Friends have a number of principles and practices that follow from our belief in the Light within everyone; we call these the testimonies.
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What Are The “Guidelines?”
Friends have a number of principles and practices that follow from our belief in the Light within everyone; we call these the testimonies. The central testimonies are: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Stewardship, which we often summarize with the acronym “SPICES.”
The testimony of simplicity reminds us that the spiritual world is as important as the material world, and that we should not place too much emphasis on the material. We believe we are here for a reason, that “we are made for the transcendent,” and that this reason is discovered through an uncluttered life of harmony and service
Peace is perhaps our single most defining testimony. Friends are called on to practice and teach conflict resolution, and to look as conflicts as opportunities for inner growth. We have been involved in anti-war movements from our inception until today, and continue this peace work, support for conscientious objectors and counter-recruitment education locally.
Friends’ integrity is epitomized by the query “In everything that I do, do I ask myself whether any being or part of creation will come to harm or disadvantage?” An alternative way of describing this is that we should let our outer lives reflect our inner lives.
Community as a goal is found in the statement that “we are made for one another,” or Mr. Spock's dying words,“the good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one.”
Together with the peace testimony, the testimony of equality forms the foundation for visible Quaker activism in the world, from the historical opposition to slavery and economic exploitation to our participation in the current struggles for equality of partner selection and gender identity and support for under-privileged people. The deeper relevance to us is that we all profit from a world that values diversity of faith, culture and language, and that we welcome those who are different from us into our communities.
Stewardship applies to our relationship to both humanity and nature. We are most certainly “our brothers keepers” as well as stewards of the interdependent natural world of which we are a small part. Earthcare is a sacred trust and is founded on environmental, economic, and social sustainability.