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For me, what it means to be Quaker is that I have the opportunity for a direct experience of relationship with the Divine. And how Quakers practice that is many of us sit and wait. We call it expectant worship. So we sit and expect to be transformed by the relationship we can have with the divine.
My name is Rachel Ernst Stahlhut, and I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio. I currently coordinate the Quaker Quest program with Friends General Conference. Friends General Conference is an organization that supports and brings together Quaker Meetings across North America. So we offer programming, we offer individuals who travel in the ministry to help support individuals and Meetings, and we also create the Gathering every year which brings together Friends from all over to spend time together in fellowship and learning.
Who is Quaker Meeting for?
Who is Quaker Meeting for? I would say, “everyone.” And I know that there are many spiritual opportunities in the world and the Quaker way is not going to speak to everyone, and I would hope that we as Meetings can have an open door so that people who are looking for a spiritual home can come and check us out, feel safe, feel welcome, feel energized, and if it’s not the place for them, they can leave feeling like, “Those Quakers are good people!”
But I would hope that we would have something to offer to many people because the core of our faith is a direct relationship with the divine, and I would hope that that is what all seekers are hoping to experience. I hope we can give that to people.
Is Quaker Meeting for You?
What I would encourage you to do is come to a Quaker Meeting. Come meet some real life Quakers and ask them what it means to be Quaker today in this modern, contemporary society we live in. Come and sit in the silence and see what you hear when you really let go of distractions. Come and ask Quakers about what it means to live their faith in action, what that looks like. It looks for some people like social activism. For other people it looks like building beautiful, deep relationships. Come and ask them. Ask yourself, “What, when I really listen, does the Light within me tell me?” And then you can have relationships with Quakers in a Meeting that you visit to figure out what to do with that message. Come and see!