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Irish Council of Churches Irish Inter-Church Meeting

Members

Religious Society of Friends

Short History

The founder of Quakerism, George Fox (1624–1691) was born in Leicestershire England. He was a questioning young man who became disillusioned with the religious life of his time and felt the churches had become bogged down with traditions, rituals and power politics. He had an extremely detailed knowledge of the Bible and came to believe that Jesus Christ could speak directly to him without the need to go through priests or any third party. In the words of George Fox from his journal “…..I heard a voice which said, ‘There is one even Jesus Christ that can speak to thy condition, and when I heard it my heart did leap for joy.” Together with other “seekers” they tried to lead a renewal of Christianity and live out the Christian message more simply. In due course they called themselves The Religious Society of Friends. “Quaker” was a nick name which stuck, and we are now known as Friends or Quakers.

The first recorded Friends Meetings for Worship in Ireland were held in 1654 in Lurgan, Co. Armagh.

Meetings for Worship are based on quiet worship, and communion with God and with each other. Anyone present who feels moved to do so may speak, pray aloud, or read from the Bible or other writings. The special quality of Quaker worship depends on the prayerful participation of everyone present

Basis of Belief

In essentials unity, in non–essentials liberty, in all things charity

Belief in God, in Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit is the bedrock on which The Religious Society of Friends is founded. The Bible is of central importance to us, coupled with our belief in direct communion with God. 

Quakers believe the light of God is in everyone; Life has meaning and purpose; Love of God and of our neighbour gives meaning and purpose to life; Spiritual experience must be expressed in ordinary thought, actions and feelings.

We know ours is not the only path to God, but believe it is the right one for us.

Unique Identifying Qualities

Since we have no paid ministers, all members serve according to their abilities. In keeping with our sense of inner guidance, we conduct our business meetings in a prayerful manner.

At the local, national and international level Quakers are particularly concerned to eradicate the evil of war and to encourage the right use of natural resources. We work for racial harmony and oppose any use of torture or violence.

What to expect on a Sunday morning

Meetings for Worship are based on quiet worship, and communion with God and with each other. Anyone present who feels moved to do so may speak, pray aloud, or read from the Bible or other writings. The special quality of Quaker worship depends on the prayerful participation of everyone present.

Out of the quiet seeking in God’s presence, some may be guided to express their thoughts and feeling in words and may speak, read or pray aloud. Sometimes there is no spoken ministry and the time is passed in deep and uniting silence. Gathering in this active spirit of worship and fellowship, we may come to realize that we have met truly with each other and so with God.

While all Irish Meetings for Worship are unprogrammed, there is diversity in the styles of worship of Friends around the world. There are three main types: unprogrammed, semi–programmed and programmed.

Membership in Ireland

There are about 1,600 members in Ireland, and approximately 340,000 worldwide.

There are currently 28 places of worship, Meeting Houses, throughout Ireland.
Details can be found at www.quakers.ie

How we are governed

The organisational structure of Friends is as simple as possible, and the basics have remained almost unchanged for three centuries.

Members of the Religious Society of Friends are known as ‘Friends’ or ‘Quakers’. Attenders are people who worship and work with Friends, but have not applied for membership.

Friends’ decision making happens in a meeting for worship for business. The outcome is what Friends describe as “the sense (or feeling) of the meeting”.

What our Church does Monday – Saturday

Putting faith into practice is one of the aspects for which Friends are well known. Our service work comes from the core belief of “that of God” or “the light of Christ” in everyone.

The 5th Query for Serious Consideration asks: “Are you honest in your daily work and in all your personal relationships? Do you maintain integrity in your dealings with government authorities and other outward concerns? Do you guard against covetousness, remembering that the quality of life does not depend on the abundance of possessions? Do you seek to discern how much of your time, talents and resources you should devote to the service of others?

Friends are involved in numerous concerns both within Ireland and worldwide. Some of these are listed on our website www.quakers.ie

How to find out more

Website: www.quakers.ie

Contact the office at:
Quaker House Dublin,
Stocking Lane, 
Rathfarnham, 
Dublin 16.

Telephone: +353 1 4998003
Email: office@quakers.ie