Quakerism is a religion and a way of life. We more formally call ourselves The Religious Society of Friends.
In Europe and the Middle East, most Friends hold meetings for worship in the Liberal tradition, where they listen in silence for inspiration to give ministry. Friends try to live their lives to testimonies of truth, equality, peace and simplicity and have no creed or set of rules. This is more important to them than holding specific beliefs. Theologically, they represent a spread of witness in terms of Christianity, with some Friends and Meetings being more focussed on a traditional understanding of Christ’s role in humanity’s salvation and others taking a Universalist perspective. In recent years, new people have come into membership of the Religious Society of Friends without any Christian background – or from other religious traditions – and some find Christian language and references challenging.
Quakers emerged in England in 1652 and rapidly spread to the rest of Britain, Ireland and then North America. It now thrives in Latin America, many parts of Africa and around the world. Different worship styles and theologies have developed from these early beginnings. Outside Europe and the Middle East most Friends identify as Evangelical Christians, belonging to Friends Churches. They hold programmed services and employ Pastors. Other Quakers, usually called Conservative Friends, maintain the silent, unprogrammed tradition of worship, and also regard the Bible and Christian teachings as the bedrock of their faith. There are some Friends’ Evangelical Churches and Conservative Meetings in Europe. At present, they are not affiliated to EMES, but we can supply contact details for them to enquirers.
Learn more about the work of Quakers in the World.
See our list of meetings to find a meeting near you in Europe. All Quaker meetings welcome newcomers.
Meeting the Spirit is a booklet giving an introduction to Quaker beliefs and practices. Paper versions of Meeting the Spirit in a number of languages are available from the EMES Executive Secretary.
If you want more information on EMES and Quakers in Europe and the Middle East, including a free copy of Among Friends, please fill out the form below.
This enquirer’s form is for people in Europe or the Middle East only.