Meeting for Worship
Meeting for Worship is the heart of the life of the Religious Society of Friends. It calls for us to offer ourselves, body, mind, and soul for the doing of God’s will. We recognize the value of silence, not as an end, but as a means toward communication with God and fellowship with one another. In this living silence (or waiting worship) we feel drawn together by the Light and the power of God in our midst.
Try to arrive with an open and expectant spirit. During the Meeting for Worship anyone may feel moved to speak and this should be done clearly and simply. For the sake of those who hear less well, speak loudly so that all may share in your message.
Children are invited to join you in Meeting for Worship. We recognize that our young people are the future of the Meeting and we value their presence. The inevitable noises that children make are quite acceptable during the first fifteen minutes of Meeting. First Day activities for infants through high school seniors usually are offered fifteen minutes after the start of Meeting for Worship.
While we do not have any hard and fast rules, there are understood guidelines. These include the following.
- Try to arrive a few minutes early. If you are late and the door is shut, minimize interruptions by waiting to enter until people leave for First Day School. Shut the door tightly behind you to keep out the noises from the First Day School.
- Turn off your cell phone and do not bring anything into Meeting for Worship (other than children) which could distract you or disturb others. Consider that turning the pages of a book might distract your neighbors and give the impression that you are not completely present in the Meeting.
- Think of yourself as an empty vessel, ready to receive messages from God or to share your spiritual insights if you feel called upon.
- Speak when you feel strongly moved to do so, but please question your calling if you feel moved to speak almost every week. Learn to discern whether a message you receive is intended just for you or meant be shared. Try to keep your message under five minutes and speak only once at a Meeting.
- Allow a few minutes after another has spoken to give everyone (including yourself) time to ponder.
- Although occasionally a theme may develop, messages are not delivered as a response to previous messages. Meeting for Worship is not a discussion, argument or debate.
- Meeting for Worship is ended when it is sensed that those present have been spiritually refreshed (usually after an hour). The clerk then shakes the hand of a fellow worshipper.
We welcome you to participate fully in all aspects of Meeting for Worship. No experience is necessary!