Welcome to Friends Meeting at Haddonfield!
We are a community of about 200 active members of diverse ages, ethnicities and walks of life and from many different spiritual backgrounds. We offer silent Meeting for Worship every Sunday, or First Day, from 10:00 to 11:00 am. Child care is available during worship.
If this is your first experience at a Quaker meeting, you will immediately notice that worship is very different from religious services that are led by members of the clergy. Newcomers may find silent worship confusing or challenging. You are not alone: Even longtime friends sometimes have difficulty releasing themselves from the busy-ness of their daily lives.
We worship in silence, waiting, listening for God’s guidance, aspiring to connect with the Inner Light. Sometimes a worshiper is moved to stand and speak an impromptu message that he/she feels is divinely inspired, returning afterward to reflection and seeking.
God, Christ Spirit, Light, Inward Teacher; however we name that “still, small voice,” the Divine is within each of us. Expectant waiting to hear this inward voice is at the heart of Quaker meeting for worship.
After the meeting has settled into silence and we have collectively begun to listen to that still small voice, someone may be led to rise and speak, moved by prayer and a Spirit-given insight. Before offering vocal ministry, please consider the following:
- Is the message directed to me alone or is it truly meant to be shared with the other worshipers?
- Will the message deepen worship?
- Will I be speaking from my own, deeply felt, inward experience of the Light?
- (if someone else has already spoken) Have I given the meeting sufficient time, perhaps several minutes, to return to silent worship before speaking? Experience has taught us that worshipers need silence between messages in order to allow those messages to be taken deeply into worship.
A message may be offered in ways that do not speak to us personally, although it may be profoundly meaningful to another. We are called, therefore, to listen not to the words alone but to the Spirit behind the words.
A Quaker meeting for worship generally lasts for one hour and ends with a handshake started by a person previously designated to have “care of the meeting.” Friends then shake hands with their neighbors, after which one member usually rises and extends greetings and makes announcements. It is also a time when we encourage visitors to introduce themselves to the community and to join us for coffee and fellowship. Following many meetings for worship, we have First Day School (equivalent to Sunday School), which often features a discussion or exploration of a topic that promotes reflection.
We hope you will take the opportunity to meet other worshipers and to learn more about the Religious Society of Friends and Friends Meeting at Haddonfield. We look forward to greeting you at the rise of meeting (the end of meeting for worship).