About Quaker Belief


The Religious Society of Friends (or Quakers) holds as the basis of its faith the belief that God endows each human being with a measure of the Divine Spirit. We believe that the gift of God’s presence and the light of God’s Truth have been available to all people at all times and in all ages. The Religious Society of Friends has no formal creed but seeks continuing revelation. We are a religious fellowship based on common religious ideals and experiences rather than on creed or liturgy. Each person must prayerfully seek individual guidance and must follow the Light found within. We welcome to our fellowship all seekers who in spirit and in truth try to find and follow the will of God and who are in sympathy with the principles and practices of Friends. [from Baltimore Yearly Meeting, Draft Faith and Practice (2013)]

Quakers are the Religious Society of Friends, a faith that emerged as a new Christian denomination in England during a period of religious turmoil in the mid-1600’s and is practiced today in a variety of forms around the world. To members, the words “Quaker”and “Friend” mean the same thing. Quakers are an active, involved faith-based community living in the modern world. We are a diverse people consisting of several distinct branches. We continue our traditional testimonies of pacifism, social equality, integrity, and simplicity, which we interpret and express in a variety of ways. Today, many Friends include stewardship of our planet as one of our testimonies. Quakers are not Amish, Anabaptists, Shakers or Puritans–we come from a separate tradition than these other groups. We mostly don’t dress like the man on the box of oats anymore, and today we hardly ever use the pronoun “thee.” [adapted from the Quaker Information Center, Earlham School of Religion]


The Quaker tries to seek direct divine illumination by jettisoning all of the Christian sacraments, rituals, hymns, formal prayers, and priesthood. The Quaker tries to live by the Inner Light.... This Inner Light is not conscience but it is that which enlightens conscience.... The Quaker rejects the view of human nature as totally depraved as a result of original sin. Most Quakers would uphold the inherent goodness of human beings.... Quakers consider the Bible to be a word of God but consider the Inner Light to be a manifestation of God. The same spirit of God which inspired the writers of sacred Scripture can enlighten the individual today. [adapted from The Quakers by William J. Whalen]

Visitors to the Meeting can get more information on Quaker faith and practices from the Meeting's Advancement and Outreach Committee. Through written materials and various organized programs, we provide outreach on the Meeting and its activities to our neighbors in Sandy Spring, to other Quaker Meetings, and to the the wider Montgomery County community.
Click here to email us with any questions about Sandy Spring Meeting, Quakerism, or attending our meetings for worship.

Going Deeper

The Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting is part of a larger regional association of Quakers called Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM), 54 Monthly Meetings ranging across southern Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, D.C., and parts of West Virginia.

BYM, in turn, is a part of 2 larger organizations. One is Friends General Conference (FGC).

The other is Friends United Meeting (FUM), a collection of Christ-centered Quakers, embracing 34 yearly meetings and associations.

Believing that spiritual, social, and intellectual growth are closely linked, Quakers have always stressed the importance of education. Two schools operate under the care of Sandy Spring Meeting.

Our Meeting also supports the following Quaker organizations:

Friends Journal is a magazine devoted to Quaker thought.

The Earlham School of Religion is a Christian graduate theological school in the Quaker tradition. It provides a variety of resources on this page: