Friends in the unprogrammed Quaker tradition worship together in silence, expectantly waiting on the Spirit. We have no designated minister, believing that every person has direct experience of the Spirit. We minister to each other through both silence and spoken (and sometimes sung) messages, without use of hymns or rituals.
During worship, we seek the still center and to let ourselves be quiet in body, mind and soul. We let distracting thoughts pass as we seek the Inner Light and the still small voice within to guide us.
A call to vocal ministry may come to any worshiper – young or old, attender or member. Many Friends experience a sense of urgency when called to speak, a sense of a leading which must be followed, and a sense of peace when a message has been faithfully delivered. Whether one is moved to speak or to remain silent, what matters for the meeting is that everyone be sensitive to and guided by the Inner Prompting.
Once someone has stood to share a message, it is important to let it settle into the silence for a while. On occasion, a meeting for worship can pass without anyone speaking at all but with a deep sense of the presence of the Spirit.
Friends are urged to lead their children in the habits of regular and orderly attendance at meeting for worship. A vocal message from a child or a young person may be very helpful to the meeting.
The meeting for worship closes when a designated person in the meeting shakes hands with another, and everyone else shakes hands with those nearby. This generally occurs near the appointed time or when the spirit of the meeting seems to indicate that the time to close has come.