Quakerism is a faith of personal experience and direct, unmediated relationship and communion with the Divine or God, a faith of continuing revelation; and a faith of living our values in the secular world. Friends have used many terms or phrases to refer to the inner certainty of our faith; the Light Within, the Inner Light, the Christ Within, the Divine Presence, Spirit, the Great Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, that of God in every person.
Meeting for Worship is the primary setting for the fundamental experience of the Divine Presence. Early Friends took literally the recorded words of Jesus: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). They understood that the Light Within could be experienced without the help of trained clergy and liturgy by all who seek it. God spoke to them and through them in the silence. Any— and all— of them were ministers of the Word of God, spoken and unspoken. They chose a form of worship that nurtures the direct encounter with the Divine. Such worship centered in stillness has endured for over 350 years.
Meeting for Worship
Each experience of worship is unique, and each individual approaches worship in a personal way. Friends understand that worship is continuous and each person who enters the meeting room joins in quietly, settling into the silence. In the deepening stillness, Friends let go of thoughts and distractions, open their hearts to the Light Within and listen for what truth God might give them. Sitting together in silence has been called “expectant waiting” by Friends. Even in times of spiritual emptiness when unity and fulfillment seem distant, Friends find it necessary to be present with others in worship.