About the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Bangor Friends gather together on Sundays and Tuesdays – and sometimes on other days – for what we call ‘Meeting for Worship’.
Most Friends use such expressions as ‘that of God in every one’, ‘inner light’, and ‘spiritual journey’. Many of us find inspiration in the life of Jesus of Nazareth and in the wise teaching and the lives of men and women of other faiths and cultures.
The conviction that there is ‘that of God’ in everyone leads us to have reverence for all life and thus oppose anything that diminishes life – war, violence, oppression, injustice, exploitation of the environment, and materialistic values.
We are not required to subscribe to any creeds or any particular forms of belief; the emphasis throughout is on personal experience. In the 17th century George Fox, the originator of the Quaker movement, challenged his contemporaries with the words: ‘You will say “Christ saith this, and the apostles say this” but what canst thou say?’
As individuals we may differ in the forms of words which we find helpful and in the images which we choose to employ. It does not follow, however, that ‘anything goes’. There is a commitment to the values and guidance accumulated over three centuries from a wide range of Quaker writings. (These are available in book form from Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ, under the title Quaker Faith and Practice).
Another example of such guidance is the postscript addressed to ‘the brethren of the north’ by the elders of Balby Quaker meeting in 1656. It runs:
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.