Worship at Wilton Quaker Meeting
If you have never before attended an unprogrammed Friends (Quaker) meeting for worship, your first meeting may surprise you . . .
While all Quakers meet in worship to hear more clearly God’s “still small voice,” Friends in the unprogrammed Quaker tradition base our worship entirely on expectant waiting.
We meet in plain, unadorned rooms where we are less distracted from hearing that voice. There are no pulpits in our meeting rooms because we minister to each other. Our benches or chairs face each other because we are all equal before God. We have no prearranged prayers, readings, sermons, hymns, or musical orchestrations because we wait for God’s leadings and power in our lives. When you enter the meetinghouse and take your seat on a bench, you will find that those gathered around you are sitting in silence, settling into a period of quiet reflection, prayer and expectant waiting on the Spirit.
During worship, a message may come to us. Messages may be for our personal reflection or for sharing with others. They may be a leading to stand and speak. Friends value spoken messages that come from the heart and are prompted by the Spirit as well as the silence we share together. Following a spoken message, we return to the silence to examine ourselves in the Light of that message. Meeting for worship ends when one Friend, designated in advance, shakes hands with his or her neighbors. Then everyone shakes hands. No two meetings are ever the same.
The meetinghouse is not a consecrated edifice, and if there is anything holy about it, it must be the lives of the people who meet there. The Friends feel that there must be a vital and sustained connection between worship and daily life. When our ideal is attained, our meeting is merely the community search for that guidance which we covet for every important act of our lives.