The law and practice referred to in this article or webinar has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.
Quakers believe that there is that of God in everyone and do not have a creed or a sacramental liturgy. A Quaker meeting can take place anywhere, although Quakers have meeting houses as a matter of practicality. At a Quaker meeting there is no priest or minister and all have direct access to God or the light, without the intervention of a priest. Not all Quakers are comfortable using the word ‘God’ and many use words such as the seed or the light – whether within or external. A Quaker meeting for worship is held in silence, but this is not an individual meditation but a form of corporate gathering. When promoted by the spirit, anyone at the Meeting can minister.
Quakerism began after Charles 1 was beheaded, a time when a number of radical sects were formed such as the Levellers and the Diggers. Quakers challenged the authority of the established church and would not doff their hats to those in authority or take the oath in Court as this implied a double standard of truth.Unlike the Levellers and the Diggers, Quakers survived but continued to be persecuted. They presented their opposition to all forms of war to Charles II, known to this day as the Peace Testimony. In Quakerism men and women have always been equal and in the seventeenth century, half the published works by women were by Quaker women.
For many years Quakers could not go to University or enter the professions, hence the number of Quaker businesses that were set up, including Cadburys, Rowntrees, Barclays, Lloyds and Friends Provident, all of which have long since passed out of Quaker ownership.
Quakers have a number of testimonies including Peace, Simplicity, Truth, Equality and Justice. They also have a long history of charitable and social endeavour including work on peacebuilding, prison reform, climate justice, equality and conflict resolution, as well as anti-poverty work.
Stone King can advise Quaker Area meetings and Quaker charities on the following:
- Advice on restricted or endowment funds
- Property work in relation to Meeting Houses
- Advice on campaigning, political activity and demonstrations, including the interaction between charitable status and Quaker campaigning on climate justice, anti-nuclear, as well as its testimonies on equality.
- Safeguarding in relation to children and young people and vulnerable adults
- Data protection
- Constitutional work
- Charitable reparations arising from enslavement and indentured labour connected to Quaker funds, notwithstanding that Quakers campaigned for the abolition of slavery
- In relation to Quaker charities such as conflict resolution and peace building, housing, equality, poverty including grant making and operational charities, we can advise on:
- Trustees’ duties
- Grant terms and conditions
- Sustainable investment powers
- Structuring grants to non-charities for charitable purposes: eg CICs, CLGs
- Establishment of charities
- Employment and Equality law
- Social enterprise and subsidiary companies
We can also advise Quaker schools on all of their educational responsibilities