Being a Quaker

Welcome. The Religious Society of Friends is commonly referred to as Quakers. It consists of the members of the Society and many others who worship with us and are involved with us.
  • Quakers believe that everyone has a direct connection with God, which some call the 'inner light' or ‘Spirit'.
  • Each Quaker seeks their own path with the support of the group. We try to clarify our beliefs by careful consideration, listening to the Spirit within us, listening to others and reading the wisdom of others.
  • Although our origins are Christian we are open to many ideas. We are committed to working for equality and peace and believe firmly in religious tolerance.
  • All are welcome to join us.

Faith & Values

 

Worship

Worship is at the heart of what it means to be a Quaker. Meeting for worship brings Quakers together in stillness so we can quiet our minds and open our hearts and lives.

 

Pacifism

Quakers work for peace in all aspects of life – locally, nationally and internationally – and we believe that working for peace begins in our own hearts. We do this both individually and collectively.

 

Simplicity

Quakers try to live simply and to find space for the things that really matter: the people around us, the natural world, our experience of God.

 

Equality

Quakers believe everyone is equal. This means working to change the systems that cause injustice and hinder true community. It also means working with people who suffer injustice, such as prisoners and asylum seekers.

 

Integrity

Quakers try to ensure their beliefs, words and actions are consistent. This means speaking the truth to all, including people in positions of power.

 

Community

Quaker communities are often led to support other communities and groups that work for social justice, equality and peace. As individuals and as a group, we add our voices and actions towards change for those in need.

 

Earthcare

Quakers are deeply concerned about the excesses and unfairness of our consumer society and the unsustainable use of natural resources.

 

Quakers across ages

Quakers recognise that people contribute in many ways at all ages and stages to enrich our communities – as children, young adults and older folk.

 

Differences

Quakers offer an experience that is distinctly different from other churches. You won't be told what to believe...

 

History

Quakers began in the 17th century, during a time of great unrest and change in England. Quakers were one of several groups who challenged many of the beliefs and ideas of the time and continue to do so today.

 

Making Decisions

The Quaker method of conducting meetings for business and arriving at decisions is quite different from that of most groups and yet the method can be used in other organisations.

 

Around the world

Quakers have a tradition of welcoming other Quakers, even when they have not met before. This results a strong sense of a global Quaker family. Such networking promotes cooperation on global causes and actions.

Quakers Speak

Quakers believe that faith is lived through action. Meet three Quakers who express their faith in different ways - Susan Hill, Roger Sawkins and David Carline.

 

Susan Hill | Fremantle

"In our efforts to live life more simply and consciously of the environment, our family gave up plastic in January 2013. It opened our eyes to the large amount of plastic we acquire on a weekly basis. "

 

Roger Sawkins | Brisbane

"Quakerism was a revelation. A religion with no artificial structures and no authoritarian system of required beliefs fitted me well.
Quakers have helped to challenge me, not only to listen and understand other people’s ideas and cultures, but also to examine my own."

 

David Carline | Cunnamulla

"I came here to Cunnamulla with a leading to work with my own people, the Kooma/Gwamu. The old Aunties in Brisbane paved the way by connecting me with my own Kooma people. I am still under this leading"

Want to find out more?

If you want to find out more about Quakers in Australia you can:

 

 

You could also take a look at some of our pamphlets

Frequently Asked Questions

If you want to explore whether Quaker worship is for you, you are welcome to come to a meeting for worship, which normally lasts for an hour. We enter and sit in stillness and waiting. This stillness gives us space and time to listen and reflect. We don't have songs, set prayers or talks. Quaker meetings are open to everyone. You will not be put under pressure to become a Quaker.

Can I attend a Quaker Meeting?

Yes! You are welcome to attend Quaker worship. There are Quakers of all ages, religious backgrounds, races and ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and classes. All are welcome.

What do I wear?

Quakers are pretty casual. They do not dress up for Quaker activities. Come dressed as you feel comfortable.

Can I bring children?

Certainly. Some Meetings run a program for children (like a Sunday School). Some run them on particular weeks of the month.

Quakers encourage parents and carers to leave children with the special program so the adults can benefit from Meeting for Worship. Children are encouraged to spend a little time in quiet reflection as part of the program - they learn to do that quite quickly.

We take due care that those who care for children provide a safe environment for them.

You know your child, and what will help them feel comfortable. Arriving a bit early, bringing a favourite quiet toy might help.

What if my baby cries?

If you are in Meeting for Worship and your child makes a noise, Quakers will respond kindly. A little noise will not be a problem. You might reach a point where you feel uncomfortable—you can quietly take your child outside.

Should I bring my partner?

Quaker Meetings have individuals, couples and families. All are welcomed. Sharing the experience with your partner might be nice. Or it might not be what you want to do.

What should I do if I can’t sit still for an hour or get a coughing fit?

There is no problem with getting up and quietly walking out - and coming back in. If where you are sitting is uncomfortable, it’s OK to change seats.

I’m hard of hearing. Will I be OK?

Some of our Meeting Houses have hearing assistance equipment. Because Quakers sit in circles, the person speaking may be behind you, or may speak quietly. You might miss their words. You might gain a sense of what they are saying anyway. It’s OK to ask someone after the meeting to tell you what they said.

Are Meetings only on Sundays?

All Australian Quaker groups hold Meeting for Worship (their service) on Sundays. But some hold another one at a different time, possibly mid-week. Contact the Meeting you are thinking of going to and they will let you know.

On Sundays, there’s not much public transport, could I get help with transport?

You could contact the Meeting if you want help with transport. It may be possible for someone to pick you up.

Will it seem like nothing is happening for a whole hour?

Yes, it might. You might get fidgety, or start to clock-watch. You might start to count the bricks in the wall.

Nonetheless, you might gain from being there, and choose to return. You might have a different experience next time. All Quakers will tell you they have some days when they can’t still their thinking brain, or their worrying, or the tune that’s running round in their head.

Even so, you might gain from sitting quietly. You might get better at stilling your mind.