We were founded in the 17th century in the Midlands of England by George Fox and organized into Monthly Meetings with the help of Margaret Fell. Many Quakers emigrated to North America and organized themselves into Monthly and Yearly Meetings along the eastern coast and in Jamaica. In the nineteenth century some Friends were influenced by the Second Great Awakening which split the Society into those who are members of unprogrammed Meetings and those who are members of programmed Meetings or Churches. The programmed Meetings established missions, notably in Cuba and East Africa, with the formation of local Meetings in these areas. Other Meetings have established themselves throughout the world. In spite of their different local organizations and practices all Quakers (known to me) share the beliefs expressed in the first paragraph.
The best way to learn more about Quakers is to attend an unprogrammed Meeting for Worship or a Church service. At an unprogrammed Meetings, Friends will gather at a scheduled time and sit in silence until someone is inspired to speak. There will then be more silence and others may also speak. The meeting generally closes with handshakes and some announcements. A programmed Church service will be more organized with a leader or pastor directing the order of the service. Generally it will include a time of silent prayer with the possibility for attenders to speak out of the silence. After the Meeting, please introduce yourself to a Friend and ask any questions you may have.
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