Vancouver Island Monthly Meeting

About Quakers

Beliefs:

Friends (also known as Quakers) center their belief on three ideas:

We have no creed to which members are expected to subscribe. Instead, our lives are guided by five principles or testimonies: equality, integrity, community, simplicity and peace. Quakers began in the mid-1600s as a Christian community following what they believed to be both Jesus’ and the early Christian communities’ mode of worship and practice, and these roots are still honoured today.In the modern age, and given that Friends are open to continuous revelation of the Spirit, we encompass a diverse set of practices and metaphors of belief.Our organization is led by Friends who serve in offices and on committees on a rotating basis in our version of lay ministry. We welcome service by everyone according to their gifts.



Testimonies - living our faith

Friends generally feel strongly about 'living their faith', according to the Quaker Testemonies. Copies of these Testimonies, as they are understood by Canadian Friends, are represented in simple statements we call "The Advices and Queries", which can be found at this site. Since Quakerism is a system of 'constant revelation', we are always changing and growing in how we live out these Testimonies. Our Peace, Earth, and Social Action Committee (PESAC) helps to guide us in appropriate ways to do so, either as Friends directly or through other organizations (such as Kairsos) - please see our page on this committee (see left-side menu) for our present concerns and affiliations. (back to top menu)

Worship Style: meeting house photo

Vancouver Island Monthly Meeting is an unprogrammed Meeting, that is, we have no minister who leads our services. Our worship follows the tradition of expectant waiting in silence. Friends open themselves in worship, listening for messages from Spirit. When Friends receive a message that the Spirit leads them to share with the community of worshippers, that person will speak out of the silence. Other Friends are expected to simply listen and absorb the message as it is relevant to their own spiritual lives, not to respond directly to it.

If other Friends are led to speak, they are asked leave a space after the last message before speaking their ministry, in order that all Friends present are able to contemplate the earlier ministry’s meaning for them personally. Because the speaker is giving ministry and not merely sharing interesting thoughts, it is expected that the speaker will stand and speak clearly so that all can hear. After approximately an hour, a member designated by our Ministry and Counsel closes meeting with a neighbourly hand-shake and/or a brief joining of hands around the circle.

"What makes a Quaker," I said after a moment's thought, and hoping that I might answer wisely, "is that (s)he does not believe (s)he is dependent on any person or book, or anything outside, to be in touch with God." (l.l6)

Library:

In the Victoria Meeting House there exists a significant collection of Quaker reading material that has been built by the meeting over the years. Materials in this library are available for loan to all members of Vancouver Island Monthly Meeting. There is also a smaller collection of library material at Mid-Island Allowed Meeting which is housed at Bethlehem Retreat Centre.