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(26 Posts)
Terraviva Sun 17-Jul-11 10:13:30

Any Quakers here or anyone been to a Quaker meeting? I've been looking for a spiritual practice for a while now, and haven't yet found the right one. Lately though, the Quakers seem to keep popping up so I've decided to look into it a bit more. I like what I read on the website, but I'm still a bit concerned that the Bible is the dominant text they read from. Is this right? How overtly christian are they? Their website stresses the importance of everyone having their own understanding and interpretation, but is it like that in reality?

What I like is the idea of silent worship and no hierarchy - each person having a direct relationship with 'God'. I especially like their desire to live a simple life, in harmony with nature and so not supporting rampant consumerism - the first sustainable lifestyle gurus?! The idea that you worship through deeds & action, not ritual, also appeals.

Any views much appreciated!

Terraviva Sun 17-Jul-11 10:16:00

Just realised asking 'how overtly Christian' a Christian religion is could sound like a stupid question! I just mean, do they go on about Jesus lots and relate everything back to the bible, like they do in other churches?

feckwit Sun 17-Jul-11 10:21:54

I went a few times as a child, I found them very peaceful ( family are Quakers).

Terraviva Sun 17-Jul-11 11:59:40

Thanks feckwit smile

iggagog Sun 17-Jul-11 21:39:46

They are, however, a Christian group so if Jesus and the Bible are no-nos, no Christian group is going to suit you!
Quakers I believe are generally quite left-wing and liberal in their views.
I am fond of Quakers smile

michglas Sun 17-Jul-11 21:45:30

I went to a quaker school and during meetings the teachers took it in turns to do readings from text that they felt were thought-enticing. There were a couple of minutes silence for you to ponder the readings. It was very rare that the reading came from the bible or jesus was mentioned.

roisin Sun 17-Jul-11 21:47:45

I went to a quaker school too and occasionally go to meetings. Some quakers are very "conventionally christian" in their beliefs, others hardly at all. It really does vary a great deal.

They tend to have fairly informative websites - so use google, find your local meeting house and pop along. I'm sure they'll make you very welcome.

Terraviva Mon 18-Jul-11 15:36:02

Thanks everyone smile

Their website is really good, it stresses how they hold different beliefs.

iggagog - The bible and jesus aren't total no-no's, I just see them as one facet of the Truth. The Quaker's liberal views appeal to me as well grin

michglas - That's good to know.

worldgonecrazy Mon 18-Jul-11 15:45:43

I have been to a Quaker meeting and it was lovely, very calm and they were all very welcoming.

I know there is not supposed to be a hierarchy but I did get the impression that some people were more equal than others, IFYSIM?

They are also very big on Fair Trade and ethical purchasing, which gets a big thumbs up from me.

Terraviva Wed 20-Jul-11 10:12:49

World I think whenever a group of people get together, for any reason at all, some are always more equal than others hmmwink

The importance of Fair Trade / ethical living / sustainability is a massive appeal to me too smile

FML25 Thu 21-Jul-11 16:48:34

I am a Quaker, and not many British Quakers would now identify as Christian. The proportion who think of Jesus as Redeemer might be 1 in 100. On the other hand, the proportion who think Jesus' ethical teaching helpful might be 100%. --At our Meeting we are getting non-Quaker parents coming to bring their children, so that the children get an idealistic but laidback Sunday School. That's Ealing Meeting! but the same would be true at lots of other Meetings too. See also

RufousBartleby Thu 21-Jul-11 16:56:51

I've been to quite a lot of quaker meetings. I used to sit next to a hindu gentleman - he liked the peace - no problem with that at all! There isn't really a lot of bible in it at all to be honest, on the whole its silence and contemplation (at least the meeting where I went) so it depends on how you like your worship.

I've stopped going because quiet and a one year old don't seem to go hand in hand - can anyone tell me if they do take their small children to meetings and how this works?

FML25 Thu 21-Jul-11 17:01:24

"more equal than others". I would guess that in any Quaker Meeting, besides the half who will do jobs if they are asked to do them, there are possibly a quarter who get fascinated with Quaker ways of doing things, and they can indeed become a bit in-crowdy. (I am one of these.) But if anyone shows signs of willingness to help or of interest in Quaker ways they will normally get roped in double-quick.

FML25 Thu 21-Jul-11 17:05:15

I take my grandkids to Exeter Meeting sometimes; they are 4 and rising 2. We sit in the main meeting for the first 10 minutes and so far my two have been very cooperative. Then we go out to toddlers' class for 50 mins. --If one is the parent of a restive toddler one can get anxious if the baby fidgets or cries; but actually many Quaker meetings are not disturbed by anything short of a full-on yell and are very pleased to have the baby there.

FML25 Thu 21-Jul-11 17:08:48

Not every Quaker meeting has a viable children's class and if you can travel it's worth looking for one that does; but many will make arrangements for childcare if you ring the contact number a day or two ahead of time. has a postcode finder for Quaker meetings. Sorry to be so gungho...

Terraviva Thu 21-Jul-11 22:08:23

Thanks for your insight FML25! It's great to hear from someone who is a Quaker, and I'm reassured to know that the majority of Quakers don't identify themselves as Christians. (No offence meant to any Christians!!)

Sounds like I should get myself along a meeting... smile

TigerseyeMum Sat 23-Jul-11 22:54:59

FML25 Thank you for that explanation, I am also interested in Quakers (we have a Quaker house down the road from here) and I would also describe myself as someone who is non-Christian but I can appreciate the morality of Jesus and the validity of the discussion contained in biblical tradition.

I think a lot can be learnt from Jesus (whoever he actually was) just as a lot can be learned from many philosophers. I have never come across anyone who shares this view though.

I would love to go to a meeting but would be far to shy to do so blush

FML25 Sun 24-Jul-11 20:11:30

TigerseyeMum: if you feel like telling me where in the country you live (no obligation!) I can take you; I live in west London, have a cottage in County Durham, frequently visit Exeter and friends in many parts! I also help with a Monday evening programme at Friends House, bang opposite Euston, which is targeted at people who just want to know a bit more about Quakers. There is also an open air meeting for worship at Speakers Corner (Hyde Park) at 14:00 on the last Sunday of every month; we take a bit of spotting but you can then just join the small circle for 45 mins.

Also look out for brand new book Being a Quaker by Geoffrey Durham; for the first several months of going to Hampstead Meeting he fled out of the door before anyone could ask him anything...

Again apologies for being so gungho. I just would hate anyone to think that having no theology and being allergic to creeds meant they couldn't be religious.

TigerseyeMum Sun 24-Jul-11 21:08:29

Thank you FML25, that is very kind of you. There is a Friends house literally 5 minutes walk from my house. I may saunter past one Sunday and see if it looks welcoming smile

I sat in an actual church today and it was lovely and peaceful. The windows were amazing.

Terraviva Fri 29-Jul-11 17:26:45

TigersEye - There are quite a lot of people wandering about who view Jesus as a great role model or philosopher or prophet. I'm one of them smile

FML I live in London and have been planning to go to the Friend's House at Euston. What's the Monday evening programme? I'll have a look for that book as well...

MargotQuaker Sun 31-Jul-11 17:28:55

Quaker Quest. Turn up at 1830 for nibbles and drinks, formal programme runs 1900 to 2100. Topics (one per week but it does not matter where you start or stop): Quakers and Worship, Qs and Peace, Qs and God, Qs and Equality, Qs and Jesus, Qs and Simplicity, and then a "special", shortly to be Qs, mental health and addiction. Panel of 3, each talks for two doses of 6 minutes each. 15 mins small groups, 15 mins question and answer, 30 mins meeting for worship. More informal than it sounds. Every Monday except Bank Hols. I don't go quite every week, but if I'm there I'm likely to be the smallest female at 5 feet.

Runs less often all over the UK, see

cardibach Thu 01-Sep-11 11:44:52

ANy Welsh Quakers out there? I would characterise myself as spiritual but disliking organised religion. Quakers seem less orgasnised than most groups (in a good way) I don't think I'm expressing this well..

Terraviva Sun 04-Sep-11 17:47:03

Hi all. Thought I'd report back to let you know that I've been to 2 Quaker meetings now and absolutely loved them. Everyone was really nice & friendly. As I walked through the door they gave me a leaflet about 'Your first Meeting' that explained everything. I was a bit worried that sitting in silence for an hour would be difficult but it flew by. I found it to to be a very moving experience. Afterwards there was coffee, tea, biscuits and interesting chat. Nobody pushed anything on me. When I said to one guy that I'd been 'spiritually shopping around' for quite a while, but that it had all been through reading so the Quaker meeting was the first spiritual 'group' I'd been to and that I thought it was great, he laughed and said that I should keep looking around and not feel the need the 'buy the first pair of boots you try on in the shop'...!! Such an open minded group of people. Exactly what I was looking for.

Margot I'll be starting Quaker Quest soon and will look out for you smile

Cardibach You're expressing yourself just fine smile. Although I've only been to 2 meetings so far, I'd recommend you find out more about Quakers and go to a meeting. Have a look at their website

bellamom Mon 05-Sep-11 19:17:34

what happens at a quakers children meeting???

cardibach Tue 06-Sep-11 21:32:22

Thanks Terraviva . I have had a little internet search and have found a meeting near me. Perhaps I'll get up the courage next Sunday.

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