Friends have no prepared prayers or creeds. Rather, we seek to make our daily lives witness to the living Truth- our faith is about practice. The principles or inward states of mind which proceed from faith and, we hope, underlie our actions are often referred to as “Testimonies”. They find expression in many Quaker concerns and our witness in the world. One list of Friends’ Testimonies is:
Integrity: to be whole spiritually, one needs to live one’s beliefs. Friends strive to speak the truth and do not take oaths, but affirm truth.
Peace: Friends have always sought to deal constructively with conflict and violence in any form, and, in the words of George Fox (Journal), to “live in the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion of all wars”. The Religious Society of Friends is thus one of the historic peace churches, and many of its members are led to be conscientiously opposed to participation in war. Friends also continue work to abolish the death penalty.
Equality: There is that of God in each person. All persons are equal before God, regardless of gender, race, class, age, or any other trait. Thus, Friends have long been active in concerns such as the abolition of slavery, prison reform, social justice, and minority rights.
Simplicity: Friends seek to focus their attention and energies on that which is essential and eternal. Thomas Kelly encourages us to prune our lives to make room for spiritual concerns. Friends try to live simply without extravagance, sharing resources. We seek to live actively in the world, but not be caught up in its distractions.
Earthcare: Friends seek harmony with all of God’s creation, recognizing the need to live lightly and sustain the Earth’s ability to support life.
Community: The gathered meeting for worship, in which we seek Divine guidance together, is the center of a Friends community. Isaac Penington put it: “Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations against another; but praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand”. (1667) Care of, and involvement with, those about us extends to our wider communities as well.
The areas in which these testimonies are expressed in our community are illustrated in Friends’ practices, the many ways in which we carry out the work of the Meeting, and in our queries and advices.