What do we believe? What’s below isn’t a formal creed or test for admission- just some starting points based on Robert Barclay’s Catechism and Confession, an early Quaker statement of faith.
God is love.
God is the source of all Truth. Our highest purposes in life are to love God and love our neighbors.
Through the Holy Spirit, we can all know God directly. The leadings of the indwelling Spirit are our first authority.
The Bible instructs us about the nature of God, people’s relationships with him over history, the person of Jesus, and the early church. It is a reliable foundation for us as we practice our faith. It serves as an outward test of our inward discernment. We can understand it only through the Spirit- and we caution that knowing the book itself can never replace knowing the Lord.
We are not born into sin, but eventually we all fall short (sin) and are in need of God’s grace.
God’s unfailing love culminated in the life, teachings, self sacrifice, and risen presence of Jesus of Nazareth. God so loved us that in Jesus he joined humankind- and eventually gave over his very life for us. The power of that selfless love is our salvation, and it is available to all people, everywhere. Even if they do not have the words of the Bible to frame it in, the power of Jesus may still touch them.
If we respond to Christ Jesus and let him work in us, he will lead us out of our shortcomings (sin) and into a new, holy life. We won’t just worship him, but learn to follow him and become people of peace, justice, and mercy.
We have to keep listening to Christ’s guidance; it is always possible that we can turn away from him and ignore his light.
Ministry is gift of God to both women and men; we do not decide who is to be a minister. Education and training are useful but not necessary for ministry, nor do they qualify people to be ministers. Ministry is not a service to be provided for money. However, if true ministry calls someone away from regular employment, they should be assisted with everyday needs.
Worship is adoration of and listening to God; it is not a set pattern of rituals. The goal of our worship should be to let God lead us and knit us together as a body.
True baptism is the baptism of fire and of the Holy Spirit.
True communion with Jesus is inward and spiritual, where he nourishes us with his presence as the bread of life.
People should be free to follow the leadings of the Lord, and not have to fear government intervention. Religious intolerance and compulsion come from the oppressor.
Our greatest desire should be communion with God, and we should be ready to give up entertainment and activities that don’t support that. We should avoid customs that build up unnecessary pride in individuals and human institutions, like using titles referring to status.