Camas Friends seeks to love God and love people. Some of the ways we can live this love have been articulated in the form of Quaker testimonies. These testimonies are more than creeds, doctrines, or values. They are more like practiced beliefs. They should take root in us, be nurtured, and come to characterize our lives. The following six testimonies characterize the Quaker way of being Christian and can be remembered by the acronym “SPICES”:
Simplicity. Simplicity challenges consumerism, clutter, and busyness. It turns us inward. It prevents our possessions from becoming barriers to our relationships. It encourages restraint. It helps us be present to one another.
Peace. Peace encourages Spirit-led corporate unity in decision-making. It promotes trust over fear. It encourages creativity and care in resolving conflict. It helps us stand against all forms of violence. It encourages reconciliation. It pushes not only for the decrease of war but the increase of harmonious relationships. Peace is not simply the absence of conflict but the presence of individual and communal flourishing.
Integrity. Integrity encourages coherence between what we belief and what we practice. It encourages kind and clear truth-telling. It often means confrontation. It encourages us to articulate what we believe and why we believe it but to be open to changing our minds or learning something new.
Community. Community reminds us that we need each other. We need care, collaboration, and the guidance of others. Group discernment is essential. There is power in gathering together. Dialogue is crucial. Our loving and just action is even more powerful when we collaborate. We all have unique gifts and perspectives that enrich the entire congregation and world.
Equality. All are made in God’s image. There is “that of God” in every person. Equality reminds us to include all and respect all opinions, particularly people whose voices have been traditionally ignored or muted. Equality prompts us to work for social justice. To liberate and empower. To make space for others. To reject discrimination, challenge prejudices, and be mindful of our privilege.
Stewardship. Our lives are gifts from God. Others are gifts. The earth is a gift. Stewardship encourages us to be responsible with what we’ve be given and whom we’ve given. We are not simply our own but belong to others. We recognize how self-care impacts care for others. We seek to be mindful of how our lifestyles impact the earth, our global neighbors, and future generations and seek to care for the earth.