Quakers (Society of Friends)

The Religious Society of Friends, also called Quakers, is a movement of Christian origin beginning in England in the 17th century. Most Friends would regard themselves as Christians and be recognised by other Christians, but some would reject the label. Friends generally dislike labels and doctrines. They do not have creeds, clergy or sacraments. They do not regard one place as more sacred than another: the place where they habitually worship is usually called a “meeting house”. Their worship consists mostly of sitting in silence. Participants may speak, read something or say a prayer only when they feel a strong inner compulsion to do so. Their meeting for worship usually lasts exactly an hour, and is deemed to have ended when two leaders shake hands. Apart from this simple act, there is no ritual.

Friends are radical believers in simplicity, integrity and equality. Most of them are pacifists, and they have usually been in the vanguard of movements such as the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, prison reform, the acceptance of homosexuality, etc.

There are about 100,000 Friends, half of whom are in the United States.

For Friends' Meeting Houses in the Faith Wales area, click here.


Information

The Chaplaincy to the University of Glamorgan provides the following information from its own researchers. Each page has been checked by the chaplaincy advisor from the relevant faith group. Within every major religion, there are differences of opinion between leaders, and between leaders and followers. We only aim to provide an overview.