About Fifteenth Street Friends

Fifteenth Street Friends Meeting is a Quaker Meeting where we sit together quietly, with a spirit of openness. Anyone can share a message, if we feel led to share “spoken ministry” from the divine. We have no clergy, and there are no speeches by leaders; this kind of Meeting is called “unprogrammed.” We don’t follow a set order of worship, although a Ministry & Worship committee helps guide our process. We believe in being fully present during Meeting for Worship. We believe we are a community under divine guidance.

The Religious Society of Friends arose in 17th-century England, part of a larger movement of those seeking direct spiritual encounter with God. Our Founders, including George Fox (1624–1691), called themselves “Friends of the Truth.” Critics nick-named Friends “Quakers” since some believers visibly “trembled at the word of the Lord.” 

For the first decade of the traveling ministry of George Fox, Friends were without formal organization. But in 1656, some Friends assembled and wrote twenty “Advices.” This book formed the basis of an evolving Book of Discipline, or “Faith and Practice.” It has guided and evolved with subsequent generations of Friends. The power behind Friends’ communal practice derives from Jesus’s words: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

(Adapted from the Fifteenth Street Friends Meeting Handbook and New York Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice)