Meeting for Worship is at the centre of Quaker life. It begins as Quakers sit in the meeting room, gathering together in a silence that grows deeper as it progresses. Here we open ourselves to the love of God and to that of God in each other. Anyone may speak when he or she feels inspired to do so; this is known as vocal ministry. Ministry is not prepared beforehand; we are asked to arrive at meeting with heart and mind prepared, but not a set of words to deliver. "Pray that your ministry may arise from deep experience, and trust that words will be given to you" (Quaker Faith and Paractice, 1.02). Ministry is heard in silence, and given silent space to be recieved by all.
Some useful info about meeting for worship:
- Meetings generally start on time. If you're late, you may be asked to wait until a suitable time before entering the meeting room.
- The meeting begins as soon as the first person enters the room.
- It ends when two of the elders sitting near the centre shake hands. Then you can shake hands with the people sitting near you.
- There is no dress code or formal seating arrangement.
- For your first meeting, you may be given a leaflet, which you can read during the meeting.
- There are bibles and copies of Quaker Faith & Practice (our book) on the chairs and on the table in the centre. You are welcome to read these. Some people read aloud from these during the meeting, if moved to do so.
- Visitors are always welcome. There are always Quakers available to answer any questions you might have.
- It's ok if your mind starts drifting during the meeting! The silence can be quite strange if you're unused to it, and you're not doing anything wrong if you're having trouble focusing. Simply try to let distracting thoughts pass on through your mind and return to the spirit of the meeting.
More information about meetings can be found on individual local meetings pages. If you want to ask a question about meeting for worship, you can contact us.