We invite you to share the hospitality of our Meeting House and to join us in Meeting. Quakers will not define for you their form of Meeting or impose it upon you, but it does involve a discipline. The Meeting asks that you listen attentively, both to the remarkable harmony of the silent waiting and to the ministry of the spoken word which may arise from the silence. We ask you to wait with patience and openness for an understanding of the Friends Meeting.
Speaking arises from a deep religious experience and is preceded by the conviction that this experience must be shared. This is sometimes sensed as an upwelling of the spirit, sometimes as an insight. This is the result of most earnest seeking and is never casual or argumentative. Quaker silence is not an emptiness crying out to be filled but a discipline and contemplative openness to the spirit of God.
The Meeting is a special time away from our worldly concerns, in which we seek together, often in silence, for the strength and light to meet our problems and concerns.
Invitation found at the door to the meeting room of the Westerly Friends Meeting.
A Time of Gathering
For meetings in the unprogrammed Quaker tradition, worship is a time of gathering together in silent waiting, with an expectation of hearing the “still, small voice of God”. It is possible for the entire hour to pass in deeply spiritual silent worship or it may happen that a Friend will feel called to share a message arising out of the prompting of the Spirit. After discerning if the message is a genuine ministry, he or she will stand, speak plainly and briefly, and then sit down to return, with the rest of the meeting, to silence. After time for reflection, another message may be inspired by the previous words or another message entirely may follow, or the deep spiritual silence may continue unbroken until the hour closes with the person appointed to have care for the meeting shaking the hand of a person close by. From A Quaker Cupboard
Scenes from a Meetinghouse – By Gunilla Norris
I have attended Westerly (R.I.) Meeting for a number of years. It is held in an old, venerable structure full of silence and peace. When Jean Schnell came to photograph our worship space, I was inspired to look more deeply at those things in front of my eyes and wrote these four little meditations to accompany her photographs.
What does it mean if you are a Quaker
100 Quakers will probably give you 100 different answers to what this belief means!
A Christian group that stresses the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that rejects outward rites and an ordained ministry, and that has a long tradition of actively working for peace and opposing war.
Every person is loved by the Divine Spirit. Quakers are of all ages, education backgrounds, races, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and classes. Everyone is welcome among Friends.
Quakers gather in the silence and wait expectantly to come into the presence of the Divine and to be guided by the still, small voice by which God speaks to us from within.
Quakers seek to experience God directly, within ourselves and in our relationships with others and the world around us. Quakerism is a way of life, rather than a set of beliefs. Our vision is of a world of justice, peace and equality. Our inner experience leads us to be committed to equality, peace, simplicity and truth; all of which we try to live out in our lives.