What happens in a Quaker Meeting for Worship?

On arrival we like to settle down comfortably in the Meeting Room a few minutes before the appointed time. The Meeting begins when the first person sits down in the meeting room and begins the silent journey inwards, so it is important to be as still and quiet as possible right from the beginning. Make sure that you are sitting comfortably early in the Meeting.

The Meeting Room is a simple room with chairs arranged around a central table.
On the table are copies of the Bible (in several languages), copies of Quaker Faith & Practice and Advices and Queries (these two books give the essence of the Quaker way). Anyone may refer to these books during the Meeting if they feel that they could be helpful to them. In some meetings there may also be a lighted candle or some flowers on the table.

Our Meetings are held in silence. There is no ceremony or ritual; the Meeting takes the form of a silent contemplation or meditation. There is no priest or pastor; everyone is equally responsible for the silence and for the words that may be spoken. Anyone may speak if he or she feels that the Silence will be enriched by the message however hesitant or imperfect it may seem. In this Silence we become less aware of external noise, more aware of one another, and more able to tune in and listen to God. Through this we can find God in ourselves and in other people. We seek to ‘know one another in that which is eternal’. If you find it difficult to stay focussed in the Silence, this may be because of some inner restlessness, troubled thoughts or external disturbances. Acknowledge their presence and gently let them go.

Our expectation is that the Silence will deepen. Gradually we develop our own methods of helping to achieve this, but it takes time and patience. Sometimes the whole hour is silent, but it is more usual for the Silence to be broken (but not interrupted) several times by a thought, a reading or a prayer from one of those present.

As the Meeting proceeds, you may notice a common thread running through it. If what is said does not seem right for you, remember that it may be exactly what someone else needs to hear. Try to be open to what lies behind the words that are spoken in the Silence. Quakers aim to build a community of trust and mutual acceptance. Remember: no two Meetings for Worship are ever the same, so it is a good idea to come on several different occasions if this is possible.

At the end of the Meeting, all those present join hands. Visitors are welcomed and you may introduce yourself if you wish. Information is then shared about activities in the Meeting and in the local area that may be of interest. Afterwards everyone is invited to have tea / coffee. Do not be shy: speak to anyone present and ask him or her for more information about Quakers. Everyone will be happy to tell you what he or she knows.

Information leaflets and pamphlets about Quakers are available free of charge; please take them. Sometimes there are books for sale on Quakerism or subjects of interest to those who attend our Meetings. There is also a Newsletter; you can add your name to the mailing list in order to receive this regularly if you wish.

We hope that you will enjoy our Meeting for Worship and feel comfortable with us. Please come again – it often takes some time to feel totally at home in the Silence.

—–’Stillness feeds the Spirit’—-

 

 

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