Invited to stillness in National Quaker Week

By agency reporter
September 30, 2017

Thousands of Quakers across Britain are marking the eleventh annual Quaker Week (30 September to 8 October 2017) to invite people to discover the faith that shapes their way of life. World Quaker Day is also on Sunday 1 October.

Across the country, Quakers are welcoming people who are exploring faith journeys to learn about the Quaker way. Everyone is welcome to Quaker meeting for worship, generally an hour, in deep gathered stillness. Any person may be moved to speak and may break the silence.

Worship leads Quakers to seek God in each other and to treat each person as unique and equal. Quakers believe that worship leads to witness and faith to action. Stillness and activism are hallmarks of a Quaker way of life.

Quakers are preparing events in their local meetings to speak on the theme, "In turbulent times…be a Quaker".

Alistair Fuller, Head of Ministry and Outreach for Quakers in Britain explains the invitation, "There can be little doubt that today we live in troubled and turbulent times. Throughout our history, rooted and nourished in the deep stillness of our worship, Quakers have sought to respond to turbulent times with compassion and courage. The same is true today and we invite you to discover more about the Quaker way and how our faith shapes how we live today."

Readers can follow an interactive timeline to learn how Quakers respond to turbulent times. A bold graphic shows a meandering river of equality, sustainability and peace, stillness, simplicity and truth, flowing calmly along until it cascades down a waterfall, through a timeline of key Quaker responses to turbulent times.

Led by faith, Quaker life-changing responses have included:

  • From 1758, Quakers worked to abolish slavery.
  • With the world embroiled in war, they worked for the legal right to conscientious objection – the right to say 'no' to killing.
  • With others, they evacuated children on the Kindertransport.
  • They campaigned for marriage equality.
  • In 2014, Quakers were the first church to divest from the fossil fuel industry.
  • And recently, worked at the United Nations to bring about a Treaty that could rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Today, Quakers like David Henshaw are led by faith to make a difference. He was arrested for his part in actions to try to stop the world's largest arms fair coming to London. He said, "I am outraged at Britain's hypocrisy in having a fair to sell bombs and guns when we see people, children, dying from the bullets and bombs that we've sold them. I did it because I'm getting old (I'm 87), I'm devoted to being a Quaker and I am determined to make a statement about this slipshod double-thinking."

* Follow #QuakerWeek for updates on what Quakers are doing around the country.

* See the interactive timeline here

* Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Around 23,000 people attend 478 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.

*Quakers in Britain


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