These are short auto biographies from Quakers about themselves. If you want to add your autobiography please send it via the Area Meeting Office and we will put it on here for you. You can include a photo of yourself or any picture you would like to display.
Enid Carpenter – How I became a Quaker
I know now, I have believed in Quaker values since I was a child (as my non- religious parents did). We had not heard of Quakers. I tried the Anglican Church (Communion, Wedding) but after some years knew is wasn’t for me.
A (birthright Quaker) friend suggested I might like Quakers. I said “but I don’t believe in god”. She replied “Neither do I. Not all Friends do. You think it out for yourself”.
I went (25 years ago) and was greeted by a friend I had last know as a church Minister. Still unsure I said “Not sure I should be here – I don’t believe in God”. “Join the club”, he said “that’s why I am here”. So I stayed and Quakers accepted me, encouraged me to be a member and gave me many jobs and trusted me. They had values that I felt at home with.
Some years later some new friends arrived and the climate changed. I was told firmly “If you do not believe in God, don’t talk about it” This seemed unquakerly and I nearly left. But I would have missed the support, the friends and quietness I have come to need. So I stayed and the climate changed again and I felt tolerated and then needed.
But I still remember those early days and feel new enquirers and long standing members who feel as I do may not be sure they would come to be accepted if they spoke up. Quaker language is hard to understand (What does worship mean?) It is difficult no to feel threatening to people who still believe in God, but the truth is as we each see it.
The non-thesist network is a great new organisation within Quakers. Here anyone can discuss how they feel and where they are at that moment within the Quaker family
There is room for us all. It took me some time to reach the surety of where I am now and I appreciate that my beliefs are only one way to live a quakerly life based christian principals with a belief in the goodness of people and their needs and the amazing natural world around us. I do not want to change other people, just be part of a broader Quaker family
Enid Carpenter (Stourbridge Meeting)
Barbara Groombridge – Why I am a Quaker
I am a Quaker partly because my mother was and I went to a Quaker school. My sister and brothers, as adults, all chose different religious pathways, but I decided to become a Quaker.
What made me stay? The fact that being a Quaker is a way of life rather than a set of beliefs, and that our actions are rooted in our worship. The shared silence of a Quaker Meeting, with its expectant waiting, is to me spiritual nourishment which strengthens me.
The Quaker principles (we call them “testimonies”) of peace, equality, justice, truth, and now our commitment to sustainability, are vital. I find among Quakers like-minded people who try to live what they believe, but are free to differ. The spiritual freedom appeals greatly to me. That is why I am a Quaker.
Although I had a Catholic upbringing, at 22 I began looking for a religion that more closely matched my personal beliefs. The Testimonies and the emphasis on faith in action drew me to try a Quaker Meeting for Worship. I very quickly felt part of the community – both of my local meeting and Young Friends General Meeting.
What keeps me attending, alongside this community, is Quaker worship. In Meeting I feel a visceral connection with other worshippers and with God. I receive great comfort from trusting that I will be led and hope to develop and deepen my faith as I continue my spiritual journey.