What to expect at meeting for worship:
Worshippers enter the room, and sit in a circle of chairs. There are no assigned seats. Worship “begins” when the first person sits in the space in the quiet. This is unprogrammed worship – which means there is no leader or pastor, and no hymns or specific reading. We sit in the silence, listening for what we sometimes call “the still, small voice” or “Inner Teacher” – a nudge from the divine, shared by everyone in the room. Someone present may feel an urge to rise and speak a few words, or thoughts that have come to them. We call this a “message”. Other times, we might sit in silence the entire time, listening more inwardly.
After about a half hour, the children from first day school join us in worship. Sometimes they are restless – but this is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to be present together in the community, and learn how to listen. Adults are sometimes fidgety also!
When almost an hour has passed, the Friend who has “care of worship” will ask those present to share joys, sorrows, and concerns out of the worship. At this time, anyone can share something out of the silence – allowing for space in between for reflection.
As the hour comes to a close, the Friend who had care of meeting will shake the hand of the person next to them – indicating meeting has ended. We all then shake hands, greet each other, and listen to announcements and welcome.
This video might be helpful in learning more about Quaker worship:
Frequently Asked Questions:
What should I wear? Dress is casual and comfortable.
How do children participate? Children begin our worship time in first day school, with a prepared lesson and discussion. Our youngest children attend infant/childcare. Our greeter at the door can assist you with finding the teachers for this time. ANY child is also welcome to sit with adults in worship for the entire time. We try to do what is best for the child and families.
Where should I sit? You may sit in any open seats in the room. If you have trouble hearing, you might want to sit closer to the front rows.
Where is parking? Public parking for meeting is in the school’s side lot, by the entrance in the courtyard, or along Cadbury Road in front of the school. Handicap spaces are closest to the courtyard entrance (the entrance we use), and our “Fresh Pond Meeting” hanging sign.
Are you handicap accessible? We are handicap accessible. We currently do not have a hearing assist system. Please contact the clerks if you have specific needs.
Why do you call this “meeting” and not “church”? Quakers call the “Church” the body of worshippers. The actual time of worship (not always on Sundays) is called a “Meeting for Worship”.
How can I find out more about Fresh Pond Meeting, and about Quakers in general? See the rest of these pages, and call or email the clerks. At the rise (end) of meeting for worship, the Friend with care of worship can also answer questions you may have.
A further helpful resource might be our book of Faith and Practice, which can be found online here. We also suggest a recent video series called Quakerspeak – which explores spiritual topics and concerns of modern Friends of varied traditions.