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B: What happens at a Quaker meeting?
A Quaker Meeting is based on silence - an expectant silence of waiting - in which we seek to come nearer to each other and to God. Sometimes a Meeting will pass in total silence. The silence may be broken if someone feels compelled by the Spirit to speak, or minister, as it is called. The Meeting ends after about an hour with the shaking of hands. The following words sum up this well.

If you are wondering
what God may be, 
Looking for a purpose in life,
Craving company, or seeking solitude,
Come to our Meeting for Worship!
We shall not ask you to speak or sing,
We shall not ask you what you believe,
We shall simply offer you our friendship,
And a chance to sit quietly and think,
And perhaps someone will speak,
And perhaps someone will pray,
And perhaps you will find here
That which you are seeking
We are not saints,
We are not cranks,
We are not different –
Except that we believe
That God’s light is in us all,
Waiting to be answered.





Quaker Etiquette. Quaker Meetings are simple, but this may help you.

A Quaker meeting is based on silence as we seek unity in the stillness of God. The silence may be comfortable or uncomfortable and there will be distractions. Gently return to the still centre of your being as far as you are able. You may read books or leaflets from the table if it helps your stillness.

The silence may be broken by anyone who feels moved to speak* (minister), prompted by the spirit, to say something which will deepen or enrich the silence. Receive ministry charitably. It may speak to some more than others but stay open to its message. We try to allow a suitable silence after ministry so that everyone may absorb what has been said. It may follow that ministry from another prompts you to speak and it may be on the same theme as has already been voiced. If this is the case, the ministry usually adds to what has been said rather than contradicts or negates it. We seek the word of God in each other.

Sometimes the meeting will be ‘gathered’ and everyone will feel the unity, in God, of those present. For newcomers meeting may seem confusing at first. The subtle etiquette is not easy to convey – it is not usual to minister more than once in a meeting and it is not the custom to question someone who has given ministry. Have confidence in the power of the silence and take time to develop a sense of ease during meeting.

The meeting is generally brought to an end when an elder shakes hands with the person next to them.

*There may sometimes be a short devotional reading from Quaker Faith and Practice.

It's hard being a "seeker" on your own. In the Meeting for Worship, Friends share with each other what they have found out for themselves, and gain from each other in this way. Quakers find this "communion" can best be experienced if they meet in silence. Meeting for Worship couldn't be simpler. We enter a room together and settle into a silence, which can become very deep and powerful. After a time, someone may feel impelled to stand up and speak briefly, using everyday words or those of traditional prayer. Or they may read from the Bible or some other book.

Each local meeting has its own character. In Britain they all follow this pattern of silent worship in which it is customary for no person present to speak (“minister”) more than once. But in other places, notably East Africa and America the style of worship may be very different. An early Friend described the effect of Quaker worship: "I felt the evil weakening in me and the good raised up." Perhaps this is why Quakers are generally tolerant and hopeful.