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What to expect in Meeting for Worship
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Please contact us at (507) 452-0803.

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Winona Friends Meeting (Preparative)
(Religious Society of Friends),
Winona, MN

What to expect at Meeting for Worship

Attending for the first time:

Everyone's experience of meeting for worship is different, and each meeting is different, so it's difficult to tell a newcomer what to expect. Some Meetings for Worship remain completely silent; more often a member or members of the Meeting will feel called by the Spirit to speak. Those who minister in this fashion should speak directly and simply, taking care to leave intervening spaces of silence between messages so that fellow worshippers have an opportunity to take in what has been said. Listening and remaining open to the presence of God in the Meeting can be a challenge, perhaps particularly so for newcomers unaccustomed to Quaker practice. Here is how Caroline E. Stephen, a Friend in England in the late 1800's, described one meeting for worship in her book, Quaker Strongholds:

    "On one never-to-be-forgotten Sunday morning, I found myself one of a small company of silent worshippers, who were content to sit down together without words, that each one might feel after and draw near to the Divine Presence, unhindered at least, if not helped, by any human utterance. Utterance I knew was free, should the words be given; and before the meeting was over, a sentence or two were uttered in great simplicity by an old and apparently untaught man, rising in his place amongst the rest of us. I did not pay much attention to the words he spoke, and I have no recollection of their import. My whole soul was filled with the unutterable peace of the undisturbed opportunity for communion with God, with the sense that at last I had found a place where I might, without the faintest suspicion of insincerity, join with others in simply seeking His presence. To sit down in silence could at least pledge me to nothing; it might open to me (as it did that morning) the very gate of heaven."

And then?

After about an hour, a Friend will rise, signalling the end of Meeting. Everyone will rise and greet each other. At this time if there are any visitors, we will all introduce ourselves. Announcements will be made. We are then invited to join the Winona Unitarian Universalists for light refreshments in the North Lounge of Lourdes Hall.

If you find yourself drawn to Meeting, you may find that you've become a "regular attender," someone who is beginning to feel a part of the life of the Meeting. At that point you might want to consider participating in the wider life of the Meeting, either though religious education, committee work, or through attending Meeting for worship with an attention to business, which takes place on the 1st Sunday of each month between September and June and begins at 9:00 am.

Visitors and attenders are welcome to observe Meeting for business; those considering membership are strongly encouraged to do so, and anyone who is attending Meeting for business for the first time is advised to check in with the clerk so that they may be introduced.

Parts are excerpted from Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting web page at on Feb 19, 1999

Revised 4/26/2014 vl