The Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting is a faith community– or “monthly meeting” of the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers. Quakerism began in the 1600s when religious reformers in England led by George Fox challenged the mainstream idea that people needed clergy and rituals to communicate with God. Instead, Friends believed that all people could experience God directly. Today, Quakerism is still focused on this core belief that “there is that of God in everyone,” though “God” is defined widely. We also look for “that of God” in all religions and count people from many faith traditions among our members. Quaker values, or “testimonies” as they are called in Quaker writings, include simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship.
Quaker meetings often come together to address social justice issues in their communities. Our activities in the world are ideally an outgrowth of “leadings:” a sense of being called to action, which arises from the deep reflection of worship, and which is then “tested” by asking others to listen to and reflect upon the leading. Quakers were leaders of the abolitionist movement and women’s suffrage.
Today Friends are involved in issues of peace, the environment and poverty. Chestnut Hill Quakers have had a particular interest in welcoming refugees, first from Germany in World War II and then from Central America in the 1980s and from Bosnia in the 1990s. Members of the meeting currently are working with Nepalese immigrants, as well as actively supporting Historic Fair Hill in North Philadelphia, the Northwest Interfaith Hospitality Network’s program for the homeless, the new Quaker Voluntary Service house in Germantown, and an interfaith coalition against gun violence.
Quakerism exists around the world in many forms. Find out more about Quakers at websites for the Friends World Committee on Consultation, the Friends General Conference, the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting and by coming to Meeting for Worship with us.