What to Expect at a Quaker Memorial Service

For some people, attending a memorial service may be their first time worshiping with Quakers; for those who have joined a meeting later in life, their first time honoring a deceased Friend can be a powerful experience. But what exactly happens at a Quaker memorial—and how does it differ from funeral rites in other spiritual traditions? We spoke with several Friends who discussed the comfort they found in celebrating the life of a loved one while remaining open to the grief of their passing.

“One of the things that I would say that is very, very distinctive is the silence and reflection,” says Debbie B. Ramsey. Ample time is given not just for the family of the deceased to reflect and, if so led, share their memories, but for all in attendance. “In doing so, we become one in the departure of the person that the memorial is for.”


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