South Bend Friends Meeting

Know one another in that which is eternal (1), 1990, by Ron Waddams, a Quaker artist and a member of Chilterns Area Quaker Meeting, England.

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Larren Art

The worship starts when the first worshipper arrives and sits in meditative silence.  Once worship has started, other worshippers will join the circle and continue in concentrated silence, not pausing to greet worshipers who come in later.

Once the worshippers have gathered, the meeting settles into a deeper silence. Individual Friends use different techniques in this period of centering in. Silent prayer of any form, meditation techniques, silently recollecting spiritually meaningful pieces of music: anything that brings the worshipper closer to the heart of the shared silence is appropriate.

Out of the collective silence that develops, Friends may find themselves led to give spoken ministry. As a rule, these

spoken messages are quite short and unpolished. They are spontaneous reflections that have come to the speaker during their worship. Once the ministry is given, the silence is allowed to gather again. There may be several messages during the course of a meeting for worship or there may be none. The absence of spoken ministry does not mean that something has gone wrong with the meeting. Often Friends find that a completely silent meeting for worship can nevertheless be a very powerful one.  Worship ends when one of the members of our Ministry and Councel Committee reaches to shake hands with a worshiper, at which sign we all do the same to create a chain of connection among those gathered.

You May Not Even Notice The Opening Of Worship Because It Is Simplicity Itself.

Douglas Steere Speaks of His Own Participation in Quaker Worship

Our meetings are made up of a group of people gathered together in silent prayer. The first thing that I do is close my eyes and then still my body in order to get it as far out of the way as I can. Then I still my mind and let it open to God in silent prayer, for the meeting, as we understand it, is the meeting place of the worshipper with God. I thank God inwardly for this occasion, for the week's happenings, for what I have learned at God's hand, for my family, and the work there is to do. I often pause to enjoy this presence. Under God's gaze I search the week and feel the piercing twinge of remorse that comes at this, and this, and this. I ask forgiveness for my faithlessness and ask for strength to meet this matter when it arises again. There have been times when I had to re-weave a part of my life under this auspice.

I hold up persons before God in intercession, loving and seeing them under God's eyes, longing for God's healing and redeeming power to course through their lives. I hold up certain social situations, certain projects. At such a time I often see things that I may do in company with or that are related to this person or to this situation. I hold up the persons in the meeting and their needs, as I know them, to God.

     --From "Quaker meeting for worship." Douglas Steere, an internationally known Quaker authority on spirituality.

Worship In The Eternal