In addition to our regular practice of meeting in person or virtually for quiet worship, Quakers sometimes take part in what is called Worship Sharing. The person leading the sessiion shares a query, a quote, or discussion topic , and then invites Friends to settle into silent worship. Out of the silence, each person has the opportunity to respond to the theme.
Here are a list of guidelines that can make worship sharing rich and meaningful. They are provided by Friends General Council.
Suggested Guidelines for Worship Sharing
1. Use “I” statements.
Speak honestly and genuinely from your own experience, sharing prayerfully from your heart (that is, from your whole self), not from your head. Always remember and honor the differences between sharing and informing.
2. Listen deeply and lovingly without commenting.
Accept what others share as true for them at this time. Assume goodwill. Avoid correcting, fixing, debating or rebutting. Try, as well, to avoid praising others’ contributions. Be tender with one another. Listen, to the best of your ability, with love and with an open, accepting heart.
3. Allow silence between sharings.
Leave space between sharings so that all can truly listen to what is shared and can allow each contribution to sink in. And, certainly, never use the time while others are speaking to plan what you are going to say. As each individual shares, you may want to hold him or her in the Light (in prayer).
4. Exercise healthy self-discipline.
Speak only once until everyone has had a chance to share. One is free to share or to pass, as led. Do not take up more than your “fair share” of the time.
5. Honor confidentiality.
Hold in confidence whatever is shared unless given express permission to share it outside the group.