What to expect
at a Meeting for Worship
at Freedom Friends Church
Quaker worship is different from many other forms of Christian worship.
Quakers believe that every day is sacred, and that every worthy activity
can be done in a way that praises the Creator. At their best, our Sunday
worship services mirror our everyday spiritual practices. We come together
to amplify our individual spiritual journey in the presence of other Friends.
Quakers also believe that everyone has ministry and that God can speak
to the group through any individual, so worship is a participatory event
that invites everyone to participate if they wish and as they feel led.
At Freedom Friends Church we participate in worship in these ways:
· Centering – being gathered together by God, agreeing to
be fully present, tuning in to the Spirit, just being ‘here-now’.
We may do this by singing, or prayer, by making art, or sitting together
in silence for a few moments.
· Gratitude - We think that gratitude is a great attitude adjuster.
We start there. We do this verbally or silently as we feel God leads us.
· Asking - We recognize that we are not self-sufficient and that
we rely on a higher power for help. We ask for what we need, because Christ
told us to do so whenever we feel a burden.
· Listening - This is the core of our worship. After we have cleared
ourselves of our thoughts and worries through gratitude and petition,
we just listen together to God. We believe that Christ is present in this
and will teach us Himself. We hear God in the silence, we hear God in
the voices of others, and we find that God’s voice rises up as we
paint or draw or read. Sometimes we hear things that are just for us,
sometimes they are for everyone, and then we share them. For some people
‘hearing’ is not the right metaphor for this, but they do
have an awareness of God in those moments.
There are some things that you won’t find at Freedom Friends during
worship. There won’t be a liturgical sacrament like communion or
water baptism - In many Christian churches these are certain blessings
that can only come through the church, and that you need for spiritual
health. We believe in communion with God and the immersion in the Holy
Spirit, but we believe these are internal spiritual events; they do happen
in meeting, they also happen outside of meeting. We do not believe that
anything is truly essential for spiritual life except for a direct individual
connection with God. We come together to strengthen that connection, but
we do not believe that it can be produced by any particular behavior or
ritual. In believing this, we do not condemn any other part of the Body
of Christ for seeking those practices that are meaningful to them.
There are some things that you will never see at Freedom Friends:
· Worship as Entertainment - Worship where a few talented individuals
‘perform’ and everyone else watches. We like entertainment;
we just don’t think that it belongs in worship because it allows
some people to be spiritually idle while others are required to act spiritual
whether they feel like it or not at that moment.
· Coercive Evangelism - No one is ever going to try and persuade,
or cajole, pull, guilt or shame you into a decision, spiritual or otherwise,
during worship. A sudden awareness of a spiritual need, or an awareness
of an area of your life that needs looking at may happen in worship. You
may have a sudden understanding or even an epiphany, but that is between
you and God, and we won’t try to manufacture it.
· A Manipulated Cathartic Event - Emotion happens, that’s
just human. But we won’t try and manipulate your emotions in a positive
or a negative way. It is not good spiritual health to have a spiritual/emotional
binge on Sunday that runs out on Thursday, so that you are starving on
Saturday, needing another spiritual fix. We will try and teach you practices
that you can use everyday so that you will have a steady and stable spiritual
walk. We believe that it is ethically and morally wrong to use fear, guilt
or shame to attempt to control behavior or belief.
So come check us out – You will be welcome.