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Quakers - Referat


The Quaker movement arose in the midseventeenth century in a deeply divided society when religion was of passionate interest. It was a group of men and women, including George Fox (1624-1691), who came together to revive what they saw as ‘primitive Christianity’. They could not accept that the forms of Christianity they observed around them were in keeping with the teaching of Jesus.

After a long and painful search for truth, Fox had a sudden conviction that God was immediately accessible to everyone. This was the seed of Quakerism. The soil was ready in the Midlands, Yorkshire and north- west England, where there were groups seeking a way to live the Christian life more simply and truly. The message then spread across the Atlantic, and then around the world. Now there are about 240000 Quakers or members of the Religious Society of Friends worldwide. Most Quakers live in the USA (about 117000 members), in Britain and Ireland there are about 21000 Quakers.

They differ in language and worship, and even in some of their beliefs. What they have in common is their search for a real experience of God’s love and power in the everyday world. Quakers believe that everyone may have direct communion with their Creator. This experience cannot ultimately be described in words, but Quakers base their whole lives on it. Friends, as Quakers call themselves, emphasize daily life and experience rather that festivals and creeds. They don’t have a church calendar and while on a Sunday, it’s for convenience rather than because they consider Sunday a holier day than any other.

Meeting for Worship is at the centre of Quaker life. It begins as Quakers sit in the meeting room, gathering together in a silence that grows deeper as it progresses. Here they open themselves to the love of God and to that of God in each other. The meeting house is very simple. There are no ornaments or religious symbols. Neither is there an appointed
minister or pastor. The responsibility for the meeting belongs to all. Anyone may speak when he or she feels inspired to do so; this is known as vocal ministry. These meeting are particularly welcome. The word ‘meeting’ refers both to the activity and to the group of worshippers.

Their belief in ‘that of God’ in everyone has led Quakers to take up those causes which support people rejected or neglected by society. Barred from universities like other non- conformist groups, Quakers chose to enter industry and trade. Some of them became famous, for example, as manufactures of biscuits, chocolate and shoes.

Friends have always had an interest in education, too; the large number of Quaker teachers all over the country is one way this interest is expressed. There are eight Quaker schools, though most of the children at these schools now come from non- Quaker families.

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