Quaker Elements: Faith & Practice of Quakers
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Education at Haverford College, as defined by the College's 1847 charter, was understood to be "in conformity with the principles and testimonies" of the Religious Society of Friends. So which values and ideals, exactly, are fundamental to Quakers (the Religious Society of Friends)? And which of these are necessary in order for Haverford to be true to its founding Quaker vision?
There are no final answers to these questions, because there is no definitive list of values and ideals, not for Haverford and not for the Society of Friends. Nevertheless, Haverford's founders were firmly committed to certain central principles. They emphasized the importance of individual spiritual experience. They believed that education should take place in a context of personal integrity through a diligent pursuit of truth. They opposed proselytizing while upholding the rights of conscience for all.
The Quaker way of living today emphasizes individual spiritual experience and the cultivation of the interior life. Quakers use diverse language to describe their beliefs, but they affirm the innate and insatiable urge to wonder. Quakers believe that truth is not totally contained in a text or an authority, but is continually revealed and must be sought after diligently.
Over time, the inner qualities of Quakerism have produced a pattern of visible results – or "testimonies" – with some consistency. In this way, Friends have become known for their testimonies of peace, simplicity, equality, integrity, honesty and justice. Today's Quakers are strongly committed to peace-making efforts, while also expressing an active concern for social justice causes and the environment. Friends work hard to make a difference in the world.