The Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain. 2013. “Quaker Faith & Practice.” The Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain

Joe Walker
Wednesday 18 January 2023

This book, here displayed in an online format, explains what Quakers believe and how they practice their faith. The book is written by a committee of British Quakers, and therefore represents a more comprehensive view of thinking about peace in a religious context.  Chapter 24, titled ‘Our Peace Testimony’, is most relevant to the Visualising Peace project. This chapter details how Quaker views of peace have been inspired by the practice of Christianity and the personal life of Christ rather than any particular religious dogma. The chapter has sections on corporate testimony, by famous Quakers such as William Penn and Elizabeth Fry. The testimonies include repeated commitments to Quaker peace through different wars, including the War of Austrian Succession and Napoleonic Wars. There is also a section on Conscientious Objectionism to military service and even to taxation for military purposes. It includes reflections on the difficulties of upholding this pacifism in the face of obvious evils such as Nazism.

This reading has personal significance for me in that my Quaker education has socialised me to a particular way of visualising peace, with the quote by Quaker founder George Fox of the rejection of “Outward Strife” written on the wall of the assembly room that we gathered in every day. The Quaker testimonies contained in the book show that views on peace can form a central aspect of someone’s attitudes, values, and behaviours (via oblique forms of education, not just what is taught in a school syllabus), even when these are challenged by more powerful actors.

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