San Diego Friends Meeting (Quakers)

Meeting for Worship

The meeting for worship is the center of Quaker life.  At any time during the week we can worship alone.  On Sundays we meet to worship with others, sitting in silence, seeking to find God together.

Unprogrammed Friends meet in silence, because we don't want anything to distract us while we are trying to come close to God.  There are two ways of doing this.  We can think of our spirit reaching out toward God.  Or we can think that we are opening our minds and hearts so that God can come to us.  Whichever way we look at it, the important thing is that, in the silence of meeting, our spirit may meet God's spirit.

There are no set words or ceremonies in unprogrammed meetings.  All those present may be moved to speak their own service.  We are asked by the Advices to come "with heart and mind prepared."  We wait for God to tell us what to do.  If God wants us to speak, we believe that he will also give us the words to say.  One person may offer a prayer, another may read from the Bible, a third may give a message that has come during the meeting or has grown out of past experience or study.  Sometimes nothing is said during the whole meeting.  This doesn't matter as long as we have found God in the silence.

Some people new to silent worship  have found these suggestions helpful.  Trying one or two of them each meeting can help you find your own most comfortable way of opening up to God:    

  • Come into meeting quietly.  Remember that you are coming together to join with others in thought, prayer and thanksgiving.
  • Imagine you are sitting in some quiet, beautiful part of God's creation.
  • Thank God for the world, and for the people in it.
  • Tell God the things that are worrying you, and lose them in the silence.
  • Bring to the meeting thoughts you have been pondering and release them in to the silence.
  • Keeping your mind and body still, let your spirit reach out toward the spirit of God.
  • When your thoughts wander, don't worry.  Draw them back quietly and happily.
  • If you leave before meeting is over, go quietly.  Remember that other Friends are still waiting on God.  You don't want to disturb them.
  • It is good to remember it is not only those who speak in meeting who help others.  Our feelings can be shared without any words being spoken.  Young people can help in this way as well as grown-ups. 

Taken from "The Quaker Way" - revised and updated by Friends General Conference.  Feel free, as you read, to interchange the word God with another that suits your vision.

San Diego Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) believes governments should be sensitive and responsive to public protests and human suffering.  We favor a guarantee of adequate food, housing, health care, education and employment for all citizens and residents of the country.  We are disturbed by the increasing concentration of wealth in this country and the prevalence of investment practices which enrich the few and fail to bring and benefit to the majority of the population.

The Hebrew scriptures - and Jesus' interpretations of these, the historical source of our own religious practices  - proclaim that the good things of this world are intended for the support of human needs, not the enrichment of a privileged few.  Thus, an economic system can not be safely left to narrow private interests, but must subordinate these to spiritual considerations as reflected in Friends testimonies of simplicity, equality, community, stewardship, integrity, and peace.

The "Occupy" movement of some years back sought an end to the destructive and fraudulent investment practices, dysfunctional concentration of financial wealth, neglect of the public's employment, education, food, housing, and health care needs, and the corrupting effect of the financial sector's disproportionate influence in the nation's affairs. Those practices are a greater danger today.

We ask that everyone think seriously about the willingness of so many people to undertake the hardships and risks of that past movement. Think about those who continue today -- resisting, putting themselves at risk, doing what they can to salve  the deep and widespread human suffering, alienation, and distrust of our political processes.  Now is a time for us all to join in a spirit of worship and work for the best interests of the country and all of its residents - rather than the privileged few.

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