On Silent Worship and Quakerism
Quakers have traditionally believed that through silent worship together, each person can receive the gift of God’s presence and the light of God’s truth. Some Quakers use different images or concepts for God, such as “Spirit” or “the Light”. We believe that each of us has access to this Divine Spirit, and that our personal experiences of the Divine, as tested in community together, hold authority in the spiritual life. We believe that each person can hold direct communion with God, and that we do not need our spiritual lives to be mediated by religious leaders, rites, or outwards sacraments. Meeting together in group worship helps to clarify our vision and to inspire and guide us.
Quakers emphasize what we do together, more than what we believe. Because we ascribe to no formal creed, we focus on our shared experiences in silent, unprogrammed Meeting for Worship and in our careful, deliberate decision making processes.
Through the centuries, Friends have found that certain values help us in our efforts to live in accordance with the Truth we’ve discovered together in worship. Living simply, and upholding the values of peace (creative nonviolence), integrity, community, equality, and stewardship, help us to hear the will of God and to live according to it.
"The Religious Society of Friends was explicitly Christian in its origins. Today, many Friends consider ourselves Christians, and many do not. There are nontheist Friends, as well. Still, with Baltimore Yearly Meeting, we can affirm, “'Each person must prayerfully seek individual guidance and must follow the Light found within. Each will be helped by studying the developing interpretations of God in the Bible and in the ideas of the great spiritual leaders of all faiths. Help may be found as one ponders the life and the teaching of Jesus. The Divine Spirit became so wholly Jesus’s own that his teaching, example, and sacrificial life reveal the will of God to humanity.'"
Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s 2013 Resource to Faith & Practice