What is a Friend?
Friends, also known as Quakers, believe each person has that of God within them referred to as the Inner Light. Because of this they can believe that one can directly access the Divine within or through another. This often means a lack of hierarchies and also a default respect for all people. Friends seek the guidance of the Spirit or Inner Light. They try to listen for the voice of the Spirit in everything they do, throughout their lives. They especially listen during the time of open worship (or silence) because they believe that God may speak through anyone present. Friends make decisions in a group through a form of consensus with the guidance of God. While Friends originated in England in the 1600’s, their approach to life and core understandings of the world, known as testimonies, are very relevant today.
The Testimonies (SPICES)
Friends hold up a set of virtues as guiding principles for life. These virtues and their application are known as testimonies.
SimplicityFriends have a built-in suspicion of unnecessary things, sometimes known as cumber. Too many possessions get in the way of inner peace. This is also true of obligations and time commitments. Keeping your life simple helps you to focus on what’s really important.
PeaceFriends have a focus on both inner peace and peace in the world. Inner peace is promoted through activities like sitting together in silence waiting on God and testimonies such as integrity and simplicity. When your interior life matches your outer life it’s easier to be at peace within yourself. Friends have a history of noninvolvement in war and actively working towards world peace.
IntegrityFriends believe in word as bond. Friends don’t swear oaths and once did not even consider contracts necessary. If they say it you can rely on it. Friends are the source of a handshake agreement.
CommunityFriends make decisions as a group. In the place of leaders Friends rely on clerks to run meetings. They call meetings together and listen for the “sense of the meeting” instead of dictating the course for the group. Respect for one another means that everyone is important and has a piece of the truth.
EqualityFriends see all people as equal and worthy of respect. Friends do not value some people more than others. Friends believed in the equality of men and women long before other religious groups. Everyone is allowed to speak at worship regardless of how long they have attended or who they are when not at worship.
SustainabilityClosely tied in with the testimony of simplicity, Friends are committed to the health of the environment and responsibility with resources. This also means considering the good of future generations.
Who can participate?
Statement of InclusionBecause we believe each person represents an image of the Divine and welcome the light that each individual brings, we open our doors to everyone. We encourage full participation by all in the life of our meeting. We recognize one another as equal travelers on the journey, seeking always to celebrate our joys and share our struggles together. May we create and tend an ethic of respect, reverence, safety, and listening. May we delight in our differences.
Diversity of viewsBecause of the belief in the equality of all people and that of God in everyone, Friends are willing and even eager to hear the understanding of each person. Friends are even willing to hear the truth held in other traditions. A wide range of views are held by Friends both within local congregations called monthly meetings and held by Friends around the world. Friends have no creeds. Some in the Klamath Falls Friends community have no religious identity other than Quaker, and others identify as Buddhist, Jewish, pagan, atheist or agnostic, and other.
Open ParticipationAnyone and everyone is welcomed to take part in worship. During what is known as open worship or waiting worship, all are welcome to share after carefully considering if what’s on their heart is meant for the larger group.