These are some of the questions people ask of us:
Q. Why are you called Quakers?
A. Early members of the Religious Society of Friends called themselves children of the light or friends of the truth. The nickname Quakers was given us by others, who said that Friends sometimes trembled or quaked with religious zeal. In fact, a good sign for whether or not friends are really moved to deliver a spoken message during meeting for worship is whether or not the suppressing of that message would cause minor physical trembling, i.e. quaking.
The formal name of the Quakers is now “The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)”.
Q. Aren’t Quakers pacifists? Would Quakers defend themselves if attacked?
A. The word pacifist implies inaction and inactivity, which are not part of Quaker beliefs. We believe that we can be active in promoting truth, peace, and love to all peoples. We also believe that the Christian commandment that “thou shalt not kill” means just that, and that we should avoid, to the highest degree we can, killing or maiming our fellow human beings.
Q. What do Quakers believe in?
A. Quakers believe in many things, but the primary belief is that there is ‘that of God in everyone’. This is an expression that means that Quakers believe that there is a measure of the divine in each human being, a spark or inner voice that we can attend to. Our mode of silent worship is based on listening for that inner voice to manifest itself, and thus lead and guide our lives.