Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

1. Quaker Worship

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You do not have to be a Quaker to attend Quaker meetings, which are open to all. If you would like to join us and share in our stillness you would be most welcome. Children, too, are welcome.

The heart of the Quaker way is the silent meeting for worship. We seek a communal gathered stillness, where we can be open to inspiration from the Spirit of God. In our meetings we find both peace of mind and challenging insights, deep community and a renewed sense of individual purpose, and joy to wonder at God’s creation. Not everyone finds the word “God” helpful – some Quakers use a different image or concept such as “spirit” or “the light”.

A Quaker meeting creates a space of gathered stillness. We come together where we can listen to the promptings of truth and love in our hearts, which we understand as rising from God. Our meetings are based on silence: a silence of waiting and listening. Most meetings last for about an hour.

The silence is different from the silence of solitary meditation, as the listening and waiting in a Quaker meeting is a shared experience in which worshippers seek to experience God for themselves. The seating is usually arranged in a circle or a square to help people be aware of one another and conscious of the fact that they are worshipping together as equals. There are no priests or ministers.

The silence may be broken if someone present feels called to say something which will deepen and enrich the worship. Anyone is free to speak, pray or read aloud if they feel strongly led to do so. This breaks the silence for the moment but does not interrupt it.

In the quietness of the meeting, we can become aware of a deep and powerful spirit of love and truth, transcending our ordinary, day-to-day experiences. This sense of direct contact with the divine is at the heart of the Quaker way of worship and nourishes Quakers in the rest of their daily lives.

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