Newcomers

Welcome to new Friends and those we are yet to meet!

There is always a first time.

As Quakers we find great joy in welcoming new people to our meetings. Whether you are a Friend visiting, or an enquirer looking to see what we are all about, whether you come several times, or just the once we are always happy to welcome you. 

If you are visiting us for the first time, do feel free to contact us ahead of your visit so we know to expect you. Or just drop by.  Our Meeting for Worship is usually an hour long and is followed by tea and coffee and catching up with each other.  If you aren't sure about staying for the whole hour, you are free to stay for as short a time as you wish - or just pop in and say hello afterwards and have a drink with us. 

"walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one." - George Fox

Quakers are from all from a variety of backgrounds.  Most Quakers in Britain are not actually born into Quaker families, but find they way here - often having been spiritual seekers for a while.  Some of us are Anglican and Quaker, Catholic and Quaker, Buddhist and Quaker.   We are diverse, we are inclusive. 
We welcome YOU whoever you are.  
Some of us have a faith expressed in traditional words and concepts. Others of us are not quite sure what we believe, or are unsure about how best to express what we believe, but being Quakers gives us the chance to work it out for ourselves, with Friends to help.
Quakers don't have a creed; we speak instead from what we have experienced.  These personal experiences have helped us to shape our group expressions of faith which we call Testimonies.  These Testimonies are Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, Stewardship of the Earth.

You can read more about S-P-I-C-E-S The Quaker Testimonies by clicking the link. 

Quaker's don't have a book, or set of rules that we follow.  Though some of us find the stories in the Bible and what it tells us about Jesus inspiring and comforting. 

We have a small booklet called Advices and Queries, which is part of the larger volume - Quaker Faith and Practice.  
These two are a compendium of Quaker wisdom that help us scrutinise ourselves, reflect on life, and decided for ourselves how we should live our lives, and individual part of a spiritual community.

We would like to share with you the first part of Advices and Queries, so that you might see for yourself how rooted Quakers are in diversity, how we look for and celebrate the gifts and talents of others, how we respect and are considerate of the different conclusions and understandings that we have. 

"Advices and queries are not a call to increased activity by each individual Friend but a reminder of the insights of the Society. Within the community there is a diversity of gifts. We are all therefore asked to consider how far the advices and queries affect us personally and where our own service lies. There will also be diversity of experience, of belief and of language. Friends maintain that expressions of faith must be related to personal experience. Some find traditional Christian language full of meaning; some do not. Our understanding of our own religious tradition may sometimes be enhanced by insights of other faiths. The deeper realities of our faith are beyond precise verbal formulation and our way of worship based on silent waiting testifies to this.

Our diversity invites us both to speak what we know to be true in our lives and to learn from others. Friends are encouraged to listen to each other in humility and understanding, trusting in the Spirit that goes beyond our human effort and comprehension. So it is for the comfort and discomfort of Friends that these advices and queries are offered, with the hope that we may all be more faithful and find deeper joy in God’s service.

Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all, with the measure of light which is pure and holy, may be guided; and so in the light walking and abiding, these may be fulfilled in the Spirit, not from the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.

Postscript to an epistle to ‘the brethren in the north’ issued by a meeting of elders at Balby, 1656"

Recommended Reading

Being a Quaker - a guide for newcomers
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0852453063.  971
157 pages
A good short introduction for newcomers to Quakerism. Chapters include "What is a Quaker Meeting?"
"After the Meeting", "Led by the Spirit","Meeting for Worship for Business", "The Wider Quaker Community", "Deeds Not Words".
 

Living the Quaker Way.
ISBN: 9781907123276
34 pages 

It explores why we do the things that we do in the way that we do them. 

Coming Home
by Gerald Priestland
ISBN 0852453493

“One thing you do not have to leave on the peg in the Meeting House vestibule is your intellectual integrity.”

This is something of a Quaker classic.  Gerald Priestland came to Quakers late in life; his book borne of personal experience addresses some common questions raised by those who are wondering if Quakers might be for them.