Quakerism Information

Religious Society of Friends is a Christian religious movement, whose members are known as Friends or Quakers. The roots of this movement lie in 17th century English dissenters, but the movement has since branched out into many independent national and regional organizations, often called Yearly Meetings, which have a variety of names, beliefs and practices. It is therefore difficult to accurately describe the beliefs and practices of the Religious Society of Friends generally. It can be said, however, that most groups of Friends meet for regular worship, the form of which may range from largely silent meetings with no leader and no fixed programme, through to services led by a pastor with readings and hymns . The theological beliefs of the different Yearly Meetings also vary, from strong Evangelical Christian beliefs through the spectrum to predominantly universalist or Christian universalist beliefs.

Quakers are known for their social activism, having been instrumental, for example, in the campaign against the transatlantic slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as campaigning for the rights of women, prisoners and homosexuals. A number of leading charities, including Oxfam, Amnesty International and Greenpeace, were founded with participation from Quakers.

The Religious Society of Friends began in England in the late 1640s, in a context of social upheaval which included increasing dissatisfaction with the established church, the execution of the king, and the rise of Nonconformist movements.

Wikipedia, Quakerism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quakerism (as of Apr 8, 2010)

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