The roots of the traditional Quaker theology of worship are found in George Fox’s experience of the Inner Light—that sense of the divine and direct working of Christ in the soul. He came to believe and subsequently taught that the same experience is available to all. The purpose of worship, therefore, is to wait in silence and then respond to the presence and power of God.
Within ten years about sixty preachers were imitating Fox. Few leaders of high standing joined them, except for William Penn, an admiral’s son, who was able to plant a Quaker colony in America in 1681. From here the Quakers carried their message through the colonies. In parts of the South, they were the most popular of the religious sects. Their idiosyncrasies, however, annoyed the Puritans of Boston so much that several persons were hung after a sentence of banishment had failed to dispose of them. In the Middle colonies, they became one of the most respectable and prosperous elements in society.
George Fox (1624-1691) was the founder of the Society of Friends or Quakers, Fox was born in Leicestershire, England, the son of a Puritan weaver.
Sarah Flower Adams was born in Harlow, England in 1805 and died in London in 1848. She was the youngest daughter of Benjamin Flower, editor and proprietor of the Cambridge Intelligencer.
The silent meeting for worship is the most visible element of classical Quaker worship. Worshipers assemble without leader or program, stilling their minds and focusing their attention, waiting to sense the presence of the Spirit of God and then to respond as they are moved in their own spirits.