About Quakers

What do Quakers believe? 

There’s an old joke which says if you get three lawyers together in a room, you’ll get four opinions. It has to be admitted that if you get three Quakers together in a room, you’ll probably get  six opinions, plus one or two more just to ensure nobody not present is feeling left out.  (from "So who are these Quakers anyway? Simon Gray)

Most Quakers would agree that we believe that there is ‘that of God’ in everyone. Some may hesitate about the use of the word ‘God’, but all would agree with the implication that everyone should be treated with respect. We have come to accept diversity amongst us in the words we use to express our beliefs, recognising that the Spirit is beyond human comprehension.

Because we are more concerned with the truth behind the words than with formal statements of belief, Quakers have always rejected creeds. Instead we have our written ‘Advices and Queries’, which are prompts to encourage us to reflect on how we are living, and our Testimonies, which are not written statements but are expressed through the issues with which Quakers are actively involved. The current Testimonies are for Peace, Equality and Justice, Truth and Integrity, Simplicity and Sustainability.

The Peace Testimony is the best known, as ever since their origin in the 17th century Quakers have been active in working for international peace and understanding. They are also well-known for their social work and as pioneers in education and penal reform. In recent years they have developed the Testimony to sustainability, arising from their work to realise the commitment they made in 2011 to become a low-carbon, sustainable community.

None of us would claim to have all the answers or that we don’t often fail; but we do claim that our continual search for that of God both in ourselves and in others, and our efforts to translate our faith into action, give a meaning and purpose to life, which enriches it and makes it an exciting journey.


Meeting for Worship is central to the life of Quaker communities. We gather together in silence with occasional ‘ministry’ if someone is moved to offer some thoughts or maybe to read from the bible or other spiritually inspired writing which is available in the Meeting room. Unlike other Christian churches we do not have any set service or offer the sacraments of communion or baptism. For us the inner commitment is the important thing and we do not feel the need for outward symbols.

Also because we believe in the equality of all, and that everyone has direct access to the Spirit of God, we do not have an ordained clergy. However one or more ‘Elders’ are appointed to serve for about three years to have a particular responsibility for the right holding of Meeting for Worship.

As we sit together in silent worship we become aware of the 'still small voice' within each one of us. So the whole Meeting is led into an experience of ‘communion with God’ – or whatever words we may use to describe this spiritual experience.

At Dorking the children come into Meeting for Worship at the beginning for a quarter of an hour, and return at the end to share their activities with us.  The Meeting for Worship usually lasts an hour, and ends when an Elder shakes hands with someone nearby.