As Friends developed their understanding of Jesus’ teachings, they came to see that a radical stance had to be taken in some aspects of personal religious and public life.
Quakers feel that faith needs to be put it into practice. We believe that there is something of God in everyone, and we try to respond to all people in a way that lives out that belief. This means treating everyone with respect whatever their beliefs, race, age, gender or sexual orientation. It also means working towards making the world a better place. Quakers have been involved in helping slaves, prisoners, the mentally ill, refugees and war casualties.
These beliefs and practices have grown into a family of testimonies which represent shared core values to be lived out, and wrestled with in all their complexities.
Some of these testimonies are:
Equality and justice
Quakers believe everyone is equal. This inspires us to try to change the systems that cause injustice and that stop us being genuine communities. It also means working with people who suffer injustice, such as prisoners of conscience and asylum seekers. We were campaigning for independent juries in the 17th-century, for marriage equality in the 21st, and for a range of things in between.
Quakers are perhaps best known for our peace testimony. It comes from our belief that love is at the centre of existence and that all human life is of equal worth. It has led Quakers to refuse military service and work creatively for peace. This has ranged from practical work in areas affected by violent conflict to developing alternatives to violence at all levels. This could be personal or international.
Truth and integrity
Quakers try to live according to the deepest truth we know, and we connect most deeply to this in the stillness of worship. This means speaking the truth at all times, including to people in positions of power. As we are guided by integrity, so we expect to see it in public life.
Simplicity and sustainability
Quakers are concerned about excess and waste in our society. We want to make sure our use of natural resources is sustainable. We try to live simply and to find space for the things that really matter: the people around us, the natural world, and our experience of stillness.
In Settle, we are actively involved in promoting peace and justice. Individuals and groups do this through a range of activities in accordance with their own vocations and skills. Many of our members are active in the Justice and Peace group in Settle. The Justice and Peace group meets at Settle Meeting House the second Wednesday of every month to hear talks and presentations on related issues.
Settle Quakers are members of Churches Together in Settle and District.