A History of Pennsylvania Quakers
Historical Information & Other Projects
The Story of Three Meeting Houses
Menallen Huntington Warrington

The Founding
     Quakerism was one of several sects to spring up as a reaction against the formalism of the Church of England. George Fox (1624-1691), the founder of the Society of Friends ("Quakers"), searched for a Divine Presence. He felt that God is ever present and available to all human beings. He never doubted the historical Christ. His search was to find the living Christ, leading to his discovery that Christ's presence still exists.
     George Fox believed that there is a part of each of us in which God dwells, that God speaks to us if we but listen. Friends share Meeting for Worship by listening in silence for this Inner Light. Anyone in the Meeting who feels that he or she has a message to share will speak.
An Old Photo in Modern Times
Faith & Practice
     Quakers hold that all individuals are equal in the sight of God. This was not fashionable in a society in which there were pronounced social classes. This belief is behind the Quaker tradition of "plain speech." It was customary at the time to use the singular pronouns "thee" and "thou" when addressing one person; "you" was used when addressing more than one person or when addressing people in office or higher social classes. Quakers felt that all persons were created equal and therefore refused to use "you."
     Quakers were also known for plain dress. Many people of the time dressed very elaborately, but Quakers adopted plain, "no-frills" dress. For example, men wore coats with no collars, feeling collars were frivolous, and women's dresses were made of different cloth.
     Quakers were active in many types of social reform including prison reform, women's rights, and abolition of slavery, a key part of which was participation in the underground railroad, helping slaves escape to Canada.

Quakers Today
     Most Quakers no longer use the "plain speech" - that gave way when the plural "you" became common language. The simple dress that many people associate with Quakers disappeared in most meetings around the turn of the century. However, Quakers do still practice simplicity as a general way of life, watching that they are not ruled by possessions and avoiding conspicuous and wasteful consumption. Meetings for Worship are still held in silence in simple surroundings.
     The Religious Society of Friends holds as the basis of its faith the belief that God endows each human being with a measure of the Divine Spirit. The gift of God's presence and the light of God's truth are available to all people. All people have the capacity to discern spiritual truth and to hold direct communication with God; no clergy, rite, or outward sacrament is necessary. Inspiration and guidance may be realized through meeting with others in group worship. Love, the outworking of the Divine Spirit, is the most potent influence that can be applied in human affairs, and this application of love to the whole of life is seen by Friends and the core of the Christian gospel. Quakers are Christians in the true sense of the word.

The Book of Discipline - 1860 to today

Gravestones of Huntington Meeting