Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting welcomes all to our weekly meeting for worship. Most of our current members came first to our meeting as visitors; we have always found that the presence of visitors enriches our meeting. We hope that this information helps you understand more about us.
Meeting for Worship
Meeting for worship takes place from 10:30-11:30 am every First Day (Sunday) morning. Ours is a “silent,” un-programmed meeting, meaning that worship centers within an expectant silence. Quakers believe that there is “that of God” in every person, and that this “Inner Light” can speak directly to each person, without the intervention of an intermediary. The goal of our corporate worship is to hear the voice of this Inner Teacher as we enter into the presence of the Divine. When a worshipper hears a message given them by the Inner Voice and also feels called to share it, they may rise and speak. Listeners will then allow a time of silence to reflect on what has been said. However, a meeting for worship may also pass entirely in silence, as the messages that are given to us may be intended solely for our own hearing.
As worship draws to a close, those present are invited to share joys and sorrows by a member of the Worship and Ministry committee. That person then greets a neighbor by shaking their hand, which then spreads throughout the room, thus closing the worship. It is our custom for the person who closes meeting then to ask visitors to introduce themselves. After announcements, Friends disperse, often pausing for conversation and light refreshments before leaving. A light lunch is offered on the first and third Sundays of every month, when Friends may take more time for visiting with each other.
Meeting for Worship is not the only time Friends look for “that of God” in everyone: we strive to keep that expectation foremost in all our dealings with others. Attending Meeting for Worship nurtures us spiritually as we seek to follow God’s leading throughout the week. It is also the ground from which we conduct our meeting for business on the third Sunday of each month.
Meeting for Worship for Business
On the third First Day of each month we meet to conduct the business of the meeting. The search to know the will of God also guides our business meetings. At business meetings members and attenders make decisions by seeking the sense of the meeting on agenda items including, among other things, finances, membership requests, committee activities, and our participation in the wider Quaker community and our neighborhood. Visitors are always welcome; attending business meeting is a good way to learn more about issues of concern, and what happens to keep our meeting going.
“Come with Hearts and Minds Prepared.”
Faith and Practice reminds us to come to meeting for worship with hearts and minds prepared for worship through daily prayer, meditation, and study. Preparation also means entering the Meeting house on First Day in a worshipful manner, minimizing extraneous talking and socializing before meeting.
Remember, in Quakerism, the service begins when the first person has sat down in the meetingroom. Talking and noise in the Gathering room disturbs those in the meetingroom who are worshipping. There is plenty of time for greeting one another and socializing after meeting.
If you begin to quiet yourself and your family before meeting for worship, even during the walk or car ride to meeting, you will be able to center more easily when you actually enter meeting for worship. This will deepen the overall quality of our meeting for worship for not only yourself, but for everyone present. As Quakers, we are all ministers and, therefore, all responsible for meeting for worship. If you have any questions about guidelines for meeting for worship, please contact a member of the Worship and Ministry Committee as listed in the Monthly Meeting Directory.
We have small radio receivers available for Friends who need help to hear meeting messages more clearly. They are available in the foyer before meeting; ask a greeter for help with one.
Our worship service does not include a formal collection. Visitors who wish to make a contribution may do so by leaving it in the box marked "Contributions" located on a table in the foyer. Contributions may also be made by check, credit card, or electronic bank transfers.
We’ve all been late for Meeting, and we all know the desperate feeling of rushing to minimize our lateness; sometimes it can’t be helped. But there are a few things to remember if you do arrive after 10:30.
If people are still sitting in the Gathering Room, sit or stand with them until someone opens the doors (about 10:45) and invites you into the meeting room itself. If you arrive after that point and the doors are closed, listen before you enter to make certain that no one is speaking. If a message is being given, wait until it is over. (You could put on one of the hearing aids and listen to the message that way; they’re in an attaché case in the Gathering Room.) If you come in late, try to find a seat that does not require you to cross the entire meeting room. (This would be easier to do if those arriving early would fill in the far side first.) Best of all, resolve to arrive on time in the future; even if you observe all these rules, each late entrance is disruptive to some degree.