For more than three hundred years, Friends have acted upon a set of shared convictions. While the specific details have varied over time, today’s concerns and underlying beliefs are remarkably similar to those of past generations. The word “testimonies” refers to this set of deeply felt, historically rooted attitudes and ways of living in the world.
Integrity calls us to wholeness; it is the whole of life open to Truth. When lives are centered in the Spirit, beliefs and actions are congruent and words are dependable.
When we seek God’s will together, we believe way will open and unity will emerge.
Equality is rooted in the holy expectation that there is that of God in everyone, including adversaries and people from widely different stations, life experiences, and religious persuasions. All must therefore be treated with integrity and respect.
Simplicity is the right ordering of our lives, placing the Spirit at the center. Simplicity means focusing on what is truly important and letting other things fall away.
Peace is based upon love and concern for the well-being of all, which leads Friends to work for reconciliation and active nonviolent resolutions of conflict. The work of peace is the work of sustaining relationships of mutual human regard, of seeing and speaking to that of God in everyone, of seeking peace within ourselves, the family, the community and the world.
"... We utterly deny all outward wars and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever; this is our testimony to the whole world." From the Declaration of 1660
Community calls us to sustain caring relationships for all. Community depends on mutual regard and support, on nurturing our relationships with one another, with society, and with the environment as a whole.
The brief descriptions of the Testimonies are drawn primarily from the Pacific Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice, 2001, pages 37-46. Click on each Testimony above for a link to the Pacific Yearly Meeting web site for a fuller description.
An excellent booklet about Quaker Testimonies was prepared by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
Statements from Quaker Meetings and Regional Groups
Statements from Colleges and Schools
San Francisco Friends School (especially good for children)