You might be wondering: What is it like to attend a Quaker meeting for worship at London Grove Meeting?
Faith, history, and gathering in silent worship resonate with generations of the Religious Society of Friends. Friends seek guidance from the Spirit of God through prayer and meditation, scripture, and spiritual readings by gathering for silent worship, without a pastor, but together as a community. Because of God’s presence, each Friend finds peace within oneself, through a sense of community with Friends, a sense of belonging, and our shared work for peace throughout the world.
Your First Quaker Meeting at London Grove
Someone will likely be at the door to greet you and show you the coat room if the weather is cold. Then you will enter a spacious room with big windows where meeting for worship is held. Once upon a time seating was strictly allocated: women were expected to sit in one section, men in another. Elders occupied the facing bench. Today, there is no hierarchy when it comes to seating; any spot is considered “open.” There are even a few chairs for those who need the support of chair arms or who don’t relish a cushioned bench.
As you look around, you will see your fellow worshippers in various stages of “settling in.” Some will have their eyes open, some closed. Gradually, the silence deepens. Maybe someone will be moved by the Spirit to share a message. Afterwards, an envelope of silence engulfs the words that were spoken. Then, another person may be led to share a message on the same topic or on another subject. Or the meeting may return to a deep silence.
You will know that worship has ended when a person on the facing bench shakes hands with another Friend. Then someone sitting near you will probably reach out to shake your hand. Don’t leave just yet. Frequently we are invited to share “after thoughts,” something that stirred during meeting but didn’t quite rise to be spoken as a part of worship or perhaps something that occurred during the week that one wishes to share. The richest part of the meeting is often “holding in the light,” introduction of visitors, and announcements.
If you tarry after the meeting, you will be greeted by old-timers. There are no rules. If you want to slip away to reflect on the events and emotions of the morning, that too is acceptable. You may want to pause in the foyer at the Quakerism pamphlet display and help yourself to any that interest you. The important thing is to keep coming back and to keep asking questions. Before long, you too will begin to feel like a Quaker.
You are welcome at London Grove Friends Meeting.