What do Quakers believe?

Friends often speak of the Inner Light. We believe that all human beings have a measure of the Divine Spirit, known variously by Quakers as the Inner Light, Inner Guide, Christ Within and Holy Spirit: there is ‘that of God’ in everyone. This is not the same as human reason or conscience but a divine seed or element that enables us to know God.

We are aware that words are inadequate to describe our deepest experiences of God’s presence. Faith is something to be demonstrated in the way we order our lives. We believe that it is more important to live our lives fully, but simply, according to the Inner Light than to spend a lot of time preparing creeds or written statements of faith. Great care and patience are needed to follow the true leading of the Spirit.

As each individual has a direct relationship or communion with God we have no ordained priests or set liturgy. Our form of prayer is in the tradition of contemplative prayer practised by Christians from the earliest times. We make no distinction between the ‘ordinary’ and the ‘sacred’ so we do not need special church buildings. A Quaker Meeting allows the individual and the group to receive guidance, transformation and joy from the spiritual source within each one of us.


Fundamental to Quaker practice are the ‘Testimonies’. Friends have testimonies which encourage equality, truthfulness, simplicity, peace and social justice. Testimonies are not rules or laws with punishments for not following them. Each individual must decide for themselves how far they can follow a particular testimony and respect the position taken by others.

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