Reedwood Friends is a Quaker community. The word Quaker originated as an unkind nickname for Friends, but was soon adopted by those early Friends of Truth over 300 years ago. Now the words Friends and Quakers are virtually synonymous.
Friends arose in England during a period of stagnation, formalism and frequent warfare among the established Christian churches. George Fox and other early Friends traveled all over (and soon beyond) the English-speaking world of the mid-1600’s proclaiming that “Jesus has come to teach his people himself.” They attracted thousands of spiritually hungry men and women who longed for a real relationship with Christ and were ready to live according to the ethical implications of that relationship in peace, integrity, equality, simplicity, and the close mutual support that such radical faithfulness required. Friends soon spread to the European continent and especially to the American colonies.
Over the generations since then, the original fervor cooled off, and at times serious divisions crept in among Friends, but the vision of a community of intimacy with God, lived out through Spirit-led worship and commitment to service, has never left us. During the periods of revivalism in the USA, Friends regained some momentum, and the last century saw the spread of Friends faith and practice to many countries around the globe. Africa is now the continent with the most Quakers.
For a more in-depth introduction to Quakerism, visit this primer from Quaker Maps.