“Conservative” for Quakers is not a political or social term. Conservative means conserving the original fire, faith, and practices of radical reformation of Quakers from the 1600’s England. It means worship in the belief that the living Christ communicates to us all directly from within, in the silence, and that no outward church structures or priestly authority can mediate this inner voice of Christ, the Inward Teacher, the Spirit of Truth whom Jesus promises us in John’s Gospel. So “conservative” really means radical, experiential, first-hand Christianity, from within. As Quakers turned to Christ directly, they were freed from the control of the State Church of England, thus becoming a threat to the establishment, and were persecuted for it.
Conservative Friends still need to go within to find the living Light, or Spirit, of Christ, the Teacher (just as Jesus taught us in the last supper sermon, John 13-17). The whole purpose of our worship is to hear and respond to that Spirit. Conservative means to uphold and nurture the radical beginnings of our movement, to keep it moving, as Christ leads us in building the heavenly kingdom, like ending slavery, supporting women’s rights, prison reform, and recognizing the preciousness of every human being, each of us made in the image of God and containing the priceless seed of Jesus the same fire and faith that come from the experience of Christ’s love and power within moves us to live, 24/7, in His life and power. Our waiting worship is only a part of the continuous rest in integrity, simplicity, humility, service, and love of ALL that was the witness of the lives of those first called “Quakers”. We strive to maintain a similar witness with our own lives.