How to Deepen Quaker Meeting for Worship

Though many Quaker meetings happen in silence, there is a distinct feeling when a meeting really “goes there.” What can we do to encourage that experience? We talk with Friends from New England Yearly Meeting about how to deepen Quaker meeting for worship.

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.

9 thoughts on “How to Deepen Quaker Meeting for Worship

  1. The last speaker mentioned “going for the power” of the Spirit. I resonate with that (if I understand his point) but the tone struck me as a bit manipulative, as if it is “something that we do” rather than experiencing inwardly the Spirit “doing it to us”, or “coming among us.” (I realize semantics gets in the way here.) My Quaker experience of silence is one of “waiting upon the Spirit”, and being “surprised” by the gift of the Living Presence among us, always, always, by God’s Love and Grace.

  2. What an excellent video! —one of the best of the many I’ve yet seen! It always slightly amazes me (a member of Cambridge Area Meeting in the UK —and I know it shouldn’t amaze me as I went to a Chicago meeting which was really very similar to mine in Peterborough) that you American Quakers say the same sorts of things in pretty much the same sorts of ways as we do here. It’s kinda very reassuring in some way! But I really loved this video, especially Callid Keefe-Perry at the end! Via con Dios Callid!

  3. A nicely done video, as these all are.

    I wonder what would happen if you say down with eight or ten Friends from the first 200 years from our history and asked them that question. What would they say? What would it show us about what we are missing here?

    We could of course do this with quotations from their writings, but then we’d be in grave danger of selecting those things that reflect our own prejudices and beliefs.

    My most powerful and grounded experiences of Meeting for Worship have been when I am in company with other Friends who have a shared understanding, as early Friends did, that the Inward Light which searches out the depths of our being and shines forward into the darkness of the future is not a vague and idiosyncratic inner LED but the Word through whom the universe is created, made flesh in, well, you-know-who. My own worship is deepest when I am not just waiting, but waiting for a personal encounter who loves me and all those around me, wants to help us clean out the junk in our inner basements, and has serious work for us to do, if we are willing to surrender our inner chaos to our redeemers care, set aside our personal agendas, and accept that serious work.

  4. I think it helps the quality of our worship together if, as Friends enter the worship space, I individually and by name invite God to provide what that person needs. I used to pray for what I thought they needed, and found worship left me totally exhausted!! So, I try to let go the outcome of praying for individuals, and just let God figger it out for me. I notice that when worship begins, often there’s a living sense to the silence, as if Friends Get There almost immediately, when I simply ask that they receive what they need.

  5. The chirpy background music diminished my experience. I often tweet the QuakerSpeak videos. I couldn’t bring myself to do so, even though the QuakerSpeakers are excellent.

  6. The woman’s description at 1:33 said it so well, rooted in the ocean sand is about as close to organic rootedness i can come. And the waves *dependent upon the energy of the participants and the synergy birthed from their cooperative intention is very much like the waves…Where they’re felt is in direct relation to my immersion.
    Peace and Joy in the Moment of Remembrance, joni

  7. This is a public apology to Jon Watts, QuakerSpeak, and Friends Journal.
    My complaint about the “chirpy background music” in my comment above must have been puzzling to Jon—because he added no such thing to the video.
    There is no “chirpy background music” on the excellent video.
    The music was, unbeknownst to me, coming from an online Scrabble game that was open on my computer in another window. Since I never play Scrabble with my speakers on, I had never heard it before.
    I hope never to hear it again. It’s awful.
    Jon, I’m very sorry for ever thinking you could have been responsible for such a thing.
    I will now retweet the QuakerSpeak .

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