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Ethics and Community

Community Organization

Friends use the meeting system developed by George Fox. The basic group is the monthly meeting, which meets weekly for worship and monthly for business. Group decisions are made through a sense of unity, called the "sense of the meeting."


Meetings may or may not choose officials, elders, or ministers. If clergy are chosen, it is because of their abilities in spiritual leadership. However, they are the equals of other members. Quakers discourage the development of clerical hierarchies.

Principles of Moral Thought and Action

The practice of inner listening and obedience to God will lead to a life that reflects the character of Jesus, which includes honesty, simplicity, sincerity, integrity, and the power to encourage good and confront injustice.

Vision for Society

The Quaker social ethic is firmly rooted in the belief that the Inner Light is in all people. Because every person possesses a part of God, Quakers have consistently stood for nonviolence and the equality of all people.

Gender and Sexuality

Friends encouraged women to participate in ministry as early as the 17th century. There is no current agreement on the question of homosexuality, but statements affirming the acceptance of all regardless of sexual orientation were published as early as 1963.