Funeral Rites Across Different Cultures: Quakers

Quakers are a diverse global community inspired by the values of harmony, equality, and integrity.  Quakers belong to a historically Protestant Christian set of denominations known as the Religious Society of Friends; members refer to one another simply as “Friend.”  Taking seriously the call to loving enemies and the practice of nonviolence, Quakers seek to experience God within themselves and in their relationships with the world around them.

Quakers believe that God manifests as an inner light in every soul.  Therefore, the theme of a Quaker funeral is to be thankful to God for the life that has been lived.  Quakers give thanks to the grace of God as shown in the life of the departed and help mourner’s experience God’s love.  In the same spirit, Quaker funerals take place typically after a worship meeting.  Following the worship meeting, members sit in reflective meditation.  It is, however, acceptable for anyone to stand and speak about the departed.  Mourners deliver uplifting prayers, songs, memories, and readings to bring comfort amid loss.  As Quaker funerals occur after a worship meeting, a casket or urn is generally not present and there is no wake or viewing held before the funeral.

A Quaker funeral is not a somber affair but a time for celebrating the life of the departed.  Since black is traditionally the color of mourning in the West, Quakers tend to avoid wearing it to funerals.

Established as a non-sectarian cemetery, Woodlawn is the eternal resting place for people of all races, cultures, and religions.

Woodlawn continues to be a non-sectarian cemetery without a specific religious affiliation.