Quakers started in 1647 England by Christian Dissenters: George Fox and Margaret Fell.
A faith tradition rooted in the Christian tradition that was radical in many ways (meaning, they sought to go back to the roots of Christianity before all the hierarchy and influence of empire).
“...be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come; that your life and conduct may preach among all sorts of people, and to them. Then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one; whereby in them ye may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them to bless you: then to the Lord God you shall be a sweet savour, and a blessing.” - George Fox
Quakers came to this area they named New Garden in the 1750s.
Guilford College — as all institutes of higher education in the United States — sits on Native land. In our case, it is land previously cared for and claimed, at various times, by the Keyauwee, Saura, and Saponi Peoples, some of whom such as the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, maintain a strong presence in the area, caring for it still. While Guilford College as an institution has not done all it could to respect and maintain its relationships with Native People, it is important to acknowledge these Peoples’
, and their care for the land in the past and the present and the future. Doing so in a syllabus is an early and critical step in a larger process of relationship-building. Guilford has undertaken that work deliberately, working both to build and nurture relationships with the region’s Indigenous People in ways that respect their claims to sovereignty, as well as ensuring that as a campus community we are as supportive of Native Students as we can be.
Diversity within Quakerism
There are many ways Quakers are diverse today: racially, sexual orientation, gender representation, theology, politics and even in their faith and practice, Quakers today cover lots of varying experiences, beliefs, and practices. One difference is that some Quaker continue to worship in “expectant silence,” without a pastor or hymn-singing, or even prayers spoken out loud.
These “unprogrammed” Quakers, as they are sometimes called, wait in the silence listening for that “still small voice.” In these meetings, Friends are often seen standing up in the midst of a silent gathering and sharing messages of wisdom, insight, spiritual reflection and more.
The rest of Quakers (and the majority) in the world today are “programmed,” meaning they have a program they follow for their worship. They often have a pastor who leads the worship service and usually offers a sermon, there is also usually singing and prayers offered out loud, as well as a time for silence like their unprogrammed counterparts though the time silence is shorter.
Today, The Quaker tradition is a truly global community. Here is how Quakers break down in terms of theological diversity and influence around the world.