To Our Meeting for Worship
We warmly welcome you to our meeting for worship and hope that you will find the experience as rewarding as we do. You might like to read this description of our meeting as we settle down into our hour of quiet.
We minister to one another in love by sharing our silence, our deepest leadings, our sorrows, and our hopes. Friends have no creed, no sacraments, and no presiding ministers. In its origin The Religious Society of Friends (the formal name) is based on Christianity. On this Judeo-Christian base we happily add and honor spiritual insights from other traditions that are seeking to know, love, and serve God and their neighbors.
In meeting, each follows his or her own way of centering. We are interested in experiencing God rather than in defining God. All of us are convinced that we derive a special benefit from worshipping in a group; some invisible powers of communication among ourselves and with God (however defined) are released which we could never rally individually.
Our meeting is based on silence. For us silence is not merely a time to relax or gather one’s thoughts. We come here for the quiet reflection which enables us to lead more satisfying and purposeful lives, in ourselves, with our families, and in our public responsibilities. We strive for simplicity and honesty in our worship, and in all other aspects of our lives.
It takes time for a meeting to settle deeply. Generally, no one speaks for a few minutes. During that time, we are admonished to “Turn in thy mind to the Light, and wait upon God.” Quaker worship is an alert openness to the quiet leading of the Inner Light.
One consequence of this waiting upon the Light is that one or more worshippers may be moved to speak out of the silence. Such speaking is not an intellectual exercise; it is a movement from the depths of one’s being, a conscious response to a carefully discerned leading of the Spirit.
Some meetings are completely silent. Many Friends relish the peace, depth, and unity of such meetings. Completely silent worship can be a most refreshing experience.
Let things happen to you in the calm that comes during a good meeting by “the inner Light,” “the still small voice,” or “the presence of God.” These Quaker phrases are imperfect descriptions of experiences that defy expression in words. What matters is what works experientially, what helps to restore your sense of wholeness, or inner peace, or oneness with the universe, and what lightens inner burdens. We like to think that our worship helps us witness to others the Quaker testimonies of Peace, Equality, Integrity, and Simplicity.
Meeting draws to a close in silence after about an hour. We complete our worship by shaking hands and greeting one another. A simple pot-luck lunch follows.
Please stay after meeting to break bread and chat with us, or to look at the library and Quaker literature available in the meeting house.
Besides meeting for worship, other activities include our monthly business meeting, First Day School for children, Third Sunday Discussions, a film program and various social occasions. All meetings are open to interested persons.
We hope you will find your experience here worthwhile, and that you will come back again soon.
In calm and cool and silence, once again
I find my old accustomed place among
My brethren, here, perchance, no human tongue
Shall utter words; where never hymn is sung,
Nor deep-toned organ blown, nor censer swung
Nor dim light falling through the pictured pane!
There, syllabled by silence, let me hear
The still small voice which reached the prophet’s ear;
Read in my heart a still diviner law
Than Israel’s leader on his tables saw!
There let me strive with each besetting sin,
Recall my wandering fancies, and restrain
The sore disquiet of a restless brain;
And, as the path of duty is made plain,
May grace be given that I may walk therein,
Not like the hireling, for his selfish gain,
With backward glances and reluctant tread,
Making a merit of his coward dread,
But, cheerful, in the light around me thrown,
Walking as one to pleasant service led;
Doing God’s will as if it were my own,
Yet trusting not in mine, but in his strength alone!
John Greenleaf Whittier