Wait, Quakers are still around? I thought that they just belonged in history books!
We’re still here! At last count, there were over 300K Quakers worldwide. There are ten Quaker meetings right here in Clinton County!
By “Quaker,” do you mean like the oatmeal?
Yes and no. The company that makes Quaker Oats was founded by Presbyterians, actually- but they used a Quaker image on their packaging “as a symbol of good quality and honest value.”
Do you wear funny hats, though?
Not typically. While some Quakers feel called to “dressing plain,” most of us do not.
Do you folks use electricity and drive cars?
Yes. You may be thinking of the Amish, who reject the use of many modern conveniences in order to focus on a simple life. We also feel called to practice simplicity, but don’t tend to do so by removing ourselves from mainstream society.
I’m confused. Are you “Quakers,” or are you “Friends?”
We’re both, so you can use either name for us. The name “Friends” comes from the fifteenth chapter of John, where Jesus tells his disciples, “You are my friends if you do what I command” and “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” “Quaker” comes from the fact that sometimes people who are called by the Spirit to speak in meeting will feel shaky because of the Spirit’s presence.
What should I expect if I show up at a Friends meeting?
Friends meetings vary pretty widely from one another. If you attend worship at Wilmington Friends, you can expect to find some people dressed very casually, and others dressed up. You’ll find a laid-back attitude, mostly traditional music, a short sermon, and a period of waiting worship.