Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting is a member of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative). Conservative Friends are “conservative” in the sense that they tend to “conserve” the Friends tradition as it was believed and practiced in the mid-19th century. All branches of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) share common roots in a Christian movement that arose in England during the middle of the 17th century. Despite great diversity among the different branches of the Religious Society of Friends, we are generally united in a belief in the ability of each human being to experientially access the “light within” or “that of God in every one”.
Among the core beliefs which guide our Faith and Practice are:
Most fundamentally, Friends perceive “that of God” in all persons. This living presence, experienced variously as the Inner Light, the Holy Spirit, the Inward Christ, and the Divine Center, enables a person to enter into intimate communion with God, without intermediaries. Friends are led, inspired, enlightened, or chastened as they come into the Light in prayer. God is Love, and each of us has a spring of that Love within to draw upon for strength, wisdom, and compassion.
By means of the Inner Light, a person can discern “Truth.” Its entirety is more than any one person can know, and human frailties limit and color the measure granted us. A greater understanding of Truth can be attained by sharing discernments with one another, always humbly aware that anyone may be mistaken or may, by God’s grace, bring to light the very Truth we seek.
The meeting for worship is the heart of the Religious Society of Friends. Friends gather to experience communion with the Divine. In active, Expectant Silence we strive to let go of outward thoughts and to center inwardly. Each is aided and strengthened by the seeking of others and, since everyone is a participant in this fellowship, worship becomes a corporate experience.
In personal and corporate decision making, Friends seek to discern and follow the will of God. We have developed practices that are rooted in worship and discernment. Friends make decisions in a worshipful manner, patiently seeking together under the leadership of the Holy Spirit to uncover Truth pertaining to the issues at hand.
Intimacy with the Divine transforms us, and calls us to a distinct way of life: our testimony. As God is revealed to us individually and corporately, we are guided in the right ordering of our lives, our care for each other, our corporate practices, our testimonies and witness to all of humanity.