Who are Quakers?
Welcome to Chatham-Summit Friends Meeting
As Quakers, we worship together in silence, expectantly waiting on the Spirit. We have no designated minister, believing that every person has direct experience of the Spirit. We minister to each other through both silence and spoken messages, without use of hymns or rituals. Quaker process is grounded in meditative listening and expectant waiting for Divine Guidance. It is a religion of continuing revelation - the belief that God is ever present and speaks directly to each individual.
Our weekly worship service, where we meet for an hour of collective meditation, is the highlight of our week. We are all ministers, available as the conduits of Divinely inspired messages. A typical Meeting for worship involves a period of settling into meditation. The entire hour may pass in a rich corporate silence or with several short messages, each followed by silence, so the message has time to be heard and included in personal reflection. Meeting for worship is broken by the shaking of hands.
What to expect
During worship, do not be anxious about distracting thoughts, but ride through them to the still center and try, if only for an instant, to let yourself be quiet in body, mind and soul. We seek the Inner Light and the still small voice within to guide us.
You may feel moved by the Spirit to share a message in meeting. When a message first presents itself, it is helpful to wait before standing to deliver it in vocal ministry. Sometimes thoughts arise that are just for you yourself or for sharing with only one or two others. And some thoughts may be more appropriate as announcements or discussion topics. Vocal ministry, on the other hand, arises from an inward, spiritual prompting, insistent, direct and difficult to resist. We share a message when waiting makes it clear that we can no longer keep it to ourselves.
Before speaking in meeting, you may find it helpful to consider the following queries:
- Is this a message from the Spirit?
- Am I ready to share it simply and clearly?
- Can this message wait for another time?
- Can I speak into the silence without disturbing worship?
If you speak, the message should be loud enough for all to hear.
Once someone has stood to share a message, it is important to let it settle into the silence for a while. On occasion, a meeting for worship can pass without anyone speaking at all but with a deep sense of the presence of the Spirit.
A designated person ends worship with a handshake. Announcements are made at the close of Meeting for Worship. Afterwards, feel free to speak to anyone, and to ask any questions you have. Please join us for fellowship and refreshments in the gathering room after meeting, and sign our visitors' book outside the meeting room.
Children usually join us for the first 15 minutes of worship, before attending First Day school.