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The core of Quaker "meditation" was to sit and listen in Silence and to speak only if led by the Light.

So, if I attend a Quaker Meeting, I follow their rules, which have also stood the test of time, and in so doing I usually learn something valuble  and meet someone who is really interesting.

 

‚ėģÔłŹ

 

 

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If you attend a Quaker Meeting in the UK, you will often find people reading during the meeting and in every meeting room you will find copies of a small (6" x 4") red 24-page booklet, Advices & Queries that is made freely available to attendees (in case they've forgotten to bring their own reading material ūüėä).

 

Sometimes, during a meeting, attendees will feel called to stand and read aloud a part of it or other prose or poetry that they feel called to share.

 

For example.

 

Quote

[...]

 

Advices and queries are not a call to increased activity by each individual Friend but a reminder of the insights of the Society. Within the community there is a diversity of gifts. We are all therefore asked to consider how far the advices and queries affect us personally and where our own service lies. There will also be diversity of experience, of belief and of language. Friends maintain that expressions of faith must be related to personal experience. Some find traditional Christian language full of meaning; some do not. Our understanding of our own religious tradition may sometimes be enhanced by insights of other faiths. The deeper realities of our faith are beyond precise verbal formulation and our way of worship based on silent waiting testifies to this.

 

Our diversity invites us both to speak what we know to be true in our lives and to learn from others. Friends are encouraged to listen to each other in humility and understanding, trusting in the Spirit that goes beyond our human effort and comprehension. So it is for the comfort and discomfort of Friends that these advices and queries are offered, with the hope that we may all be more faithful and find deeper joy in God’s service.

 

Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by, but that all, with the measure of light which is pure and holy, may be guided; and so in the light walking and abiding, these may be fulfilled in the Spirit, not from the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.

 

Postscript to an epistle to ‚Äėthe brethren in the north‚Äô issued by a meeting of elders at Balby, 1656

 

~ Advices and Queries. p3,4 ~

 

 

‚ėģ

 

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I kinda hope an opportunity to experience a Quaker Meeting comes my way one day.  

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The British Yearly Meeting is one of the more Liberal gatherings out there. Whilst still nominally Christian, there have been strong indications that at some stage in the near future all references to Jesus and Christianity may be removed from the Faith and Practice book, which is a summary of Quaker statements used as a guidebook for the community. That said, there is ample room and space given in the silence (and hearts of members and attenders) for both a Christian understanding of the Light (perhaps more consistent with the original message of George Fox), as well as newer, emergent non-Christian theistic or atheistic understandings that have increasingly been discovered to be held by Friends. For this reason, it would perhaps be quite different to many of the Conservative Quaker Meetings or Evangelical Quaker Churches that are also present in the more religiously diverse Quaker milieu of the US (and indeed more particularly Kenya- which has the highest number and concentration of Quakers of any country, but where Quakerism is usually expressed in a profoundly Evangelical Christian understanding and utilising programmed worship- ie a fairly standard evangelical church service).

 

So for anyone interested in experiencing a Quaker meeting, just know that there are various streams. Someone rebelling against Abrahamaic religion may be uncomfortable in a church or find it off-putting when silence is broken to an exclamation that Jesus is Lord and King of Kings, the Good Shephard who enters the hearts of the faithful during the meeting. Similarly those of a more traditional christian perspective may find it difficult if someone else stands up and says that in the silence they were liberated from the need for an archaic concept of Godhead and it's attributed stern scriptural compositions of men. 

However, usually meetings are nowhere near as polarised as the above, and you'll instead find a lovely bunch of Friends.

 

Thats my experience anyway.

Edited by Awen
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Wise and useful words. ūüôŹ

 

Good to meet another Friend. ūü§ĚūüŹĽ

 

‚ėģ

 

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On 18/02/2021 at 10:08 PM, thelerner said:

I kinda hope an opportunity to experience a Quaker Meeting comes my way one day.  

 

There's nothing to stop you from gathering a few of your like-minded friends together and setting up your own meetings, especially because you might stuggle to find one that works as originally intended, as @Awen has illustrated above.

Happy to discuss the pactical details here if you're interested (and I feel led to do that later anyway ūüėä).

 

‚ėģ

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4 hours ago, Daemon said:

 

There's nothing to stop you from gathering a few of your like-minded friends together and setting up your own meetings, especially because you might stuggle to find one that works as originally intended, as @Awen has illustrated above.

Happy to discuss the pactical details here if you're interested (and I feel led to do that later anyway ūüėä).

 

‚ėģ

I'd a be a poor advocate since I don't know what they are and I'm not Christian.  Though odds are one day, I'll wander into one and see what it's like.  Just like I wander into Buddhist temples, Protestant and Catholic Churches.  I'm not looking for change, just soaking up the atmosphere and what's useful. 

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12 hours ago, thelerner said:

I'd a be a poor advocate since I don't know what they are and I'm not Christian

Interestingly, there's nothing to convert to or advocate per se- just as there isn't in a group mindfulness session.

 

"A leading" is an irresistible, internal impulse that pulls you to do, say or realise something- the rest of the time you're sitting waiting for it. Friends who see value in the meeting do not convert- they simply become "convinced" of its value and seek to become a member. Some Friends never join and thats just fine too.

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actually looks like there are regular Quaker meetings not too far in Evanston Sundays 10 to 11 <currently done on Zoom>.  This Spring, maybe late in Spring when Covid' s a little less I'll get the chance to experience one. 

fwiw https://www.fgcquaker.org/cloud/evanston-friends-meetinghttps://www.fgcquaker.org/cloud/evanston-friends-meeting

Edited by thelerner
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