What We Believe

 

For Friends, God is a loving presence. Every soul is akin to the Divine and therefore every person may in some degree understand Divine Will and respond to it. We gather in silence to seek together a fuller knowledge of that Will and an understanding of its practical implications for our lives.

The beliefs of Friends in general, and State College Friends in particular, are quite diverse. We have no set creed. Early Quakers were Christian and tried to recreate early, primitive Christianity. In our meeting, some of us consider ourselves orthodox Christians, some of us consider ourselves Christian in some broader sense, and some of us do not consider ourselves as Christians at all. Most of us became Friends as adults, and bring along parts of our religious heritage. The diversity of our beliefs is a strength we can all draw on.

Friends have no sacraments or rituals because all living is, to us, a sacrament. We have no paid ministers because each of us should share in the responsibility of ministry. We have no prepared prayers because our unspoken and spoken prayers are a direct communication with the Infinite. We worship in a living silence where dwells the eternal presence of God.

Friends have a long tradition of living testimony in the areas of simplicity, peace, integrity, equality, and social concerns. We express these concerns in our own actions, and through support of the American Friends Service CommitteeFriends Committee on National LegislationThe Quaker UN Program, and Friends’ schools and colleges.

We welcome as members any who share our principles and convictions, and are pleased to accept membership applications from attenders who have taken time to consider their applications thoughtfully. The clerk, members of the Care and Concern Committee, or other members of the meeting will be glad to discuss Friends’ faith and practice with you and to recommend Quaker literature.


George Fox (1624-1691), the founder of the Society of Friends, was known as a “seeker.” Dissatisfied with the emphasis which the Established Church in England placed on outward ritual and creed, he and others of like mind turned inward in quest of a religion of personal experience and direct communion with God. He sought counsel and help from the official spiritual guides in the churches, but none could give rest to his soul or speak to his condition. Finally, he records in his Journal, “when all my hopes in … men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, O then, I heard a voice which said, ‘There is One, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition,’ and when I heard it, my heart did leap for joy.”


“We utterly deny all outward wars and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or any pretense whatever; and this is our testimony to the whole world. The Spirit of Christ by which we are guided is not changeable, so as once to command us from a thing as evil, and again move us unto it; and we do certainly know and so testify to the world, that the Spirit of Christ, which leads us unto all truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the Kingdom of Christ nor for the kingdoms of this world… Therefore we cannot learn war any more.”
Addressed to Charles II by George Fox and eleven other Quakers, 1660.


“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. … I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last…” (John 15:12-16)