Posted on 23 December
The Quaker Testimonies are Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship/Sustainability.
The Quaker Testimonies are the collective witness of how Friends have lived their lives through Quakerism in everyday life. They have continually evolved throughout the history of Quakerism and, in the 21st century, are best known worldwide by the acronym SPICES.
Simplicity is simply keeping things simple. Stripping away the unnecessary, Friends have a clear preference for plainness in all things – whether it be in communication, design or dress.
Avoiding exaggeration or distortion, Simplicity allows for clarity in communication through plain speech and writing. Simplicity helps clear away the clutter and noise of everyday life as well as being an aesthetic in its own right.
Arguably the testimony that Quakers feel drawn to the most, Peace is found from within by Quakers. It is from this inward peace that Friends seek to bring peace to the outside world.
Inward peace is found through living out the Quaker testimonies in a harmonious way that impacts on all aspects of a Friend’s life.
Outward peace involves the power of compassion to affect change through nonviolent direct action – Violence only breeds violence. Whether it be challenging the evils of war or playground bullying, Friends seek conflict resolution in all corners to build a better world.
Integrity of both actions and deeds is probably the hallmark characteristic that defines most Quakers. Being honest to oneself and to others, Integrity encourages a truthful openness in relationships with others.
Often used interchangeably with the word ‘truth’, Integrity often means having a consistency in values that can be relied upon.
It is always important to remember that Integrity means that there is no singular ‘truth’ and whatever the ‘truth’ may be it is always subject to amendment.
The ‘truth’ may change but Integrity remains the same.
Community refers to both the community of Friends and the wider community. Helping each other with a tender hand, Friends look to build better relationships that are more meaningful and longer lasting.
Sharing experience and resources, Friends strive to be inclusive and recognise the gifts that all individuals possess in creating welcoming spaces.
Equality is the acceptance that everyone is equal and every person has the right to be respected.
Rejecting discrimination in all its forms, for Friends the Equality testimony is acceptance. This is regardless of race, nationality, gender, sexuality, age, ability, and disability.
Stewardship/Sustainability means both looking after and protecting the Environment around us. It is incumbent of Friends to treat the Earth as a common treasury from which all can benefit.
This means behaving with prudence and living within one’s means.
Image from newquakerhistory.net/