Voices of Sutton Quakers
One Sutton Quaker reflects on Meeting for Worship:
“The people who gather together week by week are known as a Meeting; this word applies both to the community of individuals and to the occasion for worship. The Meeting for Worship, which is the core of the Meeting, is usually held on a Sunday morning at a given hour. (In Sutton, this is now 10.30 a.m.) With early Friends it lasted as long as it lasted, sometimes several hours, but nowadays we usually keep it to an hour. For many, it is an oasis of peace in their busy lives. The silence of worship begins with the first person to enter the room and sit down, and ends when two Elders shake hands, when the rest of us usually shake hands too. Each person keeps the silence in their own way. Someone might try to wait, accepting then putting gently aside anything that comes into their head or disturbs their inner stillness. They probably try to lay aside their own agenda, having first acknowledged it, and try to avoid active thinking about anything, letting what
comes into their mind stay or go as it will. It is one way of “Waiting in the Light”, and probably each of us approaches it differently. Sometimes someone is moved to speak; they stand up and say what comes to them to say then sit down again. We call this ministry. They have spoken as the channel, not the source. It is our practice to leave a space after anyone has spoken, usually a substantial one, in which to reflect on what was said. If it doesn’t make sense to you, or speak to you, pass on, as you would pass on to the next dish at a buffet if some of the food did not appeal to you. Further contributions may add or may be along different lines, but they do not criticise ministry already given, and it is not a conversation. You can query something afterwards if you want to.”
Quaker Courses and Retreats
Quakerism can be a difficult religion to learn about. A lot of learning seems to happen by osmosis! If you’d like a weekend away to gain a deeper understanding about Quakerism, or to sign up for a course – anything from arts and crafts to Quaker spirituality – there’s a choice of venues. Most are in idyllic settings, and the food is usually sumptuous and delicious! Have a look at the short guide below. Find out more.