Quaker Worship

Our form of worship is the logical extension of our belief that the Divine Spirit speaks directly to each individual soul. No priest or minister is necessary to mediate between people and God. We meet on the basis of silence, feeling that in this communion, God’s presence may be experienced. We gather, quiet in mind and spirit; center our thoughts: and pray or engage in expectant waiting in an attitude of worship. It is not easy for any of us, especially without practice, to clear our minds of outside concerns. As we do, though, we reach a deeper level within ourselves, approach the spiritual center of the Meeting, and come to a greater sense of the nearness of the Divine Source of truth and reality. We have no test of faith by creed or dogma; our common ground is the common experience of worship in which we are all seekers.

To find the place of peace inside each of us, some may think about a Bible verse, poetry, an aspect of nature, or a problem of life and try to tune out the “noise” always present in modern life. Some use this time to examine carefully and honestly consider their own words and actions of the past week. Others may simply try to bring their inner self to complete quietness, the better to hear the Inner Voice. The most important thing is to try to be completely open to being freely led by the Spirit to new insights. Moral and spiritual growth comes largely through finding new ways of looking at familiar subjects, sometimes in ways that surprise us. So it is important that we prepare ourselves to simply come to worship with humble and contrite hearts. God will reach out eagerly and lovingly to draw us in.

Being fully present and open to the leadings of the Spirit requires entering with an open heart and a mind prepared to listen without judgement, acknowledging that God works in mysterious ways. A silent Meeting for Worship is not always silent. As we gather in God’s presence, we listen deeply to the true inner voice. It may be that a message comes to someone along with the clear knowledge that the message is to be shared. We listen to messages without judgement, and in our quiet center, consider what, if any part of it might speak to us, or perhaps it may not be a message meant for us as individuals. No one has composed a message or sermon in advance; one does not come to Meeting for Worship with an agenda or feelings to share. If no messages arise during Meeting for Worship, it does not mean that nothing is being said; perhaps the most powerful Voice of all is speaking directly to each listener, but that message may not be meant for others.

The end of Meeting for Worship is indicated when those sitting nearby shake hands. It is a custom to ask visitors, or people who have been away for awhile, to introduce themselves to the community. It is customary to linger for a time when Meeting is over and greet one another. We welcome you to join us, have some tea or coffee, and visit.