The Religious Society of Friends (which is our formal title) was founded in the seventeenth century by George Fox, and it is for this reason that you will hear us refer to each other as ‘Friends’, to the public we are more commonly known as Quakers.
It was, and remains, a Christian-based religion; the belief in the existance of Jesus. It is not possible to say what all Quakers believe, because each individual has his or her own spiritual understanding. What draws us together as a worshiping group is a conviction that in everyone there is a spiritual dimension which should be respected and loved.
Some central beliefs hold us together as a religious community:
- The light of God is in everyone
- Each person can have a direct, personal relationship with God – there is no need for a priest or a minister as a mediator
- Our relationship with God is nurtured by worship based on silent waiting
- The nature of God is love
These beliefs lead us to strive for:
- the equality of all human beings
- simplicity in our worship and in our way of life
- social justice
- the right to freedom of conscience
- a sense of shared responsibility for the life of our communities and the integrity of creation
We sometimes refer to these as Quaker testimonies.
During our Meetings for Worship we try to clear our minds of distracting thoughts and remind ourselves of the mysteries of life. By sitting in silence we find that peace, and the spiritual setting allows us to be more receptive to such thoughts. Anyone is free to share his or her thoughts with the group by offering Ministry, i.e. standing up and speaking! Coming, as it does, out the silence of a meeting, ministry can be quite moving, and at time is surprising how many other people were thinking along the same lines.
More than 27,000 people attend Quaker meetings for worship and these take place in 500 places around the United Kingdom many of which are Quaker owned Friend Meeting House’s of which the Blue Idol is one.
Meetings lasting one hour are usually held weekly for convenience on Sundays. Every other Sunday we hold a childrens’ meeting. The children sit with us for the first fifteen minutes and then go to their own space for activities.
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