Who are the Quakers?

The Religious Society of Friends began in the religious turmoil of England in the 1650s. Founder George Fox's insight was that anyone could directly know God's guidance. The Quakers dispensed with public affirmations and rituals, meeting in silence to experience God's presence.

What do Quakers believe?

Quakerism has been called an "alternative Christianity." The first Quakers were deeply committed Christians, and Fox's prophetic message was "there is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition".

Quakers understand that the light of God is present in every person. People from every culture and tradition can experience God's leading. The first Friends maintained that there have been "Christians" throughout history, and among peoples who never heard of the historical Jesus.

Thus, universalism is an old theme among Friends. Christianity is one of many expressions of humanity's striving toward the Absolute. Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, agnostics, and others can be found in Friends' meetings, and their writings and ideas are honored. But many Quakers are very orthodox in their Christian belief, and would not grant equal status to any other tradition.

We believe that a creed is superfluous, and that slavish adherence to any scripture is misguided.. God's grace is just as available to us now as it was to the scripture writers.

Quakers place less emphasis on theology than many other religious groups. We do not dwell much on themes of sin and redemption.. Quakers have in common some values and practices: meeting for worship and testimonies (discussed later), and acknowledgment of the Light in each person.

One insight into Quaker belief goes this way: When Quakers sing hymns, why do they go so slowly? Because they're reading ahead to see if they agree with the words.

What happens at Meeting for Worship?

Some Friends' meetings are much like typical Protestant services, but the Stevens Point Meeting is of the "unprogrammed" type described here.

Unprogrammed Meeting for Worship must appear strange to a newcomer. People gather in a room and sit silently. From time to time, one or another member of the group may speak a few sentences. Or the entire hour may pass without a word being spoken.

Some participants may be praying silently, some may be meditating, others are thinking. But the feeling is not the same as if each were alone. We recall Jesus's statement that he will be present whenever two or three are gathered together.

After a while, a feeling may develop that a divine presence has settled over the group. When this happens, any spoken message seems to flow seamlessly from, and strengthen, the silence.

Friends bring away from meeting a sense of renewal and divine love. For some of us it becomes a necessity of life. Words do not describe it; the experience is self-defining.

How do Quakers live in the world?

Years ago, Friends practiced a limited separation from society, wearing "plain" clothing and speaking distinctively. Today's Friends try to witness to our beliefs through our actions.

We use a series of testimonies to guide our actions. The best-known is the peace testimony. Because we believe there is something of the divine in each person, it is intolerable to commit violence. Another testimony is the equality of all in the sight of God. Thus we have a long history of egalitarianism with respect to sex, race, and class. The simplicity testimony moves us to avoid excessive materialism.
Friends are known for our distinctive decision-making process. We go beyond democracy and attempt to find unity, by seeking divine guidance. Our process has proven to be a gift to the wider world.


The Religious Society of Friends is a diverse group that includes a range of Christians, believers in other religions, and universalists. We emphasize immediate experience over formalism, Light over creeds. We practice silent meeting for worship, communing with each other and God. Our testimonies move us to attempt to live simply and nonviolently, and to involve ourselves in social action to aid all people.
Stevens Point Friends Meeting invites you to join us at Meeting for Worship, 10:00 a.m. every Sunday at the Newman Parish Catholic Center, 2108 Fourth Avenue, Stevens Point.

Child care is provided, and religious instruction for children takes place on the first and third Sundays of each month.  We also share coffee and snacks on those Sundays.

Questions?  Please call 715 344-2593.

 updated by Will Stites 2005-06-20 

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