Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

How We Worship

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At our Meeting for Worship, we gather in silent prayer, to listen, to meditate and to wait while seeking divine guidance and understanding. We have no paid clergy, no ritual, dogma, neither icons nor liturgy; we all share the responsibility for ministry of the Meeting. We may participate in the Divine Presence silently or we may feel moved to give a message inspired by God. We strive to help and strengthen one another in our spiritual development and in our search for a better understanding of God’s will.

If you have no previous experience in Quaker Worship, the following suggestions may be helpful. Enter as you are ready and sit anywhere you like. Turn your attention inward and listen in the silence for what the Spirit may reveal. This expectant waiting is the essence of Quaker worship. If you find yourself bothered by distractions or thoughts, do not worry; simply return your attention to the still center. In the silence of a Quaker Meeting, those present may become aware of a powerful spirit of love that transcends their ordinary experience.

While waiting in the silence, a person may be moved by the Spirit to offer spoken ministry. After someone speaks, a period of silence is observed to allow sufficient time for each of us to listen deeply to the meaning and spirit behind the words. Regardless of the name that is given to the Spirit – God, Christ Within, Divine Presence, Holy Mystery – we receive each message in an accepting way as coming from the Source. A message that does not seem meaningful to one person may bring light and insight to others.

If you are moved by the Light to speak, please stand and speak clearly, allowing the Spirit to use your voice. Messages are usually brief and offered only once, without preparation or elaboration. Worshipful ministry arises from the Spirit and not from a personal need to discuss, debate, or instruct.

The silent Meeting for Worship continues until an appointed Friend shakes hands with those nearby to signify the conclusion of the hour of worship. You are invited to introduce yourself and join us for refreshments following the announcements. If you wish to know more about Quakers, feel free to speak with people around you or to the Friend who closed the Meeting.

There are many ways to contribute to the wonder and power of Quaker worship. Below are guidelines for you to consider while you worship with us.

  • Be Present

Attending regularly and being on time is a great sustaining gift. 
Leave behind cell phones and other worldly distractions to worship.

  • Listen

Listening in Meeting for Worship, the bedrock of Quaker spirituality, requires us to center, or settle, into the silence in expectant waiting for the comfort, guidance, awareness, insight, or direction of the Inner Teacher.

  • Vocal Ministry

Vocal Ministry comes from God out of collective silent worship. It is an opening from the Spirit with meaning beyond self. It is not a discussion, not a debate. Wait in stillness after a message, allowing silence to be fully established, so all may have time to find the Spirit within.

  • Giving Thanks 

Giving Thanks for the hour spent in presence of God and among Friends is a common practice. Welcome those around you with your handshake or rise and hold hands, when the hour ends.

  • Take part

Take part in fellowship and other Meeting activities.

  • Worship

Worship deepens as you come to love the community with whom you worship.