Shells

For Newcomers

Two people sitting outside

Welcome

People worshiping under trees

Worship

YouTube image woman talking

Videos

3 young adults

FAQs

Welcome

You are welcome at any of our Meetings and Worship Groups! We are a mix of newcomers and longtime members, with people of various faith backgrounds, gender identities and orientations.

We gather for unprogrammed worship and spiritual renewal, and advocate for peace, social justice, and the earth.

At the heart of the Quaker faith is the experience of an inner source of spiritual connection, renewal, and guidance that is present in all people, regardless of religion or culture. We have no dogma or statements of belief. Learn more>

Find a Meeting or Worship Group near you.

Two people sitting outside

Worship

People worshiping under trees

An unprogrammed Quaker Meeting for Worship is grounded in silence, a space where we can listen deeply for what is in our hearts and seek inner guidance. There is no program, sermon, or ritual.

Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, to which we may continuously return. ~Thomas Kelly

Worship begins as we quietly take our seats and ‘center down’ in silence, letting go of the busy thoughts that usually fill our attention. Some thoughts that arise are distractions that can be set aside. Other thoughts, questions, or feelings arise from a deeper source, opening our hearts to new insights.

Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts.
~Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Advices 1694

In the stillness, we can reawaken to a sense of awe and gratitude. We can feel our connection to others and to the spiritual dimension of our experience. As we listen for guidance, we may come to see our lives and our relationships in new, more compassionate ways.

Sometimes someone feels led to stand and share a message with the group. These short, spoken phrases or stories are not an intellectual exercise, but are meant to arise from leadings of the Spirit. We listen with open minds, then return to the silence without responding.

Whether the meeting has spoken messages or is completely silent, in the depth of the stillness we experience connection with the group, and with the mystery we may call Spirit, the Light, the Divine, or God. Though each of us may use different language or names for the experience of the Sacred, we are united in finding spiritual renewal, guidance, and support in our worship together as a community.

Meeting closes after about an hour when an assigned person senses that worship has drawn to an end. They shake hands with their neighbor, then we all shake hands and greet each other.

Videos

Q uakerSpeak produces short videos on a broad range of topics of interest to Friends. They have curated a collection called Quaker Basics: Videos for Newcomers

What to Expect in Quaker Meeting for Worship

What Do Quakers Do in Silent Worship?

My First Time At Quaker Meeting

The Challenge of Sitting in Silence

Giving Vocal Ministry

When to Speak in Quaker Worship

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can anyone attend a Quaker Meeting?

Yes! All are welcome to attend Quaker meetings for worship. We are a mix of people of all ages, religious backgrounds, races and ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and classes.

What should I wear to meeting?

Dress comfortably! We wear everyday clothes to meeting.

Are you called “Quakers,” or "Friends"?

We use the names “Friend” and “Quaker” interchangeably.

The term “Friends” was taken by the leaders of the early Quaker movement to reflect Jesus’ words in John 15:15: “I do not call you servants any longer, because the servants do not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” Since 1793, we have been formally known as the Religious Society of Friends.

The name “Quaker” arose as a nickname used to ridicule this new religious group when it emerged in 17th-century England, taken from the observation that some Friends physically trembled when experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit. The name was so widely recognized that Friends began using it themselves.

Is unprogrammed worship meditation?

Unprogrammed Quaker worship has some similarities to meditation, such as the use of silence for letting go of busy thoughts and desires in order to ‘center down,’ but there are also some fundamental differences. Quaker worship is often called waiting worship; we center down deeper in our mind hearts and minds in order to be open to the Spirit, the Light, the divine, however each of us may understand it. We are attentively listening for guidance or messages arising from within.

See the video, Is Quaker Worship Meditation?

Are Quakers Christian?

Among Liberal Quakers today, you will find those who identify as Christian, and those who do not. Many follow the teachings of Jesus, but do not call themselves Christian. Friends find wisdom and guidance in the biblical narrative, but also draw spiritual sustenance from other religious sources. Our unity in our identity as Quakers does not come from a shared belief system, but rather from the shared experience of a dynamic spiritual presence at work within us as individuals and as a community.

The Quaker faith arose in the 17th century as a form of Christianity radically different from Protestant and Catholic denominations. The Early Friends’ message, still vital today, was that there is that of God in every person, and that faith is found in the individual’s direct experience of this Inward Light. They rejected the need for any intermediaries or authorities standing between the individual and God — such as creedal statements of belief, rituals, and clergy. They saw the Christian message as being universal — the Light is in everyone, regardless of religion or culture.

“In contrast with early Friends, not all Friends today consider themselves to be Christians or even theists. Friends come from very diverse religious backgrounds and experiences and apply their different perspectives as they encounter the Light Within.”

~Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Faith & Practice

Learn more

Are Quakers Christian? This QuakerSpeak video interviews Christian and non-Christian Friends.

What do Friends think about science?

We find that our faith is completely compatible with the study of the natural world. Many Quakers are scientists.

3 young adults

Find Quakers

For Newcomers

Our Faith

About SEYM

Membership

Find a Meeting

Find Quakers

Four people at outdoor fair

For Newcomers

Outdoor Meeting for Worship

Our Faith

A collage of many people

About SEYM

Membership Menu — Two Women

Membership

Peace & Justice

Becoming-Anti-Racist

Earthcare

Worship & Ministry

LGBTQ Allyship

Find a Meeting

Peace & Justice

Anti-Racism Hands

Becoming Anti-Racist

Two sets of hands holding a small plant sprout in soil

Earthcare

Three people in silent waiting worship

Worship & Ministry

Woman holding sign saying "Quakers Embrace Everyone"

LGBTQ Allyship

Youth

Young Adults

Child Safety

Youth Resources

Youth Program

We welcome young people’s presence as vital to the depth of spiritual and community life of Southeastern Yearly Meeting as a whole.
Three young people outside

Youth

Young Adults

Young Adults

Children and adult leaders on a bridge

Child Safety

Three young people outside

Youth Resources

Spiritual Life Resources

Publications

Queries & Advices

Safe Community

Archives & Documents

Small flower

Spiritual Life Resources

Cover of Southeastern Yearly Meeting's Faith & Practice

Publications

Candle

Queries & Advices

Hand holding a felt heart

Safe Community

Stack of papers folders

Archives & Documents

Upcoming Events

SEYM Gathering

Half Yearly Meeting

Michener Lecture

Online Worship

Group gathered outside meetinghouse

Upcoming Events

Group photo Southeastern Yearly Meeting 2014

SEYM Gathering

Pine trees on lakeshore

Half Yearly Meeting

Man speaking

Michener Lecture

Zoom screen

Online Worship

Contact Us