First time visitor?
A typical sequence of events during a Sunday Meeting for worship at Woking is as follows:
1. Meeting & greeting. Those arriving for Meeting are greeted by somebody at the entrance. Before the meeting starts, we go in through the glass doors on the right. These open into a room where people can be greeted without disturbing people who are already settling down or “gathering” into the silence in the meeting room.
About 10 minutes after the meeting starts, the “greeter” will close the glass doors and go in to join the meeting. If you arrive a bit later (or very much later!), don’t worry – you will still be very welcome. Just go in through the ordinary front door, and go (quietly) through the doors on the left into the meeting room.
2. Silent worship. An hour of silent worship commences at 10.30am (at Woking, we use an hourglass for timing). Occasionally, someone may feel inspired to say something that they hope will deepen and enrich the worship. Anyone is free to do this. People shake hands to mark the end of the worship.
3. Afterthoughts. As a group, we share any thoughts we may have, fairly informally, that we feel may be helpful, but perhaps felt a bit uncomfortable about sharing during the silent session. Afterthoughts may last up to roughly ten minutes.
4. Announcements. The clerk mentions forthcoming events and other news. This usually lasts about five minutes.
5. Tea/coffee & biscuits. Feel free to chat and ask questions!
You may find it easy to relax during silent worship and enter into the spirit of the meeting; or you may be unsettled by distractions outside, by your own thoughts or by the silence itself.
This is not a problem: we all find it difficult to settle at times. We can try, if only for brief periods, to be quiet in mind, body and spirit. We can patiently return again and again to the still centre of our being.
If you have something pressing on your mind, you can bring it to the meeting: it can be a time of insight, revelation, healing or calm.
Anyone is free to speak or read aloud should they feel led to share their personal experience and observations. Such ministry breaks the silence for the moment but does not interrupt it. We listen with an open mind to what is being said. Each contribution may help somebody, but our needs are different and can be met in different ways. If something does not speak to our condition or need, we try to reach the spirit behind the words.
Each of us brings our own life experience to the meeting. We may not necessarily feel any deep sense of connection to ‘the divine’, but may be content to hold an awareness that our experiences in life point beyond ourselves to a greater whole.
Friends do not pressurise anybody to join them: they leave people free to decide whether the Quaker way really is for them. Leaflets on various aspects of the Quaker way can be obtained free from our meeting house.
Meetings for worship are open to everyone: children are specifically welcomed.