Tell Me More about Quakers

Tell Me More:  Dig Deeper into what it means to be a Quaker

The Wider Quaker World

In the United States and Canada, there is a wide variety of Friends in 31 yearly meetings. Yearly meetings choose to associate with one or more of the following Friends organizations. The diversity within Friends is evident from this listing. Nevertheless, there is something at the core of each of these traditions that can find unity in the heart of each of the others.

FUM – Friends United Meeting:  From 1902 to 1966 it was called Five Years Meeting. Five Years Meeting was formed from the 1887 Richmond, Indiana, Conference of meetings subscribing to the “Richmond Declaration of Faith.” The name was changed in 1966.  Most of the meetings have pastors and are “programmed,” with hymn singing and a sermon, but some FUM meetings are silent. Here is the mission statement of FUM: “Friends United Meeting commits itself to energize and equip Friends through the power of the Holy Spirit to gather people into fellowships where Jesus Christ is known, loved and obeyed as Teacher and Lord.” FUM has partnerships with churches and Yearly Meetings in Belize, Cuba, Jamaica, Kenya, Palestine, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as the United States and Canada.

FGC – Friends General ConferenceAn association of 14 Yearly Meetings and some monthly meetings in the United States and Canada. It began in 1900. Most of the meetings in FGC are “unprogrammed” or silent meetings, where Friends wait until led by the Spirit to speak with the emphasis on the authority of the direct leading of the Inner Light or Christ Within. Meetings associated with FGC encourage diverse theological perspectives. FGC organizes a week-long annual Summer Gathering around the beginning of July, and also offers a variety of other programs and services to Friends, including their Quaker Bookstore and Press, the Quaker Quest program of outreach, and resources for religious education, education on racism, couple enrichment, and strengthening meetings.

Conservative FriendsAsmall number of meetings in Iowa, Ohio, and North Carolina have split from both of the major streams of U. S. Quakerism. Conservative Friends worship in silent meetings and have an explicitly Christ-centered theology. A website from a Conservative Friends Meeting describes the “original Quaker witness” as “a balance between relying on the Inward Light, identifying the historical Jesus as the eternal Christ, commitment to mending the world, and focusing on evangelizing the Quaker revelation.” 

Evangelical Friends Church InternationalConsists of six yearly meetings in North America which have organized to work together on publications and evangelism, founded in 1965. Their worship is programmed, and their meetings or churches have pastors.  From their website: “We are drawn together through our clear commitment to Jesus Christ and a common desire to change our local and international worlds for Christ.” They have missions, meetings or churches in many countries around the world, particularly in Guatemala, Bolivia, Burundi, Rwanda, and Congo.  

Service Organizations Founded by Quakers 

As part of their commitment to service and education, Friends have founded many organizations that work in the U.S. and abroad. This is a partial listing. For a more comprehensive overview of Quaker organizations and all things Quaker, go to

AFSC- American Friends Service CommitteeFounded in 1917to provide U. S. conscientious objectors with opportunities to aid civilian victims of World War I. AFSC instituted a major child-feeding program in Germany in 1919. The AFSC and its British counterpart, the Friends Service Council, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 on behalf of all Quakers, for their work in post-war Europe. Today, AFSC works to end poverty in the U.S., to resist militarism worldwide and promote peace, human rights, and reconciliation. Currently, AFSC runs over 200 separate programs in more than 20 nations. Although Quaker in origin and administration, most of AFSC’s funding comes from outside the Religious Society of Friends. Click here for the website.

FCNL – Friends Committee on National LegislationFounded in 1943, it is the oldest religious lobby in Washington, D.C. It seeks to influence Congress and the President on matters of concerns to Friends, and while it recognizes that it can not speak for all Friends, it does an excellent job of speaking truth to power, especially regarding protecting human rights and opposing militarism. Click here for the website.

FCE – Friends Council on Education: Runs conferences and support of Friends schools and Friends teachers.

FWCC – Friends World Committee for ConsultationFormed in 1937, FWCC includes all types of yearly meetings, FGC, FUM, etc. Its goals are to foster understanding among the various groups of Friends around the world. FWCC is divided into three sections: Europe and East Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Representatives gather for meetings of these sections once every three years. FWCC is a recognized non-governmental organization at the U. N.

Quaker Earthcare Witness: An organization of Friends “taking spirit-led action to address the ecological and social crises of the world from a spiritual perspective, emphasizing Quaker process and testimonies.”

QUNO – Quaker United Nations OfficeSince 1947, this office has provided a link between the UN and Friends. Friends maintain Quaker Houses in both New York and Geneva, where diplomats can meet in a neutral space, thereby making progress toward reconciling differences.

Pendle Hill Conference and Retreat Center: Quaker conference center near Philadelphia, PA. Provides adult education, publishes pamphlets, sponsors personal and group retreats.

RSWR – Right Sharing of World ResourcesA program that encourages personal and local action to practice simplicity and eliminate poverty.


A google search for “Quaker Queries” will provide many opportunities to discover what things are important to Quakers around the world.

Here are some other websites you may want to check out!  has a lot of informative videos that cover a wide range of topics  Friends United Meeting  Friends General Conference  Evangelical Friends  Conservative Friends  United Nations Friends center    An interactive map to locate Quaker meetings around the world.  Can be filtered by meeting type and distance.  Sponsored by FWCC.  This map also includes contact/website information for the individual meetings.