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What Do We Believe?

Quakers, also known as the Religious Society of Friends, believe that every person can have an inward, immediate experience of the Divine. Quakerism arose as a Christian sect in mid-17th-century England, during the time of great religious and political upheaval, that sought to break with the established Church of England.  It has evolved to find spiritual truths in many faith traditions. Friends have no dogma nor officially mandated doctrine. We believe that the Spirit of God is available to everyone. We gather in expectant silence with other seekers, open to the movement of the Spirit in ourselves individually and in our worshipping community.


Friends use many terms or phrases to refer to God:


the Light Within     the Inner Light     the Christ Within


the Inward Teacher     the Great Spirit     the Seed 


the Spirit of Truth     the Guide   the Divine Presence     

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Our Core Beliefs

The YouTube Video "9 Core Quaker Beliefs" , represents an ongoing effort to reflect the collectively held, core beliefs of Quakers in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, of which Birmingham Meeting is a part.  We hope that identifying these widely held beliefs will help us to better communicate who we are.

Quaker Testimonies

As individuals and as a group we find that listening to and following God:

  • affects what we do in our personal lives

  • affects what we believe

  • affects what changes we work for in the wider world

Our lives bear witness to the truths revealed by the Light Within. The ways we

have found to live and act are what Quakers call “Testimonies.” These outward

expressions of our inward experience, or “Testimonies,” are

SIMPLICITY - focusing on what is truly important and letting other things fall away

PEACE - seeking justice and healing for all people; taking away the causes of war

INTEGRITY - living as a whole people who act on what we believe

COMMUNITY - supporting one another in our faith journeys, in our joys and sorrows

EQUALITY - treating everyone, everywhere as equally precious to God

STEWARDSHIP - valuing and respecting all of God’s creation in our care for the earth

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Faith & Practice

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting periodically publishes its book Faith & Practice of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. The newest edition is intended to be a guide, and not a rule, for our members, attenders and others who seek to understand how Friends in our yearly meeting express our faith in our lives, our communities and our organizations. Click here for an online version of Faith & Practice. 

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