Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Newcomers

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A HELPING HAND FOR NEWCOMERS 

All are welcome to worship at Chatham Summit Quaker Meeting.   

In our community, there is no place for bigotry, discrimination or exclusion.  Nor is there any requirement or expectation of religious belief or expression.   Our faith is grounded in the belief that there is that of God in every person.  It is our hope that when you cross the threshold of our meetinghouse, you will feel that profoundly, understand that you are welcome, and take advantage of your time with us to nourish the Divine spark in you. We have formally recognized committed relationships of all forms.

When and where does Quaker meeting for worship take place?

We gather every Sunday for silent worship between 11 a.m.--12 noon.   You will find parking at our meetinghouse at 158 Southern Boulevard in Chatham plentiful and easy.  The map and directions on our home page of this website should prove helpful.  If you are visiting for the first time, arriving 5-10 minutes before the start of worship will give you a chance to get your bearings, learn about the children’s program if you are bringing your family, and ask any questions you might have.  

Is there a dress code?

None!  The simpler the better in keeping with the Quaker Testimony of Simplicity!

What can I expect upon arrival?

We appreciate that each newcomer is visiting for his or her own reasons and make no assumptions.  Just as we greet all members of our community, you will be greeted warmly and given whatever you need to help you feel informed and comfortable going into Quaker worship.   To make your initial or subsequent visits more rewarding, you may wish to visit the “Who are Quakers?” link on this website for more background.

What about my family?

It is always a joy to welcome a family of any size, composition or configuration. If you are bringing children, you will be shown the classrooms and introduced to the teachers.  However, you are perfectly welcome to have your children with you during the entire hour of meeting for worship.  This link will give you much more information about our programs for children and youth.

What can I expect during worship?

As an unprogrammed Quaker meeting (one without clergy), there is little that is prescribed or predictable about our meetings for worship except the powerful periods of silent worship.  This is because, without ministers, we are called to actively seek the Spirit moving in and among us and to minister to each other.   While this is manifest in many different ways in our lives during the week, Sunday worship takes the form of gathering together in silent, expectant waiting.  In the silence, you will find yourself gradually centering down and opening slowing to experience God/Spirit/the Divine working in you and among your fellow worshippers.  If a thought or experience is so powerful and compelling that it rises to become a spoken message (something that cannot not be shared), you may rise to share it.  It can also be expressed in song or dance.  Once a message is shared, everyone returns to the silence to absorb the ministry.   Thus our hour together progresses, deepening, at times totally silent, never predictable, and often ending with a profound sense of having experienced a “gathered meeting.”

For more information about Quaker worship, we encourage you to read Who Are Quakers? . You may also find helpful first-person accounts of Quaker worship and belief at this link.

What can I expect after worship?

Worship generally concludes within the hour with a short period called “After Thoughts” during which anyone still feeling the tug or nudge of a thought related to worship, is welcome to share.  This is followed by another short period of “Joys and Sorrows” during which Friends are able to share events in their lives needing to be expressed. We conclude with warm handshakes and greetings all around as well as an invitation for visitors to introduce themselves if they wish.  While you are always welcome to introduce yourself and sign our guest book in the vestibule, there is never any expectation that you do so.   Afterwards, we hope that you will choose to join us in our light and airy Gathering Room for refreshments and conversation. 

And if I have more questions ….? 

Visitors who have never, or rarely, experienced Quaker worship often have lots of questions!  And we are always eager to answer them--or point you to the right people or resources where you can get them.  Many visitors wander into our library, peruse the many pamphlets and well-stocked bookshelves, make themselves comfortable, and simply read!  You are welcome to check out any book or pamphlet you wish. 

If you have need for more immediate answers to questions before visiting, please get in touch via the Contact Us button on the homepage.

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