Quaker Peace Garden, Bristol. Used by Permission of Bristol Friends.


The testimonies of community and equality follow closely from Friends' belief in the "Inner Light" within us all. This Inner Light connects us, and makes of us a community, all of whom are trying to follow its guidance as best we may.

Sometimes it is given to one of us to discern the way ahead more clearly than others. Sometimes one of us has a leading, and others are called to follow and play supporting roles. We all have different strengths and skill sets, and thus we function most effectively when we support and help each other as a community, rather than acting as individuals.

Quaker business is conducted by consensus. A saying that sometimes comes up, however, is that "Unity is not unanimity." That is, some members of the group may choose not to speak up against something even if they do not personally support it, because they believe that others truly feel led by their Inner Lights along this path. On the other hand, a single person who feels moved to do so, can and sometimes does block the rest of the group from an action. Because business is conducted in a spirit of worship, in the context in fact of a "Meeting for Worship for Business," we try to set aside personal feelings and opinions and let our decisions be guided by the Light.

Service to the community, whether that is defined broadly or narrowly, has always been an inextricable part of the Quaker faith. Quakers have international service projects, but also do a lot of work closer to home, with indigenous people, fostering justice in the "justice" system, and on other issues. There is a link to the Canadian Friends Service Committee, the service branch of Canadian Quakers, on our links page.