Yes and no. Yes, we do sit silently for a while. But no: Quaker worship is much more than just sitting down and being quiet!
Wilmington Friends Meeting follows a pretty traditional order of service. We sing hymns, share joys and concerns, make announcements, pray together, and listen to a sermon. For the most part, if you are new to Quakerism, our service will feel very familiar.
The sermon doesn’t typically end with a strong conclusion, though, one that would tell you what you must believe or what you have to go out and do. Rather, our sermons tend to end with questions.
At the end of the sermon, the preacher sits down. It may seem, at first, like nothing is happening. If you have come to visit us, you might start looking around, wondering if someone has forgotten what they were supposed to do. Don’t worry, though- every week, we sit quietly together for a few minutes and wait on God to arrive.
We’re not just sitting still, though. Some of us use the time in the silence to consider how the sermon might apply to our own lives. Some of us use the time to pray for the people gathered for worship. Some of us think of it as a meditation time. Some of us are simply enjoying a little peace and quiet before the beginning of a hectic week.
Whatever our individual experience, we find that the practice of gathering together in silence brings us, both individually and corporately, closer to God. This is how Quakers practice communion; by gathering together with one another to commune with God.
So, yes, we are sitting silently. We do it every week. We do more than that, but our time of waiting on God is particularly important to us. In the silence, we meet with the God who is our Creator, Redeemer, and Friend.