Quaker meetings for worship can be held anywhere, at any time. Every meeting begins in silence. We use it to open ourselves to the wisdom that comes out of stillness. It enriches us and shapes us, individually and collectively. This is what we mean by 'worship'. You can read more about how we worship here.
Flower Table Display © CThomas
From the experience of worship comes the Quaker understanding of the church as being formed and led by the spirit. George Fox (credited as the founder of Quakerism) wrote:
We need no mass for to teach us, and we need not your common prayer, for the Spirit that gave forth the scriptures teacheth us how to pray, sing, fast, and to give thanks… The true faith changeth not, which is the gift of God, and a mystery held in a pure conscience… Our faith, our church, our unity in the Spirit, and our Word, at which we tremble, was in the beginning before your church-made faiths, and our unity, church and fellowship will stand when they are all ended.
What happens in a Meeting for Worship
In a Quaker Meeting for Worship there are no hymns, readings or set prayers. As people arrive, they sit in silence, each free to reflect and pray in their own way, but in the company of others. Occasionally someone may interrupt the silence, stand, and speak to the meeting as a whole, sharing an insight, prayer or experience.
The meeting ends after about an hour. Everyone is welcome to visit a Quaker meeting on a Sunday morning or at some local meetings at other times in the week. Each Quaker Meeting for Worship is different as it reflects the people present and what happens on the day. Ask 100 Quakers about what they experience and there will be close to 100 different answers.
To learn more about Quaker beliefs and attitudes and for an insight into the Quaker approach to life take a look at Advices and Queries
Quaker Faith and Practice online
The Reading QF&P project is an encouragement for individuals and groups to discover the richness to be found within Quaker faith & practice in a structured way with activities and reflection/discussion points https://qfp.quaker.org.uk/reading/
Quakers in a meeting for worship © Mike Pinches
Quaker Faith & Practice © CThomas
Harvey Gillman, 1988:
For a Quaker, religion is not an external activity, concerning a special ‘holy’ part of the self. It is an openness to the world in the here and now with the whole of the self. If this is not simply a pious commonplace, it must take into account the whole of our humanity: our attitudes to other human beings in our most intimate as well as social and political relationships. It must also take account of our life in the world around us, the way we live, the way we treat animals and the environment. In short, to put it in traditional language, there is no part of ourselves and of our relationships where God is not present.