Jesus said, “You are my friends, if you
do whatever I command you." (John 15:14)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Quaker worship?
gather for worship for an hour on Sunday morning. “Unprogrammed”
meetings are grounded in silent, expectant waiting upon the presence of
God. Any participant may feel led by the Holy Spirit to share a message
and is welcome to speak out of the silence. In “pastoral” Friends
meetings, worship often include hymns, Scripture reading, a children’s
message and a sermon. Usually there will be a period of “open” or
“unprogrammed worship” lasting between five and twenty minutes, either
before or after the sermon. We generally close our worship by shaking
hands and exchanging greetings. Programs for children and infant care
are usually provided. Children are also welcome to join meeting for
worship. We warmly invite you to join this exciting experience of direct
communion with God.
What do Friends believe?
Friends have no
creeds—no official words can substitute for a personal relationship with
God through Jesus Christ. These unofficial statements give a general
sense of Friends' faith.
God is love and
wants to communicate inwardly with everyone who is willing.
spiritual and must be Spirit-led.
All people are
equal before God and may minister as they are led by God.
Jesus Christ is
our present Teacher and Lord, and we seek to conduct church affairs in
unity under his guidance
The Spirit of
God gives guidance that is consistent with the Bible.
respond to the Light of Christ within, their lives begin to reflect
Jesus' peace, integrity, simplicity and moral purity.
Are the “Quakers” different from the “Friends”?
No – “Quakers” is
just a nickname for Friends. The Friends movement began in mid-17th
century England. The name “Friends” comes from Jesus statement, “I have
called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have
made known unto you.” (John 15:15) Early Friends also called themselves
“The Children of Light,” and “Publishers of Truth.” Others nicknamed the
Friends, “Quakers,” because they “quaked” (or trembled) in the power of
God. They later adopted the name, “The Religious Society of Friends,”
and more recently, “the Friends Church.”
Do Friends believe in the Bible?
Absolutely. It is our primary spiritual
text. You will find elsewhere on this website a Biblical reference page
which lists references for every section of our Faith and Practice. We
believe that the scriptures are given to us for instruction,
enlightenment and encouragement. We believe that when they are
interpreted with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and an understanding of
the historical context, that they are an unfailing source of truth. We
also understand that good Christians and good people can disagree about
the interpretation of scriptures. We are determined not to let these
differences of interpretation become a source of rancor among us, or
between us and other believers. There are many opportunities to study
Scripture at Friendsville Friends Meeting. We believe in being lifetime
learners. We believe that anyone, regardless of their education level or
giftedness, can be a good student of the Bible.
What are the “Quaker testimonies”?
that listening to Christ and following the leading of the inward Light
will result in lives that look more like Jesus. The “testimonies” are
the ways that Friends have tried to corporately demonstrate God’s power
to overcome sin. There is no definitive “list” of testimonies, but we
often speak of peace, simplicity, truth speaking, gender and racial
equality, personal integrity, fidelity, chastity and community.
challenge ungodly aspects of contemporary culture. From the earliest
days of the Quaker movement, Friends have tried to live nonviolently and
most Friends have been conscientious objectors to participation in war.
In the United States, Friends were among the first to denounce
slave-holding and make freeing slaves a matter of church discipline.
Friends have always practiced the equality of women and men. In
contemporary society, Friends seek to find ways to live free from the
dominant culture of materialism, violence, and sexual immorality. There
are no rigid, legalistic answers to these problems, but we seek to
create communities of faith where individually and together we follow
conscience fully informed by the Light of Christ.
Do Friends practice the sacraments?
One of the
crucial testimonies of Friends is that the grace of God can be received
directly by any person without the need for any human intermediary such
as priest or pastor. Friends believe that Jesus Christ baptizes his
followers directly with the Holy Spirit. Friends also believe that it is
important to live in daily, inward, communion with God. No outward
ceremonies can substitute for the inward reality of these experiences.
Do Friends have pastors?
that all Christians are called to lives of ministry and service. All
Friends meetings have elders who have a special responsibility to care
for the spiritual life of the meeting. Traditional “unprogrammed”
Friends do not have paid pastors, but the majority of Friends meetings
have adopted the practice of calling pastors to either fulltime or
that God gives certain people a special gift and calling for public
preaching. Friends “record” this gift of ministry, and sometimes release
“recorded ministers” for service as pastors. Pastoral ministers serve
the meeting by visiting and preaching, but their major responsibility is
to help equip the other members of the meeting for the service to which
God is calling them.
What’s with the guy on the oats box? Do Quakers
really dress like that? Are Friends like the Amish?
In the 18th and
early 19th centuries, Friends wore what is called “plain dress” as a way
of testifying against the vain fashions of the world. In the last
hundred and more years, Friends have tried to maintain a simplicity of
life without being legalistic about dress codes, etc. The oats-box guy
is “old hat” as far as Quakers are concerned!
The Amish and the
Friends are both Christian denominations, and both “peace churches.”
However, they have different roots and different ways of faith and
How do you become a member?
Membership is held at the Monthly Meeting
(local church) level. After you have attended worship and begun to get
acquainted with the faith and practice of Friends, you are welcome to
apply for membership. Usually, this is done by writing a short letter to
the pastor or to the Committee on Ministry and Oversight stating your
What larger denomination or organization are you affiliated with?
I don’t see the question I want to ask. What should I
Many books and pamphlets on the beliefs,
practices, social witness and history of Quakerism are available through
Friends United Press.
If you have a specific question, feel free to contact us directly.