Quakerism, or The Religious Society of Friends, was formed in England in the 1600's by a man named George Fox and a group of like-minded seekers. They believed that everyone could have a direct relationship with God. They rejected the idea that someone must swear an oath, or recite a creed, to prove they were in good order with God. They also rejected the idea that only people with an advanced education could hear and share God's messages. Because ministry was given by untrained speakers filled with spiritual inspiration, they sometimes trembled, leading to the early nickname of "Quakers". (Quakers are also often referred to as "Friends".)
Quakerism was born out of a Christian tradition, so the teachings of Jesus Christ remain central to the ministry of many Quaker meetings. But, each person has the opportunity to come to know God in their own way, so Quaker meetings enjoy a wide variety of messages reflecting many different inspirational sources.
Quakers generally believe, that there is that of God in every person and therefore God continues to reveal truth in some way to everyone. They also believe that God calls everyone to be compassionate and caring toward others and to do their best to bring their faith into action. Many people have come to Quakerism looking for a way of life that would support their calling to do good works. Friends on Delmarva are invloved in many worthwhile efforts. These include Habitat for Humanity, the Alternatives to Violence Program, as well as many other inter-faith and social organizations working for the greater good of the community.
Delmarva Quakers do not have a paid clergy. They practice an unprogrammed form of worship. People gather in a friendly atmosphere of silent prayer and meditation to wait on the word of God. Anyone in that gathering, who feels they are lead to share a message, can speak it. Seekers from any faith tradition, as well as those seeking a faith community for the first time, are welcome to come and worship any time.
Faith & Practice is a book published by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, (which is the regional organization of Quakers serving the Mid-Atlantic region). It is a good source for more information about how Quakerism is practiced in this geographical region. In it there are inspirational quotations, guidelines on membership and many other aspects of spiritual life in the Religious Society of Friends. While most meetings find it to be a very valuable resource when they conduct their religious business, it is intended to be a guide. The light of God's love helps individual Meetings to use it's suggestions in the best expression of their faith. Queries found in the book help them to examine how they are doing as a community and as individuals. This is a good book to read when looking for more information on Quaker practices in this area. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting provides the entire book on line. You will, however, need the software: Acrobat Reader, to access it. If you need it, a link to a free download is available on the following page.
Find out more about Quakerism at these links.