FOUR hundred years after the birth of Quaker co-founder George Fox, celebrations are planned throughout 2024 to recognise that Quakers are still working for justice with peace.

There would almost certainly be no Quakers without Fox, born to a weaver and his wife in a small Leicestershire village in July 1624.and Inspired by the belief that God is present in all, he was one of several people who, in the wake of the English Revolution, formed groups calling for greater equality in religion.

Today the Quakers are the only one of these groups to still exist, in part thanks to Fox who, alongside his partner and co-worker Margaret Fell, built the structures that have sustained the movement. From these foundations, Quaker faith has supported many who question the status quo, and seek to change it.

Many people confuse the faith group with a well-known cereal brand, but anyone who has ever eaten a chocolate bar, been to an Oxfam shop or voted as a woman, has had their life influenced by the actions of Quakers.

From gender equality to advocating for free speech and religious liberty in the early days, Quakers went on to reject the slave trade on Christian grounds, and to campaign for its abolition.

Discriminated against in education and entrance to the professions, in the nineteenth century Quakers were best known for business. Although now largely separated from their Quaker origins, Cadbury’s, Clark’s, Fry’s and Rowntree’s are some of the names which live on.

In the twentieth century Quakers became better known for humanitarian and social change work. Amnesty International, Oxfam and Greenpeace are three of the groups that have Quakers among their co-founders.

Today Quakers are best known as people who work for peace and climate justice and celebrations of this continuing work are planned around the world.These will include an all-age party at the historic Arch Street Meet ing House in Philadelphia, a special exhibition at the Quaker Tapestry Museum in Kendal, a garden party at Margaret Fell’s home, Swarthmoor Hall in Ulverston, and many online courses and events.

* Information on all George Fox 400th birthday events here.

* Source: Quakers in Britain