Quakers only have one theological idea – Inner Light – which refers to our belief that everyone has equal access to, or participation with, God. The nature of the divine is not defined in our tradition and a wide variety of views about God are held by Quakers.
This belief is sufficient for a robust moral foundation. Every human is a spiritual being with a connection to the divine, and therefore is essentially valuable.
We are members of the Religious Society of Friends. We take our name from something Jesus says in the Gospel of John:
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
John 15:15 ESV
We’re generally considered a liberal church, though we prefer the term “meeting” since what we do is meet for worship.
We are part of a larger regional grouping of Quakers, Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association, which is associated with Friends General Conference. To better understand our words and phrases, check out our Quaker Dictionary. If you’re interested, you can read our document on Faith and Practice.
As an open and affirming congregation, Chattanooga Friends Meeting celebrates diversity in race, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, age, class, marital status, opinion, and religious background. We trust this spiritual leading as we seek new understanding of truth and we welcome all who wish to join us in this search.
There is no pastor or priest. Friends gather in silence to seek divine guidance and listen to the Inner Light. During worship, one may be inspired to speak from the heart. This is our ministry. There is a living stillness that has great power. Anyone of any age may minister. Spoken ministry comes from the spiritual depths of the collective worship, and a humbling sense that it must be shared. Sometimes the entire hour passes in silence.