The Quaker Testimonies
Many religious groups have creeds. Quaker faith springs from a deeply held belief in living our lives according to our spiritual experience.
Quaker testimonies have a long history:
- we worked for the abolition of slavery and are still involved in racial justice issues.
- we have always opposed war as a means of settling disputes and still work for peace and alternatives to violence.
Quaker testimonies arise out of an inner conviction and challenge our normal ways of living:
- they exist in spiritually-led actions rather than rigid written forms
- they are governed by continuing spiritual experience and are not imposed in any way
- they require us to search for ways in which the testimonies can become true for ourselves
It's not easy! But with loving advice and a supportive community, Quakers are encouraged to keep trying.
Truth and Integrity
Quakers try to live according to the deepest truth we know, which we believe comes from God. This means speaking the truth to all, including people in positions of power. Integrity is the guiding principle we set for ourselves and expect in public life.
Justice, Equality and Community
Quakers recognise the equal worth and unique nature of every person. This means working to change the systems that cause injustice and hinder true community. It also means working with people who are suffering from injustice, such as prisoners and asylum seekers.
Quakers are concerned about the excesses and unfairness of our consumer society, and the unsustainable use of natural resources. We try to live simply and to give space for the things that really matter: the people around us, the natural world, our experience of God.
Perhaps Quakers are best known for our peace testimony. This derives form our conviction that love is at the heart of existence and all human beings are equal in the eyes of God, and that we must live in a way that reflects this. It has led Quakers to refuse military service, and to become involved in a wide range of peace activities from practical work in areas affected by violent conflict to the development of alternatives to violence at all levels from personal to international.
Prepared to be different
Quaker testimonies are not a set of words, but an expression of our spirituality in action. In attempting to live out our testimonies, we are holding up an alternative vision of humanity and society, centred on meeting real needs rather than ever changing desires.