When you come to worship with Quakers you are joining with a community that encourages individuals in seeking their own true path. But the essence of its practice is the power of a ‘gathered community’.
When Quakers gather in silent worship that collective seeking helps to deepen the individual experience.
Quaker decision-making is grounded in the belief that when people come together to make a decision they can find an outcome that is supported by the whole group. It is greater than the decision of an individual or majority, or one that might be influenced by the strongest voice. Seeking the decision that comes from the ‘still small voice’ within is central to the ways Quakers work as a community.
When a Quaker community is working well, it encourages trust and creates spaces for dialogue and cooperation. The community provides a place for people to develop their strengths, vision, wisdom and creativity through acceptance and support.
Quakers aim to be tender with themselves and with others; when they fall short of their ideals, they aim to accept their humanity and try again. However, in all communities, it’s easy for a word or gesture to cause hurt or division, even when this is unintended.
Through experience, Quaker communities have developed strategies for healing rifts and resolving conflict. Sometimes the community finds they have been strengthened by these challenges. At other times no healing can be found and the community is saddened by the loss of a member or members. As a community, the group wish these individuals well and trust they will find new ways to support their spiritual needs.
Quaker communities are often led to support other communities and groups that work for social justice, equality and peace. As individuals and as a group they add their voices and their action towards change for those in need.