Meeting for Worship

Live Oak Friends Meetinghouse
Photo by Lynn Lane

Meeting for worship is a time when we come together to seek divine leading and to nurture our faith community. We practice expectant worship. It is a time to become still, quieting the restlessness of the mind and the tensions of the body. In this way we seek to open ourselves to receive divine guidance, to experience the presence of that which is holy, and to be informed or guided by it.

When Friends gather together for quiet worship, we are supporting one another in listening to God. We are tuning in together to the words God has for each of us and for all of us. Sometimes, a Friend feels led to share vocal ministry with those gathered. Before speaking a message aloud, Friends try to discern whether the message is for self or whether God is leading them to share it with the group. Friends do not come to worship prepared to give a message. When giving this vocal ministry, a Friend typically stands and speaks in a clear voice that all can hear. During this message, all other gathered Friends remain seated. After the message is spoken, the Friend will sit down and all will settle into silence once again. There may be several such ministries, each separated by a period of silence, or there may be none.

After about an hour, the end of the meeting will be indicated with hand shakes and greeting those sitting near you. We then have an opportunity for personal introductions, sharing joys and concerns, and announcements.

In unprogrammed Quaker meetings, we are all ministers. We have no paid clergy, and no pre-arrangement for the meeting. Quakers consider outward rites and symbols unnecessary (and even a hindrance) to spiritual experience, and therefore do not celebrate sacraments. Though we have no dogma or officially mandated doctrine, Quakers value certain principles, known as testimonies. These include peace, equality, integrity, and simplicity. We try to embody and live up to these testimonies in all aspects of our lives.