Ways of Working
Institutions of Relief and Service
Although Quakers were involved with relief work from their earliest days, it was not until the late nineteenth century that the first ‘official’ institution for relief was set up. Even then, such bodies tended to be disbanded when the immediate need was over. Only in the 20th century did Friends in several countries set up permanent Quaker service agencies, with relief as part of their work. Many Friends are also active in broader relief organisations such as Oxfam, which Quakers helped to establish.
The repudiation of violence as a means to an end has led many Quakers to espouse various forms of nonviolent action.
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was founded in 1917. It works with many partners, in the US and around the world, on conflict resolution and peacebuilding, alongside issues of economic, social and criminal justice. AFSC received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947, jointly with its British counterpart (then called the Friends Service Council).
Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC)
Canadian Friends Service Committee (CSFC) is the peace and service agency of Quakers in Canada, founded in 1931. It works with a wide range of partners at international, national and community levels, seeking to bring about long-term sustainable changes in our world.
Margaret Fell or Margaret Fox (c. 1614 - 23 April 1702) a founder of the Religious Society of Friends, is often called the "mother of Quakerism". Her home at Swarthmoor Hall in the Lake District was a key hub for the first Quakers, and she was one of the 'Valiant Sixty' early Quaker preachers and missionaries.
Meeting for Sufferings
Meeting for Sufferings (MfS) is British Friends’ key strategic body. It was established in response to the sufferings Quakers experienced in the early days, hence its name. Its role was soon broadened and it has played an important part in British Quakers’ responses to the needs of their time ever since. The name has never been changed.
Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW)
Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW) is the central peace and service department of British Friends, and represents them at national level on issues of peace and social justice. It works with Quaker and other partners on a variety of projects within Britain and around the world.
Quaker Service Australia (QSA)
Quaker Service Australia is an aid and development arm of Quakers in Australia. Founded in 1959, it now works in countries such as Cambodia, India, East Timor and Uganda. QSA aims for long term partnerships that work towards the goals of economic self-sufficiency and environmentally sustainable living.
Quaker Service Sweden (QSS)
QSS is part of the Religious Society of Friends in Sweden, but is financially independent of that body. QSS supports various organisations and projects in Bangladesh, Burundi, Ethiopia, Georgia, Palestine and Russia.
QUNO: Quaker United Nations Office
Quakers/Friends have been active behind the scenes at the United Nations from the beginning, and in the League of Nations before that. Each of the two main UN centres - New York and Geneva – has a Quaker House, staffed by a small team. They listen, they contribute, and they facilitate quiet dialogue and solution building, especially with regard to peace, justice and human rights.
Whanganui Quaker Settlement
From 1920 to 1968, Quakers in Aetoroa /New Zealand ran a co-educational boarding school in Whanganui. In 1976, the Quaker Settlement at Whanganui (known locally as Quaker Acres) was established at a site near the former boarding school. This is a permanent community, set in 20 acres of farmland. It is currently home to 23 settlers, ranging in age from pre-schoolers to over 70s. Its centre provides residential seminars that are open to all.