The “Worship Group” under the care of Trenton Monthly Meeting invites you to join us on Sundays at 10 a.m. for forty-five minutes of unprogrammed, quiet reflection. The First Sunday of every month, at the conclusion, or “Rise of Meeting,” Friends join together in Ockanickon Hall for coffee and fellowship. Check the Facebook page for cancellations.
Quakers are members of the Religious Society of Friends, a faith that emerged as a new Christian denomination in England during a period of religious turmoil in the mid-1600’s and is practiced today in a variety of forms around the world. To members of this religion, the words “Quaker” and “Friend” mean the same thing.
It is difficult to write a description of Friends beliefs that would be acceptable to all the Quakers in the world today. However, Quakers all share common roots in a Christian movement that arose in England in the middle of the 17th Century. Today, it is generally true that all Friends still adhere to certain essential principles:
- a belief in the possibility of direct, unmediated communion with the Divine (historically expressed by George Fox in the statement, “Christ is come to teach his people himself”); and
- a commitment to living lives that outwardly attest to this inward experience.
Worship in the Quaker tradition is one of expectant silence and spoken ministry. The basis of Quaker worship is a conviction that there is something of the spirit of God in all of us. Meeting for Worship is one aspect of a discipline and belief, which permeates all we do. Sitting quietly in worship, Quakers seek the immediate sense of Divine leading and firsthand knowledge of that spirit.
Quakers believe that there is continuous revelation by God of Truth and Light. The Meeting for Worship should revolve around the efforts of the group to uncover the Light within, to share it, and to live by it.
The lack of a creed or clear description of Quaker beliefs has sometimes led to the misconception that Friends do not have beliefs or that one can believe anything and be a Friend. Most Quakers take the absence of a creed as an invitation and encouragement to exercise an extra measure of personal responsibility for the understanding and articulation of Quaker faith. Rather than rely on priests or professional theologians, each believer is encouraged to take seriously the personal disciplines associated with spiritual growth. Out of lives of reflection, prayer, faithfulness, and service flow the statements of belief, both in word and in deed. As there is no designated minister, those who are worshipping are all charged with the responsibility for participation. Anyone present may feel moved to speak, to share an insight, to pray, to praise. When someone speaks, each of those in attendance should listen with an open heart.
Sometimes, a Meeting that is completely silent also speaks well to the soul. Whether one is moved to speak or to worship in silence, what matters is that each of us be sensitive to the inner prompting that should be our guide.
Excerpt from Faith and Practice, 2002
… Careful listening to the Inward Teacher can lead to fresh openings: an in pouring … of love, insight, and interdependence. True listening can also bring the … worshipper to new and sometimes troubling perceptions, including clear leadings … that may be a source of pain and anxiety; yet it can also bring such wholeness of … heart that hard tasks can become a source of joy. Even when we worship torn … with our own pain or that of another, it is in worship that we discover new … strength for what faces us in our everyday lives.