Our Testimonies express in action a belief and faith in the following concepts: equality, simplicity, peace and integrity. These primary testimonies have evolved into modern testimonies dealing with such things as: race relations, the environment, the death penalty, education, stewardship and most recently, equality of treatment based upon gender orientation.
While there are differing formulations of our Testimonies, they are often boiled down to six, using the mnemonic “SPICES.”
Connecticut Friends School offers the following suggestions for how we can live out the values articulated in our Testimonies:
- Use financial and natural resources carefully.
- Value the spirit over material objects.
- Keep popular culture in perspective to avoid distraction from what is truly important.
- Keep life simple so we are free to live in harmony and alignment with soul’s purpose.
- Build conflict resolution skills.
- See conflict as a springboard to moral growth.
- Seek elegant, simple solutions to problems or disagreements.
- Make decisions by consensus or the “sense of the meeting.”
- Let your life speak: your outer life reflects your inner life.
- Treat others with respect and honesty.
- Acknowledge interconnectedness and essential oneness.
- Draw out the teacher within.
- Connect with all members of the community.
- Be our authentic selves.
- Balance needs of the individual with needs of the group.
- Teach respect for everyone and the idea that everyone has a piece of the truth.
- Respect different people and different ideas.
- Honor all faiths.
- Celebrate a rich community made up of many cultures.
- Reflect a broad, inclusive spectrum of the global family.
- Protect and care for the Earth in a sacred trust.
- Promote environmental, economic, and social sustainability.
- Teach social justice and the need for equal access to resources.
At this time of conflict in the world, Friends often find strength and inspiration in our Peace Testimony. An early expression of this Testimony is from the 1660 “Declaration from the Harmless and Innocent people of God, called Quakers,” …We utterly deny all outward wars and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever; this is our testimony to the whole world.
Our testimonies remain a source of inspiration, faith and hope for Friends around the world. George Fox, advised in 1656, while in Launceton Prison, that Friends should … be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one… This “walk” is what Quakers try to do through living out our Testimonies.
Please join us in our walk with the testimonies. Everyone is welcome, childcare and First Day school is available for children, and you do not need to leave your intellect at the door! If you have questions about our meeting, or our practices, please ask a member of the membership and outreach committee, or our Clerk who presides over the close of worship. We are glad that you are walking with us on our exciting journey.