Quaker A to Z: Q is for Quality and Quakers

Quaker by Amber Kennedy on Flickr

This is part of the Quaker Alphabet Project – click here for more information.

Q is for Quality

Quaker used to be synonymous with Quality – hence the picture of a Quaker on the oatmeal pack.


The attempt to identify and apply Christian values in practice is a struggle laid upon each generation. As new knowledge, new methods, new technologies arise, so is the condition for the operation of conscience altered and advanced.

To list the attributes of Christian quality would be to repeat much of the Sermon on the Mount. They can be summed up as personal integrity combined with compassion. Such quality can shine out in the work situation as in the social and religious life… It is characterised by the refusal to put up with the second best; a capacity to take infinite pains with other people; especially is it shown in the constant effort to seek higher standards beyond the traditional practices or those provided for in regulations.

Edward W Fox, 1969

Quality of course has another meaning – that distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something. We might hope that people visiting our Meeting Houses may come away with an feeling about our Quaker values or qualities.

The Quality of Work

But first I’m referring to the necessity to consider the quality of work and items that Premises committee buy or commission. It can be false economy to buy lower quality goods or to go for the cheapest quote – especially for a busy meeting house that is used by the public.

I enjoy working as part of a group and fully appreciate the number of hours donated by members of the meeting to maintain and improve the premises. However, to balance that there are also instances that cutting corners or having work done by a group can lead to problems. There was a comment in a handbook that warned Premises Committees to be careful of the costs of putting to rights the work of well-meaning amateurs.

Quality and Value
Wetwebwork on Flickr

The Quality of Values.

How can we manage our buildings and surrounding areas in such a way that those who come into contact with them, come away knowing a bit more about Quakers or at least those distinctive attribute or characteristic that Quaker Testimonies have lead us to develop.

This isn’t outreach in its most common form – I’m not including only those who come seeking and questing to the meeting for spiritual nurture; but also those who come to attend a class, pick up a child, deliver a parcel or even just stand outside and wait for a bus.

  • What Qualities would the meeting want to promote?
  • How has your meeting created such a space?

To browse through all of the posts click on the Quaker A-Z link here or in the side bar.

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