Providing Care for the Elderly since 1945
Quakerism started after 1648, the end of the Civil war in England when many people wanted a new social order and the right to worship as they chose. As a result of the preaching of people such as George Fox, James Naylor and William Penn, Quakers devised a form of worship without churches or priests, based on silent waiting on God.
At first this was illegal, and many Quakers were assaulted, fined and sent to prison. However, the Quakers’ uncompromising search for honesty in all aspects of their lives resulted in their reputation as honourable tradesmen, and many successful businesses are Quaker in orgin: Cadbury, Rowntree and Fry’s, Clark’s shoes , Lloyds and Barclays Banks, Bryant and May, Huntley and Palmer and Carr’s biscuits, and many more. Apart from these businesses, historically Quakers are best known for their anti-slavery work, prison reform, and for the peace testimony.
The most distinctive thing about Quakers in Britain is their manner of worship. Quakers, also known as Friends, gather in silence to seek God’s presence. Anybody may speak, maybe about something that has been concerning them, something that has happened to them, or perhaps to read something from the Bible. It’s hard to write about a ‘typical meeting’, but perhaps three or four people will speak during the course of the meeting for worship, perhaps for no more than two minutes each.
Quakers do not have a creed which tries to express the inexpressible in words because they could never encompass the fullness of the mystery of God. There are a number of phrases that are well loved by Friends which serve to give some idea of their faith. We talk of ‘that of God in everyone’.
We are encouraged to ‘know one another in the things which are eternal’. We try to be ‘open to new light from whatever source it may come’.
Simplicity, honesty and equality are historically important to us. Quakers are very active, despite their small numbers (around 20,000 in Britain), in working for peace in all sorts of situations. Not every Quaker is a pacifist, but most are.
There is a Quaker meeting at BBCH each Sunday. Everyone is very welcome, but there is no expectation that anyone has to go. The majority of our residents and currently all our staff are non- Quakers, but all value the ethos the Quakers. Quakers do not receive priority when one applies to become a resident.
To learn more about Quakers go to Quakers in Britain.