QUAKERS EMBRACE EVERYONE
In the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), people from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs embark together on a spiritual journey. Although their individual beliefs may vary, Quakers share a TESTIMONY OF EQUALITY based on the idea of a Divine presence in all people. A testimony is not a belief; it is committed action arising out of spiritual experience that describes the way that Friends testify or bear witness to their beliefs in their daily life.
THE TESTIMONY OF EQUALITY HAS GUIDED QUAKERS IN ACTIONS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR 400 YEARS.
The Divine presence in everyone is the source from which Quakers draw their strength to witness to human dignity, to work for peace and justice and to respect the earth and all its parts. Though some programmed Quaker meetings continue to struggle for unity around gender and sexual diversity, most unprogrammed Quaker Meetings, including all in Florida, have found unity in welcoming and supporting gender equality.
The Religious Society of Friends (used interchangeably with Quakers) began in England in the 17th Century. Early Friends sought to revive a form of primitive Christianity, without creed, outward sacraments, or paid clergy. In the course of Quaker history a variety of spiritual practices evolved as testimonies emerged which lead toward simplicity, equality, justice, nonviolence, peace, and stewardship of the earth.
Contemporary Quakerism is a movement which grew originally from a Christian base but does not now require adherence to a formal creed although most Quakers consider themselves pacifists and tend to be socially and politically liberal. Quaker practice includes two types of worship, programmed and unprogrammed. In unprogrammed Meetings for Worship, like all those in the Tampa Bay Area, worshippers gather together in silence without a minister to seek the Divine presence, speaking out of the stillness when led to do so by the movement of Spirit. Actions are agreed upon unanimously when the group comes to unity.
There are presently about 350,000 Quakers worldwide with many diverse branches including about 50% living in Africa. More than 1/5th of Friends Meetings are affiliated with Friends General Conference (FGC), the most tolerant and inclusive group of Quakers. In 2004 FGC wrote a formal gender equality minute (a unanimous resolution) acknowledging the past contributions of LGBTQC Quakers and affirming LGBTQC Quakers.
St. Petersburg Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) 130 19th Ave. SE
10:30 -11: Silent Worship and Youth 1st Day School
9:30-10:15/ Adult 1st Day School http://www.StPetersburgQuakers.org (727) 896-0310