What are Friends?

The movement which resulted in the Religious Society of Friends arose in seventeenth century England after the height of the Puritan revolution. In this period of great religious ferment and seeking, when old church forms were being questioned and many people were reading the Bible for the first time, Quakers sought through direct inward experience to find again the life and power of early Christianity.

From Faith and Practice (2nd ed), p. 3, 1993, North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

Quakers believe in the Inner Light, sometimes referred to as “that of God” within each person. They also believe in the direct accessibility of the Divine Spirit for each worshipper. Thus there is no priest or clergy. Friends gather for worship in silence, with a sense of shared responsibility and of waiting in readiness to be called to a vocal ministry. Out of a faith that in each worshipper lies an ability to respond to the Spirit within, to each other and to the needs of the world around us may come a call to service growing out of worship.

From Handbook for Grand Rapids Friends Meeting, 2004, p. 2.