I guess I would say I am a liberal Quaker who leans towards Gnostic and Ancient Jewish theology. However I have always been facinated in the communal living of the essenes and the modern conservative friends. Life has not permited me to live in such a way , however it is still a hope of mine to see and experience at least once . I would like to learn more from liberal and Concervative friends and am looking to find some spiritual companions from all walks of understanding to share my light and experiences with .
Conservative Friends live in society and take full part in modern life. All Quakers seek simplicity, but very few live anything like an Amish lifestyle. The Ohio Yearly Meeting Book of Discipline says;
"Simplicity does not mean that all conform to uniform standards. Each must determine in the light that is given him what promotes and what hinders his compelling search for the Kingdom. The call to each is to abandon those things that clutter his life and to press toward the goal unhampered. This is true simplicity."
Oh Tamara, that is a question that keeps these pages running. In a nutshell conservative Quakers adhere to the original form of Quaker worship, that is unstructured and without a minister. Some conservative Friends plain dress, but by no means all. Generally conservative Quakers are strongly Christian. Liberal Quakers may also be Christian, but many are open to other ideas about the nature of god. A third group called evangelical Quakers are, like conservative Quakers, strongly Christian, but often move towards structured worship and often use pastors at meetings. These differences are not as great as they may seem and most Quakers have friends in other strands of worship.
I an a conservative Quaker in the respect of being strongly Christian, supporting unstructured meetings, and plain dressing, but I lean towards the liberal Quaker tradition in many other aspects of my faith and worship. If you are new to Quakerism, my advice is take your time before deciding if you are conservative?liberal?evangelical ~ get to know as many Friends as you can and you may find yourself naturally feeling more at ease in one tradition or the other. Those who like to bring all strands of Quaker worship together are called convergent Friends and that probably includes most of those you will find here at QuakerQuaker.
I'm sure that, being Quakers, others will want to add to this answer.
Thanks for your comment Tamara - Scotland is very cold and damp today with biting winds - in the UK in general most quaker meetings are part of Britain Yearly Meeting which is regarded as liberal. However, there is a lot of diversity within that, fortunately. Also, there are some Friends here who affiliate themselves with other, more conservative, groups, generally within the US. I leave it to others more informed than I am to explain more succinctly the differences. I myself live on a small island and the nearest Quakers are on the next island, so we don't manage to meet every week. I find this site, and Hay Quaker's blog, a good way of keeping in touch with Friends of all persuasions. Good to be in touch with you, Amanda