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Who are the Quakers?

Our Quaker Beliefs

We emphasize the traditional Friends Testimonies of:  Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship  (S.P.I.C.E.S.).

SIMPLICITY

Use financial and natural resources carefully; keep life simple to live in harmony and alignment with the soul’s purpose.

PEACE

Seek elegant, simple solutions to problems or disagreements and make decisions by consensus or the “sense of the meeting.”

INTEGRITY

Let your life speak: treat others with respect and honesty.

Acknowledge interconnectedness and essential oneness.

COMMUNITY

Connect with all members of the community. Respect everyone and the idea that everyone has a piece of the truth. Gather in silent meeting for worship and listen to other people’s thoughts without judgment or comment.

EQUALITY

Respect different people and different ideas. Celebrate a rich community made up of many cultures.

STEWARDSHIP

Protect and care for the Earth in a sacred trust. Walk lightly on the Earth, recycle and reuse whenever possible, and reduce the amount of energy we consume. Promote environmental, economic, and social sustainability.

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Frequently Asked Questions &
Additional Resources

Do the terms "Friends" and "Quakers" mean the same thing?

Yes. Officially, we are "The Religious Society of Friends." However, the term "Quakers" started out 350 years ago as a nickname for Friends -- at first it was an insult, but then Friends adopted it and have used it ever since.

Are Friends Christian?

Yes. Friends began as a radical reform movement among Protestants in Britain in the mid-1600's. We proclaimed that "Christ has come to teach his people himself." 

Ok, but are ALL Friends Christian?

There's nobody at the top of the Friends movement to enforce theological conformity. As with all non-authoritarian religious movements, we have our liberals and our conservatives, and everything in between. Eugene Friends Church comes out of the evangelical Christian community of Quakers. We're decidedly Christian, but whether the evangelical tag still applies is less certain. 

Where does the Bible fit in?

The Bible has a central role in our discipleship and discernment. Most Friends agree with early Quaker theologian Robert Barclay that the Bible is "the only fit outward judge of controversies among Christians and that whatsoever doctrine is contrary unto their testimony may therefore justly be rejected as false." In general, Friends cherish and study the Bible but have varying views over interpretation.

What roles do women have in Quaker leadership?

Our goal is to select our leaders based on their spiritual gifts instead of their gender, race, education level, sexual orientation, etc. From the very beginning of the Quaker movement, women have been in leadership. Has the Society of Friends always honored this principle of total equality throughout its history? Not always, but at Eugene Friends Church, women are very active in leadership.

Who provides leadership for a Quaker congregation?

The Friends church is a gathering of people with Jesus at the center. We learn, and help each other learn, what it means to live—as individuals, families, and a church—a Christ-centered life.

Pastors help us by coordinating or encouraging our work, by teaching, and preaching, and by providing ways for the church to be open to the wider community. Elders are attentive to the emerging gifts of the people, work with the pastor to see what pastoral care and encouragement the people need, and help set priorities for the church. The presiding and recording clerks serve the church by chairing the meetings for business (where the church as an organization is governed) and recording the decisions. 

Among Friends, what does a pastor do?

In general, we don't distinguish between "laity" and "clergy." In a sense, we are all ministers, each with our own gifts. Most Friends churches have one or more pastors, who have particular responsibilities to preach, coordinate worship, arrange for pastoral care, and represent the church in the wider community. (Specific responsibilities are determined by individual Friends churches.) Friends churches may recognize individuals as "recorded ministers" whose spiritual gifts are reflected in various forms of public ministry. This is roughly equivalent to ordination.

Do I have to be a pacifist to be a Friend?

1n 1660, George Fox wrote, _"We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever; and this is our testimony to the whole world... the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all Truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ nor for the kingdoms of this world." _

Quakers still reject violence and war, although we sometimes disagree on exactly what that would mean in practical terms. During World War II, for example, some American Quakers did enlist and serve in combat. However, Quakers also became conscientious objectors and served as medics or volunteered in state-side forestry camps. In 1947, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded "on behalf of all Quakers" to the American Friends Service Committee and the British Friends Service Council for our rescue and feeding operations during and after World War II.

Which organizations does Eugene Friends Church belong to?

Eugene Friends Church is a member of the Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting. The term "yearly meeting" means the umbrella organization that churches, traditionally called "monthly meetings" belong to.

Friends World Committee for Consultation is an organization that keeps Friends all over the world in touch with each other. Browse the links for the regional sections of FWCC in Europe and the Middle East, the Americas, Africa, and Asia and the West Pacific.

Friends Committee for National Legislation (FCNL) is a 75-year-old Quaker lobbying organization that works to influence Congress and the Administration to pursue priorities that are consistent with Friends' understanding of peace, justice, and a gracious society.

How can I learn more about Eugene Friends Church?

If you're in the area, please come visit us in our natural habitat (Sunday worship) or contact us to meet our pastor or an elder or to borrow from our library.

There are many online resources to learn more about the Friends movement. Here are some links and books for further exploration.

Links

Quaker Information Center, Branches of Friends Today

Women's Speaking Justified, Proved and Allowed by the Scriptures - Margaret Askew Fell Fox (1666)

Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting

Friends World Committee for Consultation

Friends Committee for National Legislation (FCNL)

 QuakerSpeak

Books

ONLINE TEXTS FROM THE EARLIEST DECADES:

 

PUBLISHED MORE RECENTLY ON EARLY FRIENDS:

 

NEWER CLASSICS:

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