Quaker origins are Christian but we have no creed, no set of beliefs on which all Friends agree. Many members of Westminster meeting consider themselves Christian, and many do not. However, there are concerns on which Friends are in unity, resulting in testimonies on such topics as simplicity, equality, truth and integrity, and peace:
- There is something sacred in every person
- All people are equal before God
- Religion is about the whole of life
- We meet in stillness to discover a deeper sense of God’s presence
- True religion leads to respect for the earth and all life upon it
- Each person is unique, precious, a child of God
You can find more information, and request an enquirer’s pack, by visiting the website of Britain Yearly Meeting (the national body for Quakers in Britain.)
You are welcome to attend our Meetings for Worship, whatever your beliefs or religion. Our form of worship is based on silent prayerful communal waiting on God.
Worship begins when the first person enters the room and takes a seat. We come together in God’s presence, gathering initially in silence. Out of the silence, one of us may feel compelled by the Spirit to speak: we call this vocal ministry. After a pause, in which the silent communion is re-established, another Friend may be led to speak.
Meeting for Worship is not, however, the place for discussion or debate. If the ministry does not “speak to your condition”, let it pass, and seek to become still again.
The end of the meeting is signalled by the elders shaking hands. After the close of Meeting, the Clerk (or one of the elders) gives out notices. We do not have any paid ministers. Quakers believe in “the priesthood of all believers”.
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) was founded in 1652 by George Fox and others. There are now about 300,000 Quakers world-wide in over 80 Yearly Meetings (Yearly Meetings often cover a single country).
Britain Yearly Meeting covers England, Scotland and Wales. It has about 27,000 members and attenders, and some 500 local Meetings, of which Westminster is one.
Quaker Meetings for Worship have been held in Westminster weekly since 1655. Former Meeting Houses were in Pall Mall, the Strand and near to Westminster Abbey. The current Meeting House was damaged by wartime bombs, and re-built in the 1950s.
For a more detailed history of Quakers around the world, check out this Wikipedia article.