to Durham Friends Meeting
We at Durham Friends Meeting are eager to welcome visitors, newcomers, or those who may be exploring where they might best fit. We welcome you to attend our Meetings for Worship (on Sundays at 10:00 AM), to call or email us with any questions, or after being with us for a short while to consider joining one of our committees that may interest you. Consistent with the historic Quaker testimony of equality, we are a welcoming community eager to welcome you wherever you may be in your life journey.
Quakers in Durham
The Durham Friends Meeting is a congregation of members and attenders who seek to be active in our spiritual lives and in lives of service. The Religious Society of Friends (the official name for Quakers) has a long history of spiritually based activism involving our historic testimonies of equality, peace, integrity, simplicity, and community. The Durham Meeting has standing committees that support work in these areas both through corporate activities and by individuals.
The Durham Meeting was founded in 1937 and has grown from a few families to over 300 members and attenders. We have a full program for children and youth which includes a First Day School (Sunday School) activities and classes. Since we have no ministerial staff, all of our activities are organized and conducted by volunteers.
For first-time attenders...
If you attend a meeting for worship on Sunday at 10:00, here is what you can expect...
Upon entering the room, you may sit anywhere you like. Both chldren and adults wait in silence preparing ourselves for worship which begins upon the hour. At about 15 minutes past the hour, most children will leave to attend First Day School lessons and activities. Often a parent of a younger child will go out with the child to be sure that he or she is settled, and then return to Meeting for Worship.
Our worship is based on a 350-year old practice of waiting quietly with the expectation that we may experience the presence and power of the Holy Spirit among us. We try to “settle in” quietly and calmly, mindful, but not distracted by movements around us. If someone feels deeply that they have an inspired message to share, she or he may stand and speak that truth clearly for all to hear. Others, upon hearing the message, do not comment or respond but process the words in the context of their own meditation.
When the hour is over, an appointed Friend will break the meeting by shaking hands with those nearby, as then will everyone else in the room. Afterwards, there will be some sharing, introductions, and announcements followed by time to socialize and get to know one another.
Quakerism was founded in the 1650s in England by George Fox who, with the support of Margaret Fell, William Penn, and others, spread this religious practice to the remainder of the British isles, continental Europe, the Caribbean, and the American colonies by the 1670s.
From the beginning, Quakers have insisted that there is “that of God” in every human being. From this belief flows directly the traditional Quaker testimonies of equality of the sexes and races and the principled opposition to war and personal violence.
The Durham Friends Meeting continues in the historic tradition of silent worship and actively supports testimonies of pacifism and equality. While we are clearly rooted in Christianity, we do not defer to a specific creed nor do we require belief in trinitarian doctrines or sacraments as practiced in many other Christian sects. We hold to the historic Quaker conviction that each person can directly experience the presence of divine love in whatever form is meaningful to that person and can do so without prescribed rituals, set prayers, or the mediation of a priest or minister.
To learn more about Quakerism and Durham Meeting, you may access the "Resources" section of this website. There you will find links to a wealth of published information. In addition, the Durham Meeting offers:
- * monthly informal "Question and Answer" sessions after Meeting for Worship on the first Sunday of each month.
- * a formal introductory class, "Quakerism 101," consisting of readings and attending four evening classes during Winter months.
- * throughout the year, once or twice monthly "forum" sessions on various Quaker-related topics held after Meeting for Worship.
And, you are always welcome to engage anyone of us in conversation no matter when a question might occur!