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 suppression of that message might cause minor physical trembling, i.e. quaking.
Q. What do you actually do in worship?
A. Mostly we sit in silence, listening to that "still, small voice" that exists in all of us. But the silence is not total. Friends will stand and deliver a short message based on what they heard in the silence, or from another friend who previously spoke out of the silence. We do not normally have any music, but people are welcome to stand and lead the meeting in a song.
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 "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.
For more information, see the page on Our Beliefs.