Our Beliefs

Statements Related to our beliefs

Quakers document what they’ve agreed to in “Minutes.” A Minute is a formal record. There can be Minutes for a birth, a marriage, a death, a tribute to someone, a decision reached on an important issue, etc. A Minute is different from the minutes taken in committee meetings or Meetings for Business.

Peace Candle
A Minute of Concern Regarding the Crisis in Israel/Palestine approved January 7, 2024

Our hearts are heavy carrying the trauma and devastation of the past 93 days.

We reaffirm the declaration of Quakers (1660): “We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fighting with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretense whatsoever, and this is our testimony to the whole world.”

We grieve the deeply embedded cycle of violence in the region. We mourn the loss of all Israeli and Palestinian lives in this disastrous conflict, and hold in the Light all those bearing heavy burdens of grief. From the standpoint of Quaker testimony and international law, we condemn the targeting and killing of civilians by any party, and we uphold Quaker testimony against the killing of any people.

To stop the killing and work toward peace, we call for a permanent ceasefire, massive, continuous and unimpeded humanitarian aid into Gaza, and the release of all the Israeli and foreign national hostages being held by Hamas and the Palestinian political prisoners held by the Israelis.

There is no military solution to the underlying issues in this conflict. Violence will only beget fresh waves of violence and counter violence. We call on all nations to cease sending military weapons into this conflict. We recognize that in the United States we have a special responsibility to take action against the policies of our own country that contribute to the violence.

Following the termination of hostilities and military actions, we call for a meaningful peace process, guided and supported by the international community, that will forge a viable political framework for a just and durable peace. The lives and destinies of the Jewish and the Palestinian communities in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea are intertwined. The ultimate goal must be to find a way for them to co-exist peacefully based on self-determination, security, and equal rights for all.

As Friends, we pray that this lengthy, violent conflict will be ended quickly, and that the way will open to guide Israelis and Palestinians to a just and lasting peace, healing, and reconciliation.

(Approved at Called Meeting of Raleigh Friends Meeting on January 7, 2024)

A Minute of Concern Regarding NC Senate Bill 49 approved October 15, 2023
The Raleigh Friends Meeting (Religious Society of Friends – Quaker) is concerned about NC Senate Bill 49, which has become law. We believe that there is “that of God” in every person, and this divine seed carries within it the responsibility to seek one’s authentic self. We also believe that understanding our own sexuality and gender is an essential aspect of our journey to wholeness. Quakers affirm the importance of the family in the formation of one’s gender and sexual identities. Ideally, parents will be trusted and knowledgeable figures in the young person’s process of self-discovery. But in situations where this is not the case, the role of the teacher or school counselor takes on outsized importance.

Of particular concern is the requirement in SB 49 that if a student uses a pronoun that differs from that assigned at birth or goes by a name of their own choosing, teachers and staff must divulge this information to the student’s parents, whether or not the student wants this personal information to be shared. This “outing” requirement deprives students of their right to decide to whom to disclose this deeply personal information, and the circumstances of this intimate disclosure. “Outing” students to their parents or guardians regardless of the particular family context, the attitudes of the parents, or the potential psychological or physical trauma to students, goes against basic Quaker values.

The Religious Society of Friends has a long and full history of supporting decisions made in the guidance of one’s conscience. Thus, Raleigh Friends Meeting affirms our support for the concerns expressed in this minute. Also, the Meeting affirms our support for decisions of conscience taken by all those of our Quaker community with regard to Senate Bill 49, especially regarding conscientious refusal to “out” students to their parents.
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Approved at Raleigh Friends Meeting for Worship with attention to Business,
10th Month, 15th, 2023

Women's Reproductive Health Minute, approved April 16, 2023

Raleigh Friends Meeting recognizes that people of good will can have divergent views regarding women’s reproductive rights and choices. After careful discernment, RFM believes that supporting women’s reproductive rights and choices speaks to Quaker values that are key to our faith, especially non-violence, equality, and dignity of the individual. We are in unity that a woman should have autonomy over her body and should be free of coercion, by government or by any other force, regarding decisions over her health care choices. We view this decision as a civil rights issue and are supportive of the separation of church and government regarding these choices. RFM believes that supporting women’s reproductive rights speaks to our commitment to anti-racism and to our commitment to equality in our care for all individuals in the world and to a loving community that supports the physical, emotional and spiritual health and welfare of its members. A woman’s right to
access and choose the complete spectrum of reproductive healthcare should be fully preserved.

Becoming an Anti-racist Faith Community (July 2019)

Responding to and inspired by Friends General Conference’s report on racism, Raleigh Friends Meeting(RFM) commits to becoming an anti-racist faith community. In making this decision we are acknowledging that systemic racism and white privilege are long-standing and continuing problems in American society. As part of that society, we recognize that as individuals and Quakers we have too often been blind to our own failings and to the part we play in perpetuating racism and white privilege.

In committing to the work of becoming anti-racist we know that confronting our failures will be difficult and painful. Guided by faith and grace, we are willing to accept this challenge and to do the necessary work. We see this work as essential if we are truly to live our Quaker testimonies and recognize that of God in everyone.  As part of the work of becoming an anti-racist community and institution RFM will ask committees and business meetings to use the query, “How does this decision support RFM in its goal to transform into an actively anti-racist faith community?” whenever we make a decision.

United Nations General Assembly’s Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty (April 2018)

We, Quakers of Raleigh Friends Meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States, support the new United Nations General Assembly’s Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty. (A copy of that treaty is available at: http://undocs.org/A/CONF.229/2017/8)

In accordance with the Quaker Peace Testimony, Quakers have worked tirelessly for abolition of nuclear weapons ever since United States airplanes dropped two of these secretly produced bombs on August 6 and 9, 1945. The bombs destroyed both Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, and the world has not yet recovered from all that those two bombs destroyed.

There is much work yet to do if we are to achieve actual abolition, to which our own government is adamantly opposed. The United States Congress has allocated a trillion dollars, already being used, to modernize our own nuclear arsenal over the next thirty years. Very few of our citizens are even aware of this new United Nations treaty since the major media have not reported on its development or discussed publicly its impact.

Let us share with our fellow citizens that the door to abolition of nuclear weapons is open.  We commit to make the United Nations peace efforts better known.  The UN has long been a leader in supporting and promoting global peace as evidenced by the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the Chemical Weapons Ban and the Ban on Torture. As responsible citizens of the world, we Americans need to accept the challenge of the UN General Assembly by supporting and adopting this treaty.

Supporting the NC Inquiry on Torture (August 2017)

As Quakers, we seek a world at peace and free of cruelty. Torture is inhumane, immoral, illegal, and ineffective.  The U.S. policy on torture must be kept consistent, not only with our nation’s laws, but also with such international standards as the Geneva Conventions and the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Raleigh Friends Meeting supports the faithful work of the NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture  (http://www.nccit.org/) as it seeks to investigate and establish public accountability for North Carolina’s role in covert acts of detention and torture following the attacks on 9/11. We call upon Gov. Cooper and NC Attorney General Josh Stein to support this effort by complying with NC-CIT’s public records request for information concerning use of North Carolina’s aviation infrastructure in said covert activity.

An explanation of our Black Lives Matter sign (May 2017)
Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Raleigh Friends Meeting shares the following minute explaining RFM’s decision to display a Black Lives Matter sign in our front yard.

“In living our values and principles, Quakers have had a long standing commitment to peace and social justice issues. Quakers recognize that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, which is why we continue to support civil and human rights struggles.

Following the lead of the American Friends Service Committee(AFSC), Raleigh Friends Meeting agrees that Movement for Black Lives Platform is aligned with our values and with the work of AFSC in “building peace, immigrant rights, addressing prisons, just economies, and ending racism and discrimination.”

In support of these leadings, Raleigh Friends Meeting have given thoughtful consideration to the proposal to install a Black Lives Matter sign in our front yard. Some Friends have expressed that we are concerned about all human lives. Given the history of race relations in our nation and the events unfolding today, we have decided that is appropriate to exhibit a Black Lives Matter sign in our yard.”

Standing Rock Water Protectors (January 2017)

Raleigh Friends Meeting would like to minute our support of the Standing Rock Water Protectors in their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. We stand in solidarity with their efforts to protect their sacred grounds and insure safe water for their community.

The Water Protectors are sacrificing and taking risks to protect the earth’s resources for the benefit of all of us, not just their own interests.

Despite having erred in our historical support of Native Americans in a way that did not reflect our Quaker testimonies, this minute reflects our continued support of all Native Peoples in the present day.

They are standing for earth-care and social justice for all.

North Carolina House Bill 2 (May 2016)

Raleigh Friends Meeting stands in strong opposition to HB2. We find it is highly discriminatory and contrary to the best interests of the community, its members and the economic and moral wellbeing of the state.

Condolence and Support - Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (July 2015)

Minute of Condolence and Support to the congregation of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston, South Carolina.

Letter to the Editor - N&O - Use of Torture (December 2014)

Doug Jennette, a long-time member of Raleigh Friends Meeting, was published in 21 December 2014’s News and Observer‘s Letter to the Editor.

Making monsters

Eugene Robinson’s Dec. 13 column “ Answering evil with evil” on the use of torture eloquently speaks to the core of an issue we face as a nation: Will we adhere to our deepest principles even when we are afraid, vulnerable, hurt or confused?

Whether it’s Dick Cheney’s “dark side” or Charles Krauthammer’s “by whatever means meet and fit the threat,” we are faced with confronting the damage done, not just to the tortured, but to ourselves when we condone or practice torture. We inflict and incur moral injury, soul wounds, as well as physical and mental anguish under such circumstances. Sen. John McCain knows and speaks the truth about this as a torture victim.

In 1886 the German philosopher Friedrick Nietzsche offered the following warning: “He who fights with monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” Those words are just as relevant in today’s America as they were in 19th century Germany. And I hope our national leaders will remember and courageously speak to our best selves and values as we face the challenges to come.

DOUG JENNETTE, RALEIGH

Accepting the invitation to join PFYM (July 2014)
This minute accepts the invitation to join Piedmont Friends Yearly Meeting.
Proposed PFF minute in support of UCC lawsuit which RFM has approved (July 2014)
Raleigh Friends Meeting agreed to support the Piedmont Friends Fellowship Minute on 15 Sixth Month 2014. The PFF Minute reads as follows:

The Piedmont Friends Fellowship supports the principle of separation of church and state as presented in the lawsuit brought by the United Church of Christ against the State of North Carolina.  We note that in Western culture in general and specifically in the United States and North Carolina, the solemnization of marriage has been historically considered to be a function religious communities. 

Quakers have a 360 year history of independently conducting marriages, and we are concerned with the intrusion into this practice by the recent legal requirements in North Carolina that place restrictions against freely doing so.  We are concerned that current North Carolina law is unconstitutional in that it makes law breakers of priests, ministers, pastors, and others who as a matter religious principle wish to solemnize and support marriages in accordance with the accepted practices of their denominations.

The Moratorium of the Death Penalty (July 2013)
The Society of Friends, Quakers, recognizes that there is “that of God” in every person. We believe that all persons are deserving of opportunities for redemption as long as life continues. We assert that all human lives are precious. We renounce violence as a solution to violence, whether in war or in punishment.

Therefore, we hold that the death penalty is wrong in any conceivable circumstance, and we call for its final abolition in the United States.

Contributing to the public debate on abolition, we believe that the following are true.

  • There is racial disparity in capital case indictments, in sentencing, and in the imposition of the death penalty.
  • There is class disparity in capital cases, leaving the poorest people least able to afford legal representation and most likely to face the death penalty.
  • Limits on appeals have left such people even more vulnerable and with even less legal representation.
  • There is growing evidence that innocent people are being sentenced to death and a growing probability that some of them may be or are being executed. The death penalty does not allow for human error. Our sad history in the United States is that innocent persons have been executed, at least 23 in the past century. We are appalled that the U.S. Supreme Court has voted, in cases involving new, post-trial evidence indicating possible innocence, that such evidence does not constitute grounds for retrial or for halting executions.
  • Capital punishment is destructive of the social fabric within which we live.

Religious and professional organizations, including the American Bar Association and the NC Academy of Trial Lawyers, are calling for a halt to executions. Therefore, we join in a call to Governor Easley of North Carolina, to our state and federal senators and representatives, and to President Bush to enact and adopt legislation imposing an immediate moratorium on executions.

Amendment One to the NC Constitution (February 2012)
Minute regarding Amendment One proposed to the NC State Constitution which states, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.

Raleigh Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is called to respond to the decision by the NC House and Senate to put on the ballot in May a constitutional amendment limiting legally recognized unions to the marriage of one man and one woman. As a community of faith concerned with the welfare of our families and children, we must voice our opposition to this initiative. The actual and potential harm, in the form of enhanced social stigmatization, economic hardship and emotional vulnerability, to families and children far outweighs any conceivable benefit to be gained by our state by this misguided action. Out state constitution should defend the rights of every citizen and not be used to limit the freedom of anyone to pursue a healthy, family-centered life.

19th Day, 2nd Month, 2012

The Rights of Public Employees (January 2008)
Raleigh Friends Meeting endorses North Carolina House Bill 1583, An Act to Restore Contract Rights to State and Local Entities, and will join the NC Hear Our Public Employees (HOPE) Coalition as a Supporting Organization. NC HOPE Coalition comprises nine Core Partners that represent state, county, and municipal employees, as well as over 30 Supporting Organizations such as faith-based, political, and labor organizations.

The Meeting will urge all Quakers in North Carolina to affiliate with NC HOPE Coalition as Meetings or as individuals, and to communicate to their NC state senators and representatives, their support of repealing a low enacted in 1959 that prohibits NC state and local governmental units from entering into contracts with their employees.

In communicating with others, we emphasize the Quaker testimony for social justice, equality, and the peaceable resolution of conflict.

Marriage (May 2004)
Marriage is a sacred commitment of two people to love one another in faithful partnership with the expectation that the relationship will mature and be mutually enriching. Friends know that marriage depends on the inner experiences of the couple who marry and not on any external service or words. Thus, the ceremony in which the couple enter into this commitment is performed by the couple, in the presence of God, the families, and the worshiping community. Both the solemnity and the joy of the occasion are enhanced by its simplicity.

Raleigh Friends Meeting (RFM) will accept a request for marriage, under the care of the Meeting, of any two people and respond to that request in the traditional manner of Friends as stated in Faith and Practice of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (1997).

With the arriving at clearness for marriage under the care of the Meeting, RFM accepts and encourages an ongoing and mutual responsibility between the couple and RFM, for the care and nurture of the marriage.

Friends acknowledge that the Meeting’s understanding of marriage and the legal definition of marriage may be some times at variance. A couple’s coming to clarity about marriage involves recognizing the difference between a sacred commitment and a legally recognized one.

Approved the fifth month 16th day in the year 2004

Our support of other congregations

Letters of Condolence

Letter of Condolence - Congregation Sha’arei Shalom (November 18, 2018)
Rabbi Seth Klayman
Congregation Sha’arei Shalom
P.O. Box 3187
Cary NC 27519-3187

Dear Rabbi Seth Klayman and Congregation Sha’arei Shalom;

Our hearts hurt for the hate and attempted violence your synagogue experienced recently. Thank you for your example of commitment to your faith and your good works in the wider community. We grieve that you were the targeted because of your religious beliefs.

Raleigh Friends Meeting,(Quakers), have a long tradition of advocating for a world without violence, a world that respects our differences, and a world that cares and supports those who are in need and suffering. When the rights and security of any people are infringed upon, we stand in unity with them.

You are our brothers and sisters. ​We offer our love and support and are holding you in the Light. If there is a planned response we would like to participate in whatever way you feel appropriate.

With love and respect,

Jan Schmidt and Bill Moore, co-clerks

On behalf of the Members of RFM

Letter of Condolence - Tree of Life Synagogue (November 18, 2018)
Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers
Tree of Life Synagogue
5898 Wilkens Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Dear Rabbi Myers and Tree of Life Congregants;

Our hearts hurt for the suffering and violence your synagogue experienced in recent weeks. Your commitment to helping refugees and immigrants is a blessing and we grieve that you were the target of violence and hate because of your good works.

Raleigh Friends Meeting,(Quakers), have a long tradition of advocating for a world without violence, a world that respects our differences, and a world that cares and supports those who are in need and suffering. When the rights and security of any people are infringed upon, we stand in unity with them.

You are our brothers and sisters. We hold you all in the Light and celebrate and mourn for those lovely people whom you lost in such a senseless act.

With love and respect,

Jan Schmidt and Bill Moore, co-clerks
On behalf of Members of Raleigh Friends Meeting