Originally Posted by Koalamom
So Poetry, what are quakers all about? I actually have no idea. Do I have to wear a bonnet and sit segregated form my dh? Or can I attend in jeans? The closest meeting house is about 1/2 hour away so I will try it one of these days.
It's funny because you mentioned needing more talk of Christianity than you thought you would receive in a Unitarian church. This was DH's problem with the Unitarians; he didn't hear enough about Christ. DH and I tried out several churches and faiths before finding the Quakers. We began with the Unitarians and then worshipped with the Methodists. We attended a Baptist service once and were considering the Episcopaleans when I remembered the Quakers. My old landlords had been Quaker and seeing how they lived their lives really inspired me. DH and I drive 45 minutes to our meeting.
I only know of one Quaker who wears a bonnet and she really only wears it to Meeting or gatherings with Quakers. Jeans, definitely! Quakers are about comfort, practicality and simplicity. We enjoy modern conveniences, but don't feel that we need to own the newest version of everything that comes out.
Quakers are about equality, including gender equality. In the old days, the men and women were separated for worship, but these days everyone worships together. Quakers were also very involved in the underground railroad. ... We believe that everyone has within them an inner light and most Quakers (but not all) refer to that light as God. Quakers are peaceful, or pacifists. We believe that we have direct access to God at all times and that we don't need a priest or other clergy as a "go-between." An example of this is at our Quaker wedding DH and I stood when we were ready and and exchanged our promises before God and our Friends. No one "declared" us married.
There are programmed and unprogrammed meetings. Our meeting is unprogrammed. Basically, we all sit in a room together in silent meditation or prayerful or "expectant" waiting. Occasionally, someone will stand and speak if they feel they have a message that will be beneficial for others present to hear. These messages are received in silence and reflected upon. It's uncanny how often a message someone shares seems to speak to whatever is on my heart at that moment. Programmed Meetings are similar to many protestant churches and they have pastors who give sermons.
I would highly recommend visiting your local Quaker meeting and seeing how it feels to you. Quakers are generally very welcoming to guests and are such a warm group of people to be in the company of.
ETA: The Quakers I know are very open to the idea that other people have different faiths that work for them, and as such, we're tolerant of others' views, even if we don't hold them for our own. In fact, we teach our youth about other religions and what they believe, as well as what we believe. Also, it's interesting to note that we have a buddhist gentleman who attends our meeting regularly and he is always very welcomed.