Friends General Conference

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Meeting for Worship

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Meeting for Worship

Santa Monica Friends come together during Meeting for Worship in silence, without formalities or professional ministry and without a theme or program. We gather in silence to draw near to God. Through quiet waiting or prayer, we seek inspiration, comfort and Divine guidance for daily living. Listening and seeking are important parts of our corporate worship. The Inner Light – rather than a creed, a sacred book or the authority of a priesthood – is our spiritual guide as we strive to live our daily lives in obedience to the Spirit.

Recognizing that each person present possesses a part of the Truth, we trust in the worship silence to bring forth ministry. During some Meetings for Worship the ministry is entirely silent. At others a few worshipers may be inspired to offer vocal ministry. Anyone may speak. However, before rising we ask ourselves, “Is this a divinely inspired message? Is it meant for me alone or is it to be spoken aloud?” In vocal ministry, Friends speak out of their experience, in a spirit of humble reflection. Worship participants listen to what is said with an accepting, open spirit. If something is said that does not “speak to your condition,” participants try to discern the spirit behind the words. A period of silence should surround each spoken message to allow time for reflection. Spoken ministry is not discussion or education, but rather vocal expression of the Divine in our lives.

Worshippers may find it easy to relax in the silence and thus connect with the spiritual center in worship together. Yet some may be disturbed by the strangeness of the silence, by distractions outside or by their own roving thoughts. One spiritual strategy is for worshippers to return again and again to the still center of being, open to the continued presence of the Divine.

The Meeting for Worship lasts about an hour. It will end with a welcoming handshake followed by introductions and announcements. There is a period of fellowship and refreshments afterward to which all are invited.