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Your First Quaker Meeting
In silence, we seek and find spiritual nourishment and renewal.
Quaker worship is a shared, mostly silent seeking of the inward Light.
Quaker meetings for worship begin when the first person to arrive has sat down in silence. As others join the meeting, we move into silent worship together. There is no pre-arranged order of service and, on each occasion we meet, the shared silence can take on a life of its own. This means that a newcomer or visitor cannot take one or two Meetings as typical: the serious enquirer should stay with us awhile. Silence for Friends is not merely stillness or the absence of sound. A living silence is a time for listening, a time for self-surrender, a time for a deep sense of fellowship with one another and an opportunity to experience the presence of God (whatever “God” may mean to each individual).
Meeting for Worship
Quakers usually hold Meetings for Worship for an hour on Sunday mornings, although meetings can also take place at other times. Meeting for Worship begins when the first person has taken their place in the room and ends when two Quakers shake hands. We sit in a circle, which reminds us of the equality of everyone present. Our Meetings for Worship are based on silence, and a meeting of an hour may not include any spoken ministry. We try to find a place of stillness within the silence in which we can reflect, listen and connect with others at Meeting.
Out of the silence might come a call to speak, and any individual in the meeting may stand up and speak to the gathered group: what is said is a response to the experience of the worship. When others speak to us sincerely from the depth of their experience, whether in Meeting for Worship or elsewhere, we are advised to listen to what truth their words may contain for us.
What we offer
As one Quaker has articulated:
“We offer a spiritual journey: a journey that is undertaken with others in our meeting, and which is reflected in turn in their journeys. We offer a faith which is based on personal experience and which contains no dogma – Quakers do not believe what they are told. We offer a spiritual life in which belief is shown through action, so it follows that there is no dotted line on which you have to sign. We are a faith which readily acknowledges and welcomes its Christian roots and remains open to new light from wherever it may come. We offer the still waiting on God of our Meeting for Worship. We offer our testimonies – particularly the Testimony to Equality from which everything else stems. We offer the transforming power of silence.”
Children and Young People
Children and young people are valued and recognised by our meeting as individuals in their own right.
They enjoy coming to meeting and making friends. They are encouraged to be open to new ideas and a sense of seeking. They share with and show concern for others.
In our Sunday sessions they have opportunities to learn about Quakers, Christianity and other religions and philosophies. They have opportunities to discuss and consider moral and social issues. They also learn about love, peace and conflict resolution, as part of everyday life.
Families are welcomed and supported to play an active part in the life of the Meeting with a growing sense of community.
We hold a Children’s Meeting on the first Sunday of every month.
Quaker faith and practice is an attempt to express Truth through the vital personal and corporate experience of Friends. It is largely composed of extracts: a fitting way of expressing the breadth of Quaker theology. Here are three reviews of our red book:
‘To Quakers, the visible mark of being a ‘church’ is not conformity to a particular creed, or liturgical or sacramental practice, but the quality of communal life which reveals the extent of the community’s willingness to seek and follow the Spirit’s call to loving fellowship…”
‘The book is a treasure-house of psychological and spiritual wisdom… At best, there is an honesty, a toughness and a tenderness that is powerfully impressive.”
‘The book’s great strength is that it achieves its purpose of expressing the ‘soul’ of the Quakers… If you want to know what Quakers have said about ageing, AIDS and atonement or about tithes, tobacco and torture, not to mention hundreds of other topics, you will find some illuminating answers here.”
CLICK HERE or on the image to see a FREE online copy of Quaker Faith and Practice.
Even though we do not have a creed, we do have Advices, based on the spiritual wisdom gleaned over the years. We also have a set of spiritual Queries which help us individually and as communities to consider our spiritual condition. Two examples from our Advices & Queries that we call the little red book:
Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life.
Do you respect that of God in everyone though it may be expressed in unfamiliar ways or be difficult to discern? Each of us has a particular experience of God and each must find the way to be true to it. When words are strange or disturbing to you, try to sense where they come from and what has nourished the lives of others. Listen patiently and seek the truth which other people’s opinions may contain for you. Avoid hurtful criticism and provocative language. Do not allow the strength of your convictions to betray you into making statements or allegations that are unfair or untrue. Think it possible that you may be mistaken.
CLICK HERE or on the image to see a FREE online copy of Advices & Queries.