Exploring the Quaker Testimonies

For the past several months, Reno Friends have been meeting twice a month to explore what the Quakers call “testimonies” – shared truths that Quakers have learned through their own experience.

The most common Quaker testimonies spell out the acronym SPICE – Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community and Equality. Some Meetings include other testimonies such as Unity, Stewardship, Civic and Social Responsibility, or Harmony with Creation.

We use the term testimonies because each person’s experience and life illuminate different aspects of these truths. The testimonies draw from 350 years of Quaker experience and yet they are dynamic too. Many Quakers, from 17th-century founders to modern Friends, have written personal testimonies based on these truths. These testimonies are in turn studied by their contemporaries and successors. Some of our monthly Queries pose questions for our lives today based on the testimonies.

In our discussions of the testimonies we’ve found a range of understanding and experience in our small circle – and a host of questions. How can we live a more meaningful life? Does it take courage or just clear thinking to speak with integrity? How does our need for control and security complicate our lives? How can we treat others equally in a world full of personal differences and civil inequities? How might we confront the violence endemic in our society?

We’ve invited each other to consider writing our own personal testimonies. I penned a testimony on simplicity that I’ll share here: “Simplicity for me is swimming back – through the murky, weed-choked complexity of modern life – to the root of my soul, where love, kindness and wakefulness live. Love, because it permits forgiveness; kindness, because compassion focuses my heart on the other; and wakefulness, because I need to see clearly to know what to do.”

Our testimony discussions continue for several more months. Check our Calendar for dates and times. All are welcome to join.

In the Light,

Wendy Swallow, Clerk of Reno Friends Meeting

 email: wswallow54 (at) gmail.com

The opinions expressed above are not necessarily those of Reno Friends Meeting.