“Do you take part as often as you can in meetings for church affairs? Are you familiar enough with our church government to contribute to its disciplined processes? Do you consider difficult questions with an informed mind as well as a generous and loving spirit? Are you prepared to let your insights and personal wishes take their place alongside those of others or be set aside as the meeting seeks the right way forward? If you cannot attend, uphold the meeting prayerfully.”
Photograph by Jon Davey
About Quakers and Quakerism
WHO ARE THE QUAKERS?
We hope these films give an idea of Quaker lives and beliefs:
From their beginnings, Quakers have been actively involved in social justice and reform. Such activities have drawn many of us to this faith community and in Bristol, Friends – as we call ourselves - are involved in prison reform, in resolving conflict non-violently, in outreach with homeless people, campaigning against the arms trade, green issues and many other causes.
But funnily enough, silence is at the centre of what we call a meeting for worship, from which we draw our fellowship and strength. We sit round in a circle for an hour and wait to be moved to speak. Some of us believe in God and follow the example and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and would say God’s Spirit inspires us to speak and act, or indeed, to listen and wait. Others – people who don’t feel easy about Christian religious language for example - would put it differently, but we share this sitting and waiting, even if we’re very broad minded when it comes to beliefs.
One thing almost all of us believe is that everyone has the ‘inner light’ within them. It’s a question of showing it or finding it. It’s a belief that gives us hope and compassion. So we welcome people who are seeking; a sense of inner peace, of fellowship with fellow travellers; people with questions or a yearning for meaning that the consumer world doesn’t offer.
We hold certain values: being truthful and honest in all our dealings; believing that all people are of equal worth; living simply - not cluttering up our lives unnecessarily; seeking peace and working for reconciliation and looking after our environment. We’re not saints - far from it - but we try to live out these values in our everyday lives.
We like to see ourselves as non-materialistic people who talk straight, are practical, who value community, are suspicious of rules, bosses and hierarchy and we like to run our own affairs. We’re volunteers who share the running of the business side that comes with any organisation which owns buildings and deals with money, much of it given away. And the business is also conducted in as calm and worshipful a manner as possible and, like any group, we have our differences.
There are seven meetings in and around Bristol. Some are small, some large and they all share this way of worship.
The Meetings are at Thornbury, Portishead, Central (St Jude’s), Redland, Horfield, Bedminster and Frenchay Click here for local meetings
There was a time when we were outwardly quiet, grey and reserved about communicating. We’re more confident now and think we have a powerful, warm and motivating way of life to offer, and always plenty to learn from those who attend and engage with us. You are most welcome.
(Last update: June 24, 2018)