Quaker Testimonies

Let your life speak

Quaker Testimonies

The Lancashire Central and North Area Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

Quaker Testimonies in Action

We are all the poorer for the crushing of one man, since the dimming of the light anywhere darkens us all.

— Michael Sorensen, 1986, quoted in Quaker Faith and Practice.

Read the text of Minute 36 from Britain Yearly Meeting 2011 regarding Sustaining the Natural World.

See the text of Minute 23 from Britain Yearly Meeting 2011 regarding Economic Justice.

Go to the Quaker Peace and Social Witness website to see what Quakers are up to in Britain and around the World.

Have a look at the Northern Friends Peace Board web–site to get a Quaker perspective, and ideas for action, on the war in Afghanistan and nuclear weapons.

Read what The Quakers and Business Group have to say about Truth (‘Speaking the truth in business includes honesty in all our dealings’), Equality (‘Do we rise from our seats for the boss but not their secretary?’) and other Quaker Testimonies in the world of work.

For some ideas on economic justice and ethical trade, have a look at the Better World Economics newsletter.

At Britain Yearly Meeting in York in 2009, Friends were ‘ . . . led to treat same sex committed relationships in the same way as opposite sex marriages, reaffirming our central insight that marriage is the Lord's work and we are but witnesses’. See the full text of the minute passed at York or get more information about this decision, which might be seen as an expression of our Testimony on Justice and Equality, from the Quakers in Britain website.

For an alternative expression of the Quaker Testimonies and how they are being applied in one particular educational setting visit the Green Mountain School website in Vermont.

Quaker Testimonies
Unlike many religious groups, Quakers have no written creed. What we do have however is ‘Testimonies’. These are basic statements of belief which we like to think underpin our daily actions. Testimonies are based upon our personal spiritual experience and therefore do evolve over time. But they also have long–established roots: the Testimony to Peace, for example, can be traced at least as far back as the reign of Charles II when Quakers declared ‘We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fighting with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretence whatsoever’. There are four main traditional Quaker Testimonies, to Truth, Justice, Simplicity and Peace. Sometimes you will see a fifth one concerned with the Environment (which is often included in the Testimony to Simplicity). The following descriptions have been taken from the pages of the Quakers in Britain web–site.
Truth and Integrity
Quakers try to live according to the deepest truth we know, which we believe comes from God. This means speaking the truth to all, including people in positions of power. Integrity is the guiding principle we set for ourselves and expect in public life.
Justice, Equality and Community
Quakers recognise the equal worth and unique nature of every person. This means working to change the systems that cause injustice and hinder true community. It also means working with people who are suffering from injustice, such as prisoners and asylum seekers.
Quakers are concerned about the excesses and unfairness of our consumer society, and the unsustainable use of natural resources. We try to live simply and to give space for the things that really matter: the people around us, the natural world, our experience of God.
Perhaps Quakers are best known for our peace testimony. This derives from our conviction that love is at the heart of existence and all human beings are equal in the eyes of God, and that we must live in a way that reflects this. It has led Quakers to refuse military service, and to become involved in a wide range of peace activities from practical work in areas affected by violent conflict to the development of alternatives to violence at all levels from personal to international.