About Meeting for Worship

Worship lasts for about an hour. People approach the meeting room quietly and are silent within it; worship begins when the first person sits down and begins centering. People will usually trickle in during the first 15 minutes. At 10:30 worship, children are in childcare or First Day School (FDS) during the first 45 minutes or so; babies often attend worship with their mothers.

We worship silently for about 50 minutes, though vocal ministry may be offered. Toward the end of worship, the Clerk of Meeting will call for joys, sorrows and concerns. During the following ten minutes or so, people will respond, leaving some space between each message. Children enter worship at around 11:20, in time to experience the silence, and participate in shared Joys and Sorrows.

When the Clerk shakes hands with the persons next to him or her, everyone else will shake hands and the Meeting for Worship is said to have risen [ended]. The Clerk will call on the children to tell about their activities. Then we all introduce ourselves and share announcements. After that we will gather for snacks and social time in the social hall — or for a potluck lunch one Sunday a month.

What should I wear to Meeting?

We do not “dress up” for Meeting. Whatever you are comfortable in is fine.

Where do I sit?

It is good to seat yourself as far into the room as possible, so that people who come in later do not have to disturb worshipers by walking across the room to
find a seat. We have a variety of chairs and try to keep the soft chairs for folks who find the hard ones impossible to sit in for an hour.

What if I have to sneeze, cough, cry, go to the bathroom or leave?

All of these normal human actions happen routinely during meeting. If any are prolonged, people usually step out. If you leave while you are crying, someone will probably come with you to offer comfort. Any time you need to leave, enter late, or return, it is
always a good idea to check to make sure you are not moving while someone is giving a message.

What are concerns about fragrances?

Please avoid wearing scented products because fragrances may trigger allergic reactions in others who sit or stand near you.

What if I fall asleep?

We have regular members and attenders who sometimes fall asleep. We hope everyone can give good attention to being with us, but we understand if people sometimes doze off, and will most likely just let them sleep.

What if I come late?

If you attend Meeting regularly, you will notice that people sometimes arrive late. We prefer that people come on time, but we understand that being late is sometimes unavoidable, and would rather have you come late than not come at all.

Are there formal or informal rules I need to know?

During silent worship we encourage a period of silence after someone has spoken a message, to give everyone a chance to think about what has been said. If you offer a message, it should be of a spiritual nature. We encourage people to speak from the heart and their own experience. Generally we try to be kind and inclusive and mindful of our testimonies. Also, we try to remember to turn off cell phones on the way into Meeting.

What do RCF members do when a visitor comes?

After silent worship ends, we go around the circle and say our names. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet individuals during the social time that follows. We hope you will stay. Usually someone will make a point to welcome you personally.

What if I feel a need to talk in depth with other Quakers about something I’m experiencing?

We hope you would seek out an individual you feel comfortable with and explore your concern. You may also approach Worship and Pastoral Care; helping Friends with such needs is one of that committee’s responsibilities.