Introduction to Quakerism
Feeling Lost and longing for Direct Spiritual Connection, free of anything between you and the Spirit within? Longing for Spirituality, free of preachers, judgements and plate passing? Weary of prescribed prayers, dogma, and preaching – but hungry for Inner Peace? Bring your Spirituality here and share it with us in Silent Worship.
The teachings of our Quaker forefathers were intended to be landmarks, not campsites.
Jan Palen Rushmore, 1954
Be still and cool in thy own mind and spirit from thy own thoughts, and then thou wilt feel the principle of God to turn thy mind to the Lord God, whereby thou wilt receive his strength and power from whence life comes, to allay all tempests, against blusterings and storms. That is it which molds into patience, into innocency, into soberness, into stillness, into stayedness, into quietness, up to God, with his power. George Fox, 1658
The Light Within:
The Light Within is the fundamental and immediate experience for Friends. It is that which guides each of us in our everyday lives and brings us together as a community of faith. It is, most importantly, our direct and unmediated experience of the Divine.
Friends have used many different terms or phrases to designate the source and inner certainty of our faith – a faith which we have gained by direct experience. The Inward Light, the Way, the Truth and the Life, the Spirit of Truth, the Divine Principle, the Christ Within, the Seed, Inward Teacher, Presence, and the Inner Light are examples of such phrases. George Fox’s Journal refers to “that Inward Light, Spirit, and Grace by which all might know their salvation” and to “that Divine Spirit which would lead them into all truth.”
Friends’ experience is that following the Light Within brings a release of the spirit and a state of peace that are independent of the tangible results of the action taken. Spiritual power arises from living in harmony with the Divine Will. George Fox and others often spoke of the power they experienced in times of need and of the relationship between that power and the Light. For instance, Fox writes that “the power of God sprang through me,” and he admonishes us to “hearken to the Light, that ye may feel the power of God in every one of you.”
Continuing obedience to the Light increases our gratitude for God’s gifts. Among these gifts are an awareness of enduring values, the joy of life, and the ability to resolve problems in accord with divine leading, as individuals or as a meeting. Under the guidance of the Light, the Meeting is enabled to use and transform the aspirations and judgments of its members. This waiting on the Light helps the Meeting make decisions and face undertakings in a spirit detached from self-interest or prejudice. Fundamental Quaker testimonies such as equality, simplicity, peace, integrity, and community have arisen from a deep sense of individual and corporate responsibility guided by the Light Within.
Recognizing “that of God” is in every person overcomes our separation and our differences from others and leads to a sympathetic awareness of their needs and a sense of responsibility toward them. Friends believe that the more widely and clearly the Light is recognized and followed, the more humanity will come into accord. “Therefore,” writes George Fox, “in the Light wait, where unity is.”
(Contains excerpts from Southeastern Yearly Meeting of The Religious Society of Friends Faith and Practice 4th Edition 2013)