Worship Sharing Guidelines
Listening is a rare happening among human beings. You cannot listen to the words another is speaking if you are preoccupied with your appearance or with impressing the other or are trying to decide what you are going to say when the other stops talking, or are debating about whether what is being said is true or relevant or agreeable. Such matters have their right place, but only after listening to the words as they are being uttered.
Listening is a primitive act of love in which a person gives himself of another’s word, making himself accessible and vulnerable to that word.
~Opening Doors to Quaker Worship, William Stringfellow
Worship sharing is worship while expressing our own experiences and listening to others, sometimes in response to a query, a series of questions, or a poem or image. Usually, the group gathers in a circle and sometimes centers on an object such as a candle, a work of art, or an object from nature. We speak only from our own knowledge and experience.
Prior to worship sharing the leader should explain some guidelines, reminding the participants that sometimes what is shared is very personal, even painful, but always confidential.
Go around the circle and share names if the group is new in working together
Start with a period of silent centering then present the query, questions, poem, or image
Allow silence during and after each contribution
No-one is required to speak
Each contribution should be welcomed as a gift
Be aware of the needs of each person in the group
Everyone’s contribution is of equal value
Respect confidentiality, whatever is said in the group stays within the group
Be serious but not somber, laughter can make your group feel frivolous
Do not ask follow-up questions
End with handshakes or held hands or another gesture that feels appropriate and supportive
Suggested Queries for Friendly Practices
What am I saying through my inactions?
What am I saying with my actions?
How do I seek and affirm God’s presence in the process of discernment and reaching a decision?
How can remain open to personal transformation as the community arrives at the sense of the meeting?
How can the meeting support individual leadings or calls to action?
How would you describe your own experience of coming to Friends? How old were you? What attracted you and why did you stay?
What is the picture of a spiritual life you were given as a child? What is it now?
Have you ever ended up in a place you never expected with regards to your faith?
What events and relationships have been significant to your faith life?
How do you define a leading? Have you ever experienced a leading? What was your experience?
What is testimony?
What is an action in the world that inspired you?
Where in daily life are opportunities for being a pattern or example?
Who have been “living examples” in you life? What made them so?
What are the invitations you have had to join in the work, ministry of faith and practice?
What are the barriers you have had towards a full practice of faith and practice?
What can you do to face and address those barriers? What tools does your meeting or faith community offer?