Being young and Quaker means being part of a nationwide network of like-minded Friends, with opportunities to meet people of a similar age at events during the year. Find out more about what’s going on in your age group at www.yqspace.org.uk and read up on what other young Friends say about being a Quaker here…
People of all ages are welcome to our Meetings. We can also provide a separate ‘children’s meeting’ with creative activities suitable for any young children who would prefer not to stay in the main meeting for the whole hour. It’s great if we know you’re looking for this beforehand – please get in touch if you’d like us to plan something.
Quakers in Yorkshire Junior Holidays
A chance for young people to meet together, get to know each other and spend time away from their family in a Quaker group, Junior Holidays are short adventure breaks open to all children between the ages of 7 and 13 – whether from a Quaker background or not. Sadly these meet-ups had to be cancelled this year due to the Covid pandemic but an online event is planned for the autumn. For more details, see the Quakers in Yorkshire website.
What’s the point of a Quaker Meeting..?
Heard about Quakers but not sure what we’re for? Wondering why we don’t have hymns, prayers and crosses everywhere? Here’s a simple guide to the way we do things and what we think we’ve got to offer the world…
Quakers, God and faith
Quakerism began in the 17th century as a different way of expressing the Christian faith that was pretty much held by everyone in the country at the time. The difference with the established churches was that instead of religious ideas being handed down by priests and other authority figures, Quakers believed each individual could find truth by searching their own consciences. They began talking about finding ‘that of God in everyone’, and found this made it possible to look for the good that exists in every person regardless of their background, philosophy or track-record.
Although most Quakers today are from a Christian background, some have other faiths and some don’t hold a religious faith at all. That’s possible because we don’t follow a particular set of beliefs – just values, inspired by Christian ideas but of universal significance. These are things like truth, integrity, equality, peace and simplicity. For all Quakers today, it’s important to look for the ‘light in everyone’, just as the first Quakers talked about ‘God’ being in everyone.
Read more about Quakers and faith…
Quakers and worship
Not having a set belief system means that when we meet to ‘worship’, we don’t find it necessary to follow complicated patterns of prayer or rituals. Instead for Quakers the purpose of our meetings is to create a space in which we put aside the stresses and challenges of life and share time with other people in the simplest possible way – sitting silently, noticing our thoughts and listening to the inspiration that comes from both ourselves and the other people present. Sometimes someone will speak for a short while about an issue that’s important to them and that they feel others would benefit from hearing. For most of the time, however, the meetings are silent. This might sound strange or intimidating but people often find the sense of space and acceptance of everyone in the room whoever they are makes for a unique and valuable experience that contrasts with the demands of the hectic world outside.
A Quaker Meeting starts when two people have sat down around about the time the meeting was advertised for. It’s ok to leave at any point, or to get up for a toilet break or a breath of fresh air. And it’s ok to get up and say something, as long as it’s respectful… and short (we like brevity!) At the end of the Meeting, one of the regulars will shake the hand of the person next to them, which is the signal for everyone who wants to to shake hands with other people around them. There might be some notices and any visitors are welcomed to introduce themselves (not obligatory!). Then it’s time for tea and biscuits – and cake if someone’s been baking!
Read more about Quaker Worship…
Quakers and activism
Quakers have challenged society to change for the better throughout the history of the movement – whether by recognising women’s right to hold responsible roles in the 17th century, campaigning against slavery in the 18th, creating good quality workers’ housing in the 19th, standing against militarism in the 20th and recognising gay marriage and other LGBTQ+ rights in the 21st.
Today, Quakers are individually involved in campaigns against the arms trade, torture, modern slavery and environmental destruction. This activism, like that of many people, is informed by the values that come from personal faith or philosophy. Some stories of recent action by Quakers can be read on the Quakers in Britain website.