If you are curious about Quakers, the best thing to do is come along to one of our Sunday meetings, experience the deep silence for yourself and take the opportunity to ask questions over a cup of tea afterwards. If you would like to come to the Meeting House in person, please just turn up. There will be someone to welcome you at the door and perhaps offer you a few explanatory leaflets. If you prefer to participate via Zoom, please email email@example.com for the Zoom link.
We do not have a priest and we have no set prayers, hymns or sermons. Our meetings are based on a silence of waiting and listening. There may be silence for quite some time, perhaps even for the whole meeting. But that does not mean nothing is happening. We try to hold ourselves aware of all those gathered with us, uniting in a common purpose, so that the waiting and listening become an act of sharing but without reciting creeds, singing hymns or repeating set prayers.
The silence may be broken if someone present feels called to say something which will deepen and enrich the worship. Anyone is free to speak, pray or read aloud, as long as it is done in response to a prompting of the spirit which comes in the course of the meeting. This breaks the silence for the moment, but does not interrupt it.
Listen with an open mind to what is said. Each contribution may help somebody, but our needs are different and can be met in different ways. If something does not speak to your condition or need, try to reach the spirit behind the words. The speaker wants to help the meeting, so take care not to reject the offering by negative criticism.
Each of us brings our own life experience to meeting. Some people will have a profound sense of awe and wonder because they know God is present. Others will be far less certain. If the word God has difficult associations for you, using a different image or concept such as ‘spirit’ or ‘light’ can be helpful.
In the quietness of a Quaker meeting worshippers can become aware of a deep and powerful spirit of love and truth, transcending their ordinary experience. We seek to become united in love and strengthened in truth, so we enter a new level of living, despite the different ways we may account for this life-expanding experience.
These two videos by younger members of Brighton's Quaker Community may give you a better understanding of what draws people to Quaker Meetings.