Wednesday, February 1, 2012


For a little over a year now, we have been trying an experiment at Freedom Friends Church.  When a month has a fifth Sunday, instead of our usual semi-programmed worship, we have been alternating between completely unprogrammed worship and fully programmed worship.  This past Sunday was the fifth Sunday in January and we had unprogrammed worship.

For Friends who are accustomed to beginning with singing and vocal prayer, an hour or more of unprogrammed worship can at times be uncomfortable.  We also had four first-time visitors (nearly a third of the group!), so we took some time to talk about open worship and what it means to feel led to speak.  Once we settled in, though, the worship was deep and rich.

Out of the silence, I felt led to give the following message:
This morning at Ministry and Oversight, two of the people we talked about were our friends, Ann and Dorsey.  They worship at University Friends Meeting, an unprogrammed meeting in Seattle.  As we were sitting here, it struck me that Friends at University Friends Meeting are in open worship now too, and I feel very connected to them right now.  They are sitting in chairs, facing each other, like we are.  There are probably a lot more of them than there are of us.  Many of them are older than us.  Many of them have been meeting like this for a long time.  Some have been meeting like this on Sundays for open worship for eighty or ninety years.  They keep coming back because they have found that there is something here for them―they meet in worship to listen to God, and the Spirit is at work in their lives.  There are Quakers all over the world who meet in silence to listen to God, which is amazing because there is so little room for silence.  And I am grateful to be a part of it.


  1. I find that silent worship is easier when you do it consistently. If I miss Meeting two weeks in a row, when I come back it's much harder to get centered.

  2. I agree, Mackenzie. I find the same is true with praying. I try to spend time in prayer each morning and doing that each day--even if it is just for a few minutes--makes the next day easier. Praying during the week also helps me center in open worship.


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