tend to agree on certain values and principles for living, called Testimonies, than they do about various aspects of theology. Quaker Lucretia Mott stated, "The likeness we bear to Jesus is more essential than our notions of him." The six Quaker Testimonies (SPICES) are: simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship.
Quakers talk about honoring "that of God" in all people, listening to "Spirit" or the "Inner Teacher," and holding each other "in the Light." We believe in a Love that heals and empowers humanity across all faith traditions. We believe in the divine sparks of beauty and goodness within each individual. We fan those sparks in one another through our meditations / queries, spirited discussions, and acts of service. Quakers have had a long history in working peacefully for social justice causes. Quakerism is a very practical, peaceful, experiential, and present-focused faith that is able, as Fox might have expressed, "to speak to our condition."
Within Quakerism today, there are two main branches. Our group is aligned with Friends General Conference (FGC) and therefore places great emphasis on unprogrammed, meditative worship in which all members share equally in the worship experience. During these times of "silent expectancy," we may receive insights, or "leadings," that may be audibly shared, thereby ministering to the group. Although a clerk facilitates, there is no paid or ordained pastoral figure. Participation often takes repeated practice to build appreciation for the tradition and realize benefit. Read more about the nature of Quaker worship on our Practice page.
While there is no proselytizing in Quakerism, information about the faith, as well as our practice, is abundant. For example, see links below to a few videos offered by QuakerSpeak, a project of Friends Journal. Perhaps the best online resource for newcomers and seasoned Quakers alike, however, is the Friends General Conference (FGC) website. From there, seekers may access many articles, books, videos, and directories to aid in understanding the Quaker faith worldwide. The Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association (SAYMA) publishes the very helpful Guide to Our Faith and Practice (2012). The Macon Quakers group itself is a also a glad resource, and we welcome visitors anytime.
Here is a sampling of QuakerSpeak videos relating to the six Quaker Testimonies:
SIMPLICITY / Making Space for Faith
PEACE / What It Means to Be a Quaker Peace Activist
INTEGRITY / Who Is John Woolman?
COMMUNITY / My First Time at a Quaker Meeting
EQUALITY / Dreaming of Wholeness: Quakers and the Future of Racial Healing
STEWARDSHIP / How Do Quakers Approach Sustainability Work?