Who are the Quakers?
Quakers hold to a way of life rather than a dogma or creed. ‘Quakers’ started as a nickname – they call themselves the Religious Society of Friends or Friends Church – but they are now generally known as Quakers or Friends. The Quaker movement began in England in the 1650s, when its founder, George Fox, gathered together those who sought to live and worship in accordance with the living spirit of Christ. Worldwide, Quakers now number around 340,000, with the majority in Africa and the Americas. As part of its worldwide religious witness, this small group of people maintains two offices, in Geneva and New York. They work with the UN system on a wide range of issues, linking international policy goals with grassroots perspectives.
Quakers aim to live simply and truthfully, working for a more just, equitable and peaceful world. Their commitment to non-violence in thought, word and deed is based on living out the word of God, as known in the life and teachings of Jesus, as well as from the word of God known in their own hearts and demonstrated in the lives of others. It can be described, in the words of the early Quaker leader George Fox, as "answering that of God in every one", or as seeking the inward light in each person. The Quaker faith is rooted in Christianity. Many Friends have learned from the witness of other faiths. Both locally and internationally Friends work with other religious and secular organisations.