The Shakers are a religious group that believes in the second appearance of Christ. The Shakers are a Christian sect of millenarian restorers founded in England during the 18th century. The Shakers were previously called “Shaking Quakers” because of their euphoric worshiping behavior. The first Shaker community in colonial America was New Lebanon, New York, and practiced a common and unmarried lifestyle, equality of all sexes and pacifism. Women like Jane Wardley and Lucy Wright assumed leadership roles as early as 1747.
Origin of the Agitators
The Shakers, officially the United Society of Believers in the second representation of Christ, were a Christian religious group formed in northwestern England during the 18th century. In 1747, Jane and James Wardley, among others, broke from the Quakers during a time when the Quakers were weaning their group from frantic spiritual expressions. Jane and James Wardley founded the Wardley company, also called Shaking Quakers. Shaker’s beliefs were based on spiritualism, including the idea that the Shakers received messages directly for the spirit of God that they expressed during their religious awakenings. During silent meditations, society experienced what they claimed to be a message from God.
Who was the first shaker leader?
Since its inception, Shakers have been led by women. In fact, the first leader was Jane Wardley, who was then followed by Ann Lee. Wardley was a religious preacher who gave his sermons in Bolton, England, where he urged his congregation to repent, for the Lord’s Kingdom was near. Wardley focused primarily on the second coming of Christ and explained to his group the importance of Christ’s first resurrection. Members of society considered women as leaders because they believed that the second coming of Christ would take place through a woman. Ann Lee was revealed to the sect through a manifestation of the divine light of being the second coming of Christ; therefore she was notoriously called Mother Anna by her followers.
Who was the first male Shaker leader?
After the death of Ann Lee, James Whittaker, his son, became the leader of the sect. Under Whittaker, the Shaker communities were established in New England, and in 1785 their meeting point was built in New Lebanon (now Mount Lebanon), in the US state of New York. After his death, Joseph Meacham took over the leadership of the Shakers. The Shaker members believed that Meacham had the gift of revelation and, along with Lucy Wright, developed Shaker communitarianism and, by the end of 1793, all Shaker communities consecrated communism.
In addition to the first community, many other Shaker communities developed between 1787 and 1792, throughout England and the United States. The 19th century was a period of manifestation for the Shakers, which was characterized by gift songs, dances and gift designs. By the mid-19th century, the company had more believers than 6,000, but by 1920 there were only twenty communities left in the United States. Celibacy, in addition to internal and external social changes, has led to the thinning out of the Shakers. Currently, there is only one active Shaker community, the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, located in the state of Maine.