It was early fall in a Canadian small town. Someone later writes about the experience. “We’ve already driven around the block, but now we’re sure this is the right house. There are cars outside, and people talking on the lawn. Someone comes to us with hand outstretched and introduces himself. We all walk around to the back, the children clinging. I notice with some relief that people are dressed rather casually. We settle ourselves into an assortment of garden furniture, arranged in a circle. And then we sit silently together.
At first I am most aware of the beauty of this place. The warmth and sunshine of a glorious fall day; the dappled shade, the rustle of leaves, neighbours discussing their gardens….gradually the silence deepens. I become less aware and hardly notice when someone rises and beckons the children to come to their program. Time seems suspended.
Someone speaks, about looking for God in our lives. Again, silence. Sometimes I sense a feeling of deep peace and timelessness, and catch a glimpse of a profoundly moving experience, of God in our midst. Sometimes I am aware of the distractions. Another person speaks, about what being in this group has meant to her. More silence. Then we are all shaking hands, introducing ourselves, talking, collecting the children, or going to the kitchen to start lunch. The spell has broken. My first Quaker Meeting for Worship is over.”
If you’ve already been to a Quaker Meeting, much of this will be familiar. You might have been indoors, or at a Meeting House, but maybe the emotional impact of that first experience was similar, and has stayed with you.
We consider our Business to be carried out in a place of deep connection with the divine as well, so those meetings are called Meeting for Worship for Business. Information about how we conduct business and how we are organized can be found in Quaker Structure and in Resources.