The Quaker way has its roots in Christianity and finds inspiration in the Bible and in the life and teachings of Jesus. However we also find meaning and value in the teachings of other faiths and do not consider our way to be the only way.
We can trace our origins back to the 17th century and the English Civil War. It was a time of unrest and change in England. Quakers were one of several groups who challenged many of the beliefs and ideas of the time.
The founder of Quakerism was George Fox who was born in Leicestershire in 1621. He was largely self-educated and attended parish church regularly with his parents until the age of nineteen when he became dissatisfied with the religious practices and beliefs of those around him. This led to a personal crisis and he left his job and home to go looking for spiritual nourishment.
In 1647 he came to the belief that people could have a personal experience of God, which he called the 'inner light'. He started travelling all over the country preaching to people and converting them to 'Friends of the light'. He was often punished and imprisoned for preaching his radical vision. This vision included denouncing the need for priests or churches, as they prevented a direct and personal experience of God, and expressing the incompatibility of belief in God and warfare.
If you'd like to find out more about George Fox and Quaker history please follow the links on the right hand side of this page.
Speaking out against violent conflict and work to tackle its root causes has always been central to Quakerism. Throughout history people have chosen to act out their testimony to peace in different ways such as refusing military service, campaigning against nuclear weapons, and engaging in diplomatic work in areas of conflict. “We are called to live in the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion of all wars”. (Advices & Queries 31.)