1. Like many other denominations, Quakers are individually diverse in their beliefs about many things but share one central belief that there is a spark of God in every human being, and therefore every person is in a direct relation to God.
2. From this central belief flows the conviction that all persons have inherent worth, regardless of their gender, race, nationality, religion or sexual orientation. That is why Quakers have always been opposed to sexism, racism, intolerance of all kinds, the death penalty and war.
3. There is a strong mystical component to Quaker belief. Because the individual’s relation to God is primary, Friends believe that dogmas, ceremonies or rituals are not essential. Quakers therefore have no priesthood, no hierarchy and no mandatory beliefs other than the fundamental belief that there is a spark of God in every person.
4. Quakers use the Bible and believe that it has many layers of meaning. They rely upon the Inner Light and do not consider any formal interpretation as the final word on matters of faith and practice. They believe in the continuing revelation of God through the operation of the Spirit in all fields of life.
1. Their beliefs have led Quakers to avoid bestowing special authority on any individual or group within the Society of Friends. Each Meeting is autonomous, governing itself by means of a spiritually based consensus model. The clerk of the Meeting is responsible for expediting business but decisions about matters of business are made by the Meeting. It is the role of the Clerk to discern the sense of the Meeting based on the discussion of the members present.
2. In any matter of business being considered, the decisions are not made by a vote which sets up a win-or- lose situation. This would be contrary to the Quaker belief that there is that of God in every person. Therefore all opinions and insights need to be considered. The outcome is not the lowest common denominator of what people will accept but a prayerful consideration of God’s spiritual direction in our lives. This is often a slow process but leads to the members moving forward together.
3. Men and women in the Religious Society of Friends have always had equal standing in every aspect of the Society’s ministry and governance.
4. Simplicity, truthfulness, pacifism, and the reality of inner revelation are long-standing Quaker beliefs, as are the equal status of men and women, the abolition of slavery, the relief of human suffering, and the fostering of justice and human creativity.