The fragility of freedom: Holocaust Memorial Day 2024
25 January 2024 by Oliver Robertson
How we act as Quakers goes together with what we believe.
We don't have a fixed creed because we have found that the search for truth can lead us to new expressions of values as well as confirming existing ones. We call these values 'testimonies'. Today we focus on simplicity, truth, equality, and peace and how they relate to one another.
Our testimonies encourage us to work for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. It's not always easy to live this way, but as Quakers we try to encourage each other to keep trying.
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Quakers are concerned about excess and waste in our society. We want to make sure our use of natural resources is sustainable. We try to live simply and to find space for the things that really matter: the people around us, the natural world, and our experience of stillness.
Quakers try to live according to the deepest truth we know, and we connect most deeply to this in the stillness of worship. This means speaking the truth at all times, including to people in positions of power. As we are guided by integrity, so we expect to see it in public life.
Quakers believe everyone is equal. This inspires us to try to change the systems that cause injustice and that stop us being genuine communities. It also means working with people who suffer injustice, such as prisoners of conscience and asylum seekers. We were campaigning for independent juries in the 17th-century, for marriage equality in the 21st, and for a range of things in between.
Quakers are perhaps best known for our peace testimony. It comes from our belief that love is at the centre of existence and that all human life is of equal worth. It has led Quakers to refuse military service and work creatively for peace. This has ranged from practical work in areas affected by violent conflict to developing alternatives to violence at all levels. This could be personal or international.
The process of living out our faith is often called Quaker Witness – you can find out more about Quaker work by listening to our podcast.