My First Time At Quaker Meeting

What’s it like to attend Quaker meeting for worship for the first time? We asked 6 Friends what they remember about their first experience.

Jon Watts

Jon Watts launched and directed the QuakerSpeak project for its first 6 seasons. Keep up to date with Jon’s work at his website.

5 thoughts on “My First Time At Quaker Meeting

  1. I love reading and taking in the learnings of folks experiencing their first time in a silent Quaker Meeting. Many years ago when I first took my first child, then a toddler of 3, to Meeting I noticed how silent she was, thoughtful, listening. When she got restless she sat on the floor and put her book on the chair..”reading it”. After Meeting I complimented her on her behavior and thanked her for being mindful of others.
    She responded with, ” But Mom, Meeting was asleep.” Loved it. Out of the mouths of babes, honesty but respectful of the silence. Warms my heart even now, 40+ years later.
    Meeting is always like coming home.

  2. I was taken to my first Quaker meeting in 1990 here in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire (UK) by an American friend staying with me over the summer. It was very strange being silent for an hour but I knew immediately two things; one, like so many others, that I had found my spiritual home and two, that I had probably always been a Quaker without knowing it. And I’m pretty sure there are an awful lot more Quakers “out there” who just don’t know it! I hope “Quakerspeak” finds some more of them. Perhaps someone could say this on one of your videos!

  3. My first experience of silent meeting was when my confirmation class visited a Quaker Meeting as part of our class. We also visited a Catholic monastery and a synagogue-but the Quaker Meeting really resonated with me. Imagine my surprise when I was told (for the first time) that our family had Quaker roots going back to the 1600s. But one of my ancestors got read out of Meeting and that was the end of that.
    I did not attend Meeting again until many years later. What struck me about that Meeting was that someone rose to share a message and ended with something along the lines that if other Friends are also led to address this problem. I was amazed that there was not one right answer, but that each of us needed to decide for ourselves. Ironically, I forgot what the message was about, but the idea that we could disagree stuck with me and got me to return.

  4. Noel and Eileen speak my mind. The silence was spiritual in a way I had not understood I had. And the words Friends used indicating their experience were individual, not corporate, words. I realized I would be free to seek in my own way and I discovered my need for reverence. That need was developed and met further, elsewhere, when my wife and I sat in silence with just the one other Friendly couple within perhaps a thousand miles..

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