Perfect for newcomers, this brief pamphlet captures the essence of unprogrammed Quaker worship, our faith and practice, and testimonies. By permission of the author, the document is downloadable at no cost.
Excerpt on unprogrammed worship:
If you have never before attended an unprogrammed Friends (Quaker) meeting for worship, your first meeting may surprise you.
While all Quakers meet in worship to hear more clearly God’s “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12), Friends in the unprogrammed Quaker tradition base our worship entirely on expectant waiting. Friends take the Psalmist’s advice literally: “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps 46:10).
Unprogrammed Quakers have a style of worship that is unlike most worship traditions. Friends meet in plain, unadorned rooms because we have found that, in such spaces, we are less distracted from hearing that still small voice. There are no pulpits in our meeting rooms because Friends minister to each other. Our benches or chairs face each other because we are all equal before God. There are no prearranged prayers, readings, sermons, hymns, music, or sacraments because Friends wait for God’s leadings (guidance and direction) and power in our lives.
During worship, messages may come to any one of us. Friends have found that some of the messages we receive are intended to be shared in meeting for worship, while others may be for personal reflection or for sharing on another occasion. Friends value spoken messages that come from the heart and are prompted by the Spirit, and we also value the silence that we share together. Quaker worship is not only about what supports and enlivens us individually, worship is also about what we bring to others in our Quaker communities and in our world.
Following a spoken message, we return to the silence to examine ourselves in the Light of that message. Meeting for worship ends when one Friend, designated in advance, shakes hands with his or her neighbors. Then everyone shakes hands. No two meetings are ever the same.
Author: Marsha D. Holliday
Illustrator: John Weske
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Topics: Adult Education, Adults. Mysticism, Centering, Community, Equality, In Meeting for Worship, Integrity, Peace, Quaker Faith & Practice, Service, Simplicity, Stewardship, Theology, Truth, Welcoming, With Friends New to Quakerism