We hold a meeting for worship every Sunday morning and have a range of other groups and activities.
What happens in the hour of meeting for worship?
We sit sharing the quiet. We all come together to experience unity in the silence; it may be listening to God, the inner voice within us or simply just opening ourselves up to whatever we may experience. The quiet can be very calming, or challenging, or inspirational. It all depends on many different things. Sometimes a person may be moved to speak. They stand and speak from that deep place within them. It should not be planned or prepared but simply just what at that moment comes to them, which they feel compelled to share. All listen in the quiet and may find that the spoken words are helpful and space is left for the message to rest in the silence. It may be that someone else will then feel compelled to speak or the meeting may return to the quiet. It is also possible that the whole meeting will be held in silence. The end of the meeting is marked when two Friends shake hands.
Many find it a profound experience to be in the quietness for one hour. Here are some thoughts from Friends in the meeting about their experience of meeting for worship:
‘At my first meeting, I was struck by the openness and welcome that I received. While at first, I thought that an hour’s silence for worship was a little daunting; I found the whole experience very uplifting. In the hectic world that we live in, I feel that hour of silence is a way to step back and reconnect with what is important and for me has already become an important part of my life.’
‘I find meeting for worship on a Sunday morning can be a rare pool of tranquility in an otherwise busy life.’
‘What has drawn me to Quakers is the quiet prayer for a whole hour in the company of fellow Quakers and ministry various people may contribute during this time.It brings me back in a busy life to the importance of really looking inside for a spiritual stillness. I like the non judgmental attitude and caring for important issues in our money orientated world, like working for peace and those under oppression.’
‘I find the act of sharing silence and stillness with the group calming.’
‘It is the simplicity of meeting for worship that appeals – the circle of chairs around a table, a small vase of flowers, a few copies of Quaker Faith and Practice on the table. No priest in elaborate robes, no complicated floral arrangements, no need to dress up in “Sunday Best”, no hymn books, or set prayers or other words to follow. Just waiting in the silence to see what comes. A Friend or two may speak, briefly and I see if it “speaks” to me. It often does and I have a sense wonder at the depth of some of the thoughts expressed. Or there may be silence for the whole hour and that is fine too.’