Welcome to Meeting for Worship

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Worship and Ministry Committee has drafted an informational card on meeting for worship, including some prompting questions about how to know when to speak. It is our hope that this will help newcomers as well as long-time Quakers think more deeply about vocal ministry, both when we speak and how we listen. Printed copies of these cards will be available outside the worship room and we may eventually find other uses for them. Please take a look and send any comments, edits, or ideas to the Worship and Ministry Committee via Rebecca Heider ([email protected]). The text of the card is below; in the Files section at the bottom of this page is a link to download a 1-page PDF copy of the same text.

Welcome to Meeting for Worship

For more than 350 years, Friends have gathered in silent, shared worship to listen for the Spirit of God in our midst. We strive to suspend our own wishes, opinions, and agendas, opening ourselves to the continuing revelation of the Spirit. We wait for what may arise from our prayerful silence. An initial quiet period enables us to settle in, shifting our thoughts from our everyday lives to the world of the Spirit.

Out of this gathered stillness, some may be led to speak, although meetings may also be totally silent. Because we believe that every person has “that of God” within them, anyone may offer a spoken message, a prayer, or even a song. When others offer ministry, we try to listen with our hearts, without judgment, seeking the Spirit behind the message.

If the Spirit urges us to speak, we find guidance in first asking ourselves these questions:

Has there been enough silent time for reflection on previous messages?

Is my message brief, simple, and respectful of all?

Will it be spiritual and illuminating to others, or does it primarily give voice to my own needs?

If my message has a political or personal aspect, does it also have a genuinely spiritual one?

Have I received an overwhelmingly strong internal prompt that compels me to speak?

Will my message improve upon the silence?

We may then choose to speak, let the message mature, or share it in another venue. A Joys & Concerns period at the end of worship is reserved for messages that are more personal, political, or social than spiritual. To close worship, we shake hands and return to the world, renewed in spirit, seeking to “walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one.”