Monthly Meetings

Quakers-in-worship-Lancaster-MM-website-2011“How does a Quaker Meeting work? Its foundation is the conviction that God is not a distant remote being but a living presence to be discovered in the deep centre of every human being….

The Quaker experience is that, in the silence, as we are open to one another in love, we help each other by sharing our strengths and weaknesses. The Quaker conviction is that as we go deeper into ourselves we shall eventually reach a still, quiet centre. At this point two things happen simultaneously. Each of us is aware of our unique value as an individual human being, and each of us is aware of our utter interdependence on one another.”

George Gorman, 1982, Faith and Practice, PYM 2002
(Read more extracts on Worship in Faith and Practice)

About our Monthly Meetings:

The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting faith community  is comprised of over one hundred local Meeting communities in Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, all of Delaware and Eastern Maryland. We practice “unprogrammed” Quaker worship. That is, we gather together in silent worship to wait upon the word of God.  We do not make use of a paid clergy or sacramental rituals.  Many Friends give their time and resources to promote peace, understanding, justice and integrity as expressions of their faith.

Meetings for worship are held by local congregations in local meeting houses.   Local congregations typically hold meetings for worship weekly on Sunday mornings.  Some meetings also hold worship services mid-week and at other times.

All people are invited and welcome to explore, attend and participate in the life of the meeting, regardless of age, gender, socio-economic situation or other “walk of life.”   Everyone is warmly received and genuinely welcome in our local meetings. You may be surprised at the diversity of seekers, attenders and members in a Quaker meeting!

Members of a Quaker meeting comprise the smallest organizational unit in the Religious Society of Friends, called the meeting.   The meeting is also known as a “Monthly Meeting” because they normally hold one meeting for business each month to discuss and consider issues in the life of the meeting including spiritual matters, community interests, work of committees, finances, property, etc.  There are usually a number of committees that bring forward recommendations and take care of work that the Meeting is undertaking.  A unique aspect of the conduct of Quaker “business” is that it is done with attention to discernment of the divine spirit and loving concern for the community of seekers that comprise the meeting and the world. Quaker decision-making is a unique process called “Sense of the Meeting” that incorporates openness to God’s divine guidance, attention to the discernment of truth and loving care for one another. Truth may be found in many places, some naturally evident and others hidden unless we are open to the hidden revelation that may come from anyone. Sense of the Meeting (also called Unity) is arrived at through this process, not through secular processes such as consensus, unanimity, directives or by vote.

Members of monthly meetings are also members of the local quarterly meeting (a group of monthly meetings that are geographically close to one another) and of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.