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Quakers in Australia

About_Testimonies

Quaker testimonies

The word testimony is used by Quakers to describe a witness to the living truth within the human heart as it is acted out in everyday life.
(Quaker Faith and Practice, Britain Yearly Meeting 1994, 23.12)

These testimonies reflect the corporate beliefs of the Society, however much individual Quakers may interpret them differently according to their own light. They are not optional extras, but fruits that grow from the very tree of faith.
(Quaker Faith and Practice, Britain Yearly Meeting 1994, 23.12)

There are a number of testimonies that Friends try to live by.

Peace testimony

The Quaker Peace Testimony is the testimony most frequently associated with Quakers. Peace is seen by Quakers as far more than a rejection of warfare. In the silent meditation and prayer of the Quaker Meeting for Worship, and in our search in daily life for that of God in all other people, Quakers have sought to develop an ethos which puts love of our fellow human beings into practice. More...

Testimony of simplicity

A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength.
(Advices and Queries, no. 41, Britain Yearly Meeting 1995)

Friends believe simplicity should be a way of life. It allows them to concentrate of seeking the Truth and avoid being distracted by worldly materialism. More ...

Testimony of integrity

Integrity is a condition in which a person's response to a total situation can be trusted: the opposite of a condition in which he or she would be moved by opportunist or self-seeking impulses.
(Kenneth C. Barnes, 1972, quoted in About Quakers, AYM 2004)

Early Friends found that their experience of living in the Light caused them to examine themselves and avoid deceit. Truthful dealings with all comers became a way of life for them.

Are you honest and truthful in all you say and do? … Taking oaths implies a double standard of truth; in choosing to affirm instead, be aware of the claim to integrity you are making.
(Advices and Queries, no. 37, Britain Yearly Meeting 1995)

Friends became renowned for their honesty, and early Friends were entrusted with people's money and became bankers (for example, Barclay's Bank in England, which began as a Quaker bank).

Testimony of equality

Friends (Quakers) believe there is that of God in everyone [and in the natural world]. That means in the eyes of God, everyone is equal. Quakers have therefore worked for equal rights for all men and women, regardless of race, creed or sexual preferences. More ...

Earthcare

At Yearly Meeting 2007, Quakers took afirst step towards outlining an Australian Quaker commitment to 'walking softly over the Earth'. This was further discussed at Standing Committee in July 2007, and the authors were asked to bring a Statement on Earthcarewhich was accepted at Yearly Meeting 2008, as a statement of a Quaker commitment to caring for the Earth.

These first thoughts stand as an indicator of a Quaker commitment to caring for our environment —

  • We affirm the Spirit in all things — all creatures, the waters, the air and the earth itself.
  • We open ourselves to learn from the Spirit in the whole of creation for it is the source of our wisdom and truth.
  • We acknowledge the need to replace our culture of domination and exploitation with a culture of community.
  • We affirm that our true community is with all life on this planet.
  • We acknowledge that our use of resources is threatening the survival of other species and damaging the health of ecological communities and the planet as a whole.
  • We acknowledge human-induced climate change as a result of our population and our personal and corporate consumption.
  • We acknowledge that time is limited, and we are called to inform ourselves, boldly discerning the way forward to act individually and collectively to heal and care for the earth.
  • We seek to engage with the wisdom of Indigeous peoples and affirm our responsibility to ensure that generations to come inherit a healthy planet.
  • We affirm that Quakers desire to strengthen their witness of caring for the Earth and we are inspired to act as guided by the Spirit.
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