Quakers have historically rejected symbolism, the observance of special days, and other ceremonies and forms as human inventions. They regard such ceremonies and forms as unnecessary when individual believers can experience the Spirit of God directly. In addition, they believe avoidance of such externals protects believers from the idolatry into which humankind so easily falls.
Quaker or Friends meetings inherit a tradition of silent worship, which allows no room for congregational music or the arts. In some churches, however, particularly in the Evangelical Friends branch, many aspects of free-church worship are finding their way into Friends services.
Solomon wrote: “Grey hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life” (Proverbs 16:31). Someone else has said, “A single conversation across the table with a wise man [or woman!] is worth a month’s study of books.”
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.
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.