Finding Out about Quakers

"A community in which each person is accepted and nurtured, and strangers are welcome..."

You do not have to be a Quaker to come to a Quaker Meeting – all are very welcome. Often the best way to learn more about Quakers is to experience Quaker worship for yourself. Ours is an experience -based faith, so when you are ready please come and join us.

Quakers try to live simply and sustainably, promoting peace, equality and truth. Putting faith into action is central to our way of life and we meet weekly for quiet worship, usually on Sunday, in more than 475 locations across Britain. 

A Quaker meeting for worship: what’s it like?

Quaker worship is a shared, mostly silent seeking of the inward Light.

What is the ground and foundation of the gathered Meeting? In the last analysis, it is, I am convinced, the real presence of God.”  Thomas Kelly

Quaker worship is difficult to describe; the best way to find out what it is like is to experience it first hand. Newcomers are welcome at our local meetings which are generally held on Sunday mornings. Friends will greet you there and can answer any questions.

Quaker meetings for worship begin when the first person to arrive has sat down in silence. As others join the meeting, we move into silent worship together. There is no pre-arranged order of service and, on each occasion we meet, the shared silence can take on a life of its own. This means that a newcomer or visitor cannot take one or two Meetings as typical: the serious enquirer should stay with us awhile. Silence for Friends is not merely stillness or the absence of sound. A living silence is a time for listening, a time for self-surrender, a time for a deep sense of fellowship with one another and an opportunity to experience the presence of God (whatever “God” may mean to each individual).

The experience of worship is difficult to explain in words, especially as not all Quakers feel able to express themselves in formal religious language. Worship itself, however, seems to call for, or imply, a sense of transcendence and most Friends feel comfortable with talk of the Spirit, that is, ‘our selves in the depth of what we are…this place where God and me mingle indistinguishably’ (Harry Williams, quoted by George Gorman, ‘The Amazing Fact of Quaker Worship’ p. 105).

Sometimes a meeting is entirely silent, but more commonly in most meetings, from time to time the silence is broken when someone feels led to speak. ‘Spoken’ ministry (as we call these contributions) may take many forms. It could be sharing an experience, a question that has exercised the inner self, an affirmation, a reading, teaching or a prayer. There is no prescription or pattern for spoken ministry and no limitation on who may speak.

A meeting for worship differs from a meeting for learning, which is the proper setting for contributions which just stimulate discussion or artistic or intellectual pursuits. Also, it is generally not helpful to air personal problems in spoken ministry in the expectation that Friends will explore them for therapeutic purposes. Our hope is that all spoken ministry will be given with sensitivity to the life and spirit of the local meeting and will be inspiring and uplifting to some or all of those attending.

You are also welcome to explore a friendly on-line introduction to Quakers between 7-8 pm on most Tuesday evenings  (except bank holidays) - see Discovering Quakers.

You may also click on How Quakers worship to get a further sense of Quaker Meetings. Or, you can Contact Us for further information.