Quakers believe that everyone has what we call ‘that of God’ within them; that is to say, each of us has direct access to the divine. Deep experiences can take many forms, and people use different words to describe them. We need to respect everyone’s experience. We refer to each other as Friends to show affectionate respect. Quakerism is a way of life rather than just a set of ideas.
If you are thinking of going to a Quaker Meeting for the first time you may want to know what it will be like.
Meeting for Worship
A Quaker Meeting is a place of gathered stillness. We gather together in silence with no creed or clergy, believing that everyone is equal, to listen to the ‘promptings of love and truth in our hearts’.
From time to time someone may speak briefly if they feel moved to and we listen carefully, thinking about what has been said but not answering back.
Our tradition of worship has lasted for hundreds of years and is still contemporary and relevant today.
The Meeting for Worship begins as soon as the first person has entered the room and is seated. Within ourselves our aim is to return again and again to the still centre of our being and be aware of the presence, however we personally define it, of that of God.
After about an hour, two people who have been nominated in advance will shake hands to mark the end of the meeting. Then everyone may also shake hands with each other in greeting and friendship. After the meeting there will be some notices as in any other church and an invitation to share some light refreshments and talk to each other.
Thinking of becoming a member?
Gloucestershire Area Meeting has produced a simple leaflet explaining what to do if you are interested in joining the Society of Friends.