Who are the Quakers and what do we believe?
Quakerism is unique in its individuality so that it offers something specific and special to each of us.
Quaker faith is a search for our truth, not the arrival at it. It is sometimes called “a way of living”, that goes beyond our weekly Meeting and reaches into the daily lives.
Quakers do not offer neat creeds or doctrine. Instead, we work together to seek a place where we can live as we want and feel we should. We learn together, share knowledge and understandings, and question what we think we know.
We do not have Priests or any form of clergy. We do have volunteers who act as the “Elders” of the Meeting offering experience and guidance, and those who focus on pastoral care. Other members of our Meeting may offer services such as writing, organising social interactions, discussion groups, catering and maintenance, outreach work and organised walks or book groups.
All people are welcome and accepted at a Quaker Meeting.
Image at the top of this page is the view from Firbank Fell in Cumbria, just above a rocky outcrop known as “Fox’s Pulpit”, looking towards Ulverston.
Does it matter what I believe?
Quakerism has its roots in Christianity, but many people who come to Meeting would not regard themselves as Christians.
In any Meeting you will find people who might regard themselves as atheist, agnostic, or of another faith, such as a Buddhist, Jew, Muslim, Sikh, as well as people who feel they are very definitely Christian.
What we share is a commitment to Silence and Stillness, and exploring what this brings.
Importantly we also share a commitment to some Core Values – how we act to support what we believe.
We call these values “Testimonies” and they are Equality, Peace, Truth, Justice and Simplicity.
Equality and Justice
Quakers believe everyone is Equal.
This inspires us to try to change the systems that cause injustice.
It also means working with people who suffer injustice, such as prisoners of conscience and asylum seekers.
Quakers has always campaigned for justice, from the fight for independent juries in the 17th century to marriage equality in the 21st century.
Quakers are perhaps best known for our Peace Testimony.
It comes from our belief that love is at the centre of existence and that all human life is of equal worth.
It has led Quakers to refuse military service and work creatively for peace.
This has ranged from practical work in areas affected by violent conflict to developing alternatives to violence at all levels.
Truth and integrity
Quakers try to live according to the deepest Truth we know, and we connect most deeply to this in the Stillness of Worship.
This means speaking the Truth at all times, including to people in positions of power. As we are guided by integrity, so we expect to see it in public life.
Simplicity and Sustainability
Quakers are deeply concerned about excess and waste in our society. We want to make sure our use of natural resources is sustainable.
We try to live simply and to find space for the things that are real.
Our testimonies encourage us to work for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. It is not always easy to live this way, but as Quakers we try to encourage each other to keep trying.
Ilkley Quakers demonstrate our commitment to the Core Values by contributing to our community and trying to Lead by Example. We are active members of Climate Action Ilkley as well as supporting national charities and local environmental groups, such as the Yorkshire Rewilding Network. We are closely involved with Bradford Peace Museum and Bradford University Peace Studies department. Individual members are involved with a wide range of charitable organisations that support refuges and asylum seekers as well as our private actions to reduce, reuse, recycle, renew.
Interested in finding out more?
Ilkley Quakers run Quaker Quest sessions from time to time where people can find out a bit more about us. As part of those sessions we run shorter Meetings for Worship to experience it without committing to the full hour. If you are interested in finding out when such sessions are running please contact us. You may also wish to join a meeting via Zoom to see how it all works.
What happens in Quaker Worship?