Who are the builders of, and worshippers at this meeting house? Are we only a sect of the past, or do we really still exist today?
We, who have been called Seekers of the Truth, Quakers, and Friends, are members of the Religious Society of Friends. Yes, we are a sect, but we do not separate ourselves from the world around us. We believe that God is present in every person and that peace is preferable to war. We gather in silent communal worship to wait on the Spirit of God. Sometimes It moves us in other ways.
We have no formal creed, no ritual, dogma, or liturgy. Instead, to help us follow Divine guidance we pose, both individually and corporately, searching queries; we strive to trust to love, rather than react to fear; we work towards peace because we believe it is the only way; we are led to implement our concerns for equal rights for all. Many of us have been drawn to this religion - Quakerism - because of its dual commitment to spiritual awareness and social action. These beliefs are not always easy to hold, nor to honor with action, but our search has led us to commit ourselves to them. Perhaps this approach of Friends could be helpful and meaningful to you.
Raleigh Friends Meeting is an unpastored community and worships in the “unprogrammed” Quaker manner. Currently not affiliated with any Yearly Meeting, we refer to Faith & Practice of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting for models of worship, organization and support for members’ life passages. We are affiliated with Friends General Conference through our association with Piedmont Friends Fellowship.
We follow the "unprogrammed" style of worship. That means that we do not employ a pastor to lead our services. Attenders should expect to enter quietly and take any seat. The Meeting room is on your right, as you enter. Seats face the center. Some Friends may arrive early to sit in silence and quiet their thoughts (centering down) before the start of Meeting for Worship.
Generally, when at Raleigh Friends Meeting, you may expect:
- To start worship just before and at 10am and to end at 11am.
- People dress casual to business casual in general but many wear 'church' clothes.
- Silence for long durations. Some days we have no speakers while others there are three or more speakers.
- At 10:15am, the children leave for First Day School and late comers enter the room.
- Some Friends read the Bible, religious texts, and poetry during the beginning of meeting for worship to focus themselves.
- 'Handicapable' Friends integrate into the life of the meeting.
- Worship ends when two Friends shake hands.
- The clerk of the meeting will welcome Friends and visitors to give Joys and Concerns, make announcements, and introductions of visitors.
- Fellowship, with tea, coffee, and snacks, follows in the Garden Room in the back of the house.
- Second Hour begins at 11:30am. Child care is provided.
In our worship we try to keep an expectant attitude, waiting for the "still small voice" of God. Occasionally someone in Meeting will feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit to give a vocal message. Friends are urged to wait until they are sure that the prompting is genuine and then speak loudly enough that all can hear. Since we believe that "that of God" is within every person, we listen carefully to each message, seeking together for the truth. Sometimes the reason for a message may be unclear, even to the speaker, but we often find out later that it "speaks to the condition" of another listener. It is our custom that speakers be brief (not continuing beyond what they feel they are required to say), and that ordinarily they speak no more than once. Also it is our custom that a respectful period of silence follow each message. Occasionally an entire Meeting for Worship is spent in silence. The silence is spent in prayer or meditation. Friends often report that they have been enriched by meeting in the silence, or alternatively that a spoken message had a meaning for them. We have no single style of medidation, except that we expect it to be a group experience. Many of us find that worship is most rich if we sit quietly with feet on the floor, hands folded, and head bowed in expectant silence. Friends are urged to come to meeting without prepared materials, without a plan to speak, but also with an expectation that it may turn out that they are prompted to speak during a particular Meeting.
For more information about Raleigh Friends Meeting, please read Meeting History.
For our monthly newsletters, please see Newsletters. (Must be logged in due to the inclusion of Friends' contact information)