The Religious Society of Friends, also
known as the Quakers, has no creed to dictate what its members must believe,
and no formal initiation ritual like baptism. There is no set of beliefs
that all Quakers must agree on, and no hierarchy of clergy to insist that
they do so.
That being said, there are a number of guiding principles that unite Friends throughout the world.
One of the most important is that every person may communicate directly with God without having to have ordained ministers or sacramental rituals to mediate that contact. Quakers believe that there is that of God within each person, in fact. We worship in silence, clearing our minds of the clutter of thoughts and expectations that might prevent our perceiving authentic revelation from God, and wait upon the Lord, seeking the Light. We do this individually, but more importantly, we do it as a gathered people of God during our weekly meeting for worship. Although our experience may vary from week to week, our gathered meeting may at times experience a profound sense of the presence of God in our midst through this communal silence. At times a person may feel strongly moved to stand and share something they feel has been revealed to them during this experience. This vocal ministry may be offered by anyone in attendance at a meeting, and no one comes to meeting with a prepared intention to speak (nor to remain silent). We study the Bible as a record of God's revelation to people throughout history, but we do not believe that such revelation stopped 2000 years ago, nor do we believe that the scriptures of other faiths have no authentic revelation in them.
This direct communication with God and lack of ministers means that all Quakers share in the tasks done by clergy in other faiths, and means we also gather to seek God's guidance in the decisions we make as a meeting. Once monthly, we meet after meeting for worship to tend to the business of the meeting. Topics include everything from finances to writing letters expressing our heartfelt concern on matters concerning the community and world at large. We make decisions by coming to unity as a gathered people seeking guidance from God; we do not take votes and override the minority opinion. If even a single member feels led to oppose a decision, the meeting will not consider itself in unity and will not go forward with that decision until unity may be reached at a later date. Visitors are welcome to attend meeting for business.