Meeting for Worship
The meeting for worship is the heart of the Friends’ Meeting. Our manner of worship is based on the experience that everyone can enter into direct communion with God without an intermediary or ritual.
We invite you to join us in our meeting for worship, which is based in silence–yet we gather in an expectant, waiting worship. Individually and as a community we are attentively listening for the ‘still, small voice of God’. Our worship has no set program or leader, yet we are gathered in a shared spiritual discipline, dependent on God’s active, loving presence in our midst.
When Friends (commonly called Quakers) settle into worship the silence is often filled with depth and meaning. Some in the meeting may come to feel God (Spirit) is giving them a message (vocal ministry) for the other worshippers. It is not unusual for Friends to tremble or quake (hence our name) as they are filled with the Spirit and earnestly discerning if they are truly being led to speak to the meeting.
When Friends speak, the movement arises as a deep religious experience and is accompanied by the conviction that the experience must be shared. The message comes from a place of humility. It is neither casual nor polished, and should never be argumentative. If you are so led, please stand and speak loudly and clearly so that all may hear the message given to you.
After a Friend has spoken, the real ministry begins as the message settles into the hearts of the worshipers. Quaker practice, then, suggests a period of silence following each speaker. This lets the members of the Meeting receive the ministry, as it speaks to their spiritual condition.
It is also not uncommon for a meeting for worship to be completely silent–yet we can feel God is moving in the meeting. When Friends are patient and attentive they sense an experience of silent communion.
Meeting for worship ends when the Friend with care of meeting shakes hands with Friends next to him/her. Then all shake hands and there will be a time for announcements, First Day School reports, introductions, and refreshments.
We suggest that you allow yourself to experience Quaker worship on several occasions before deciding its suitability for you (and your family). Remember that for all of us the experience of worship deepens with patience and practice.