You may find this page useful before you visit a Meeting for
Worship for the first time
On entering the Meeting Room, feel free
to sit anywhere. It is helpful to leave seats near the doors for latecomers.
do Quakers believe?
Quakers have no dogmas or creeds and no
paid ministers. Each participant seeks to experience and learn about the
religious life for her or himself. We have the conviction that each person can
have direct experience of the Spirit of God and that there is something of God
happens in Meeting for Worship?
A Quaker Meeting is a way of worship
based on silence, a silence of expectancy in which we seek to come nearer to
God and each other as we share the stillness of the Meeting. Participants are
not expected to say or do anything other than join in this seeking. Do not be
concerned if the silence seems strange at first. We rarely experience silence
in everyday life so it is not unusual to be distracted by outside noise or
There is no fixed structure to the
Meeting. There are no creeds, hymns or set prayers. There is no minister in charge
and no formal service. After about an hour, two Friends will shake hands,
signalling the end of worship.
Occasionally a Meeting will pass with
no words spoken. If someone feels compelled by the Spirit to speak, pray or
read, the silence will be broken. Such ministry, which has not been planned
before worship begins, seeks to enrich the gathered worship. If something is
said that does not seem to make sense try to reach behind the words to the
Spirit which inspired them or allow them to be absorbed into the silence.
Meeting for Worship is not a debate so it is inappropriate to respond directly
to spoken ministry although it is not unusual for other ministry to build on
what has been said before. Traditionally a person only ministers once during
the Meeting for Worship.
No two Quaker Meetings are the same. A
Meeting can embrace a wide range of experience. Some people may experience a
profound sense of awe or an awareness of the presence of God. Others may have a
less certain sense of an indefinable spiritual dimension.
After Meeting ends visitors are welcomed and visitors from other Meetings may
bring greetings. Then the notices will be read and there will be tea or coffee.
You are very welcome to join in but this is entirely up to you.