You do not have to be a Quaker to come to a Quaker Meeting – all are very welcome. Often the best way to learn more about Quakers is to experience Quaker worship for yourself. Ours is an experience-based faith, so when you are ready come and see what it's like.
Quakers try to live simply and sustainably, promoting peace, equality and truth. Putting faith into action is central to our way of life and we meet weekly for quiet worship, usually on Sunday, in more than 475 locations across Britain.
Quaker meetings for worship begin when the first person to arrive has sat down in silence. As others join the meeting, we move into silent worship together. There is no pre-arranged order of service and, on each occasion we meet, the shared silence can take on a life of its own. This means that a newcomer or visitor cannot take one or two Meetings as typical: the serious enquirer should stay with us awhile. Silence for Friends is not merely stillness or the absence of sound. A living silence is a time for listening, a time for self-surrender, a time for a deep sense of fellowship with one another and an opportunity to experience the presence of God (whatever “God” may mean to each individual).
The experience of worship is difficult to explain in words, especially as not all Quakers feel able to express themselves in formal religious language. Worship itself, however, seems to call for, or imply, a sense of transcendence and most Friends feel comfortable with talk of the Spirit, (or the light) that is, ‘our selves in the depth of what we are…this place where God and me mingle indistinguishably’ (Harry Williams, quoted by George Gorman, ‘The Amazing Fact of Quaker Worship’ p. 105).
The Meeting is ended when the Elders sitting in the front row shake hands, then everyone usually greets those sitting nearby.
A Quaker Meeting may appear to lack leadership but it is present and is shared widely. There are many roles which people share for a few years at a time. Elders are responsible for the spiritual life of the Meeting and members of the pastoral care group ensure that everyone in the Meeting feels supported. Decisions are made with the presence of a Quaker ethos, even our business method is Quaker led.
Please take a 'Welcome Pack' which contains lots of information about Quakers and Quaker Faith. We also have a well-stocked library and you are welcome to borrow books.