Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations against another; but praying one for another and helping one another up with a tender hand.
— Isaac Penington, 1667
Boulder Friends gather for unprogrammed silent worship in the Quaker tradition, without a program or pastor. We gather in silence to draw near to God. Through quiet waiting or prayer, we seek inspiration, comfort, and Divine guidance for daily living. Listening and seeking are important parts of our corporate worship. The Inner Light – rather than a creed, a sacred book or the authority of a priesthood – is our spiritual guide as we strive to live our daily lives in obedience to the Holy Spirit. Friends do not practice sacraments such as communion or baptism or use symbols such as a cross. Our Judeo-Christian roots have been enriched by the wisdom found in many religious traditions.
A Quaker meeting is grounded in silence and expectant waiting. We seek to come nearer to one another and to God. You may find it easy to relax in the silence and thus connect with the spiritual center we find in worship together, or you may be disturbed by the strangeness of the silence, by distractions outside, or by your own roving thoughts. Don’t worry about this but return again and again to the still center of your being where you can know the presence of God.
Recognizing that each person present possesses a part of the truth, or God’s wisdom, we trust in the silence to bring forth ministry. During some Meetings for Worship the ministry is entirely silent. At others a few worshipers may be inspired to offer vocal ministry. Anyone may speak. However, before rising we ask ourselves, “Is this a divinely inspired message? Is it meant for me alone or is it to be spoken aloud?” In vocal ministry we speak out of our experience, in a spirit of humble reflection. Receive what is said with an accepting, open spirit. Each contribution rightly given will help somebody. If something is said that does not “speak to your condition,” try to reach the spirit behind the words. A period of silence should surround each spoken message to allow time for reflection. Spoken ministry is not discussion or education, but rather vocal expression of the divine in our lives.
Worship with a Focus
Worship Sharing is a small-group experience that deepens interpersonal relations in the community. Usually it focuses on a particular question, helping us to explore our own experience and share with each other more deeply than we would in normal conversation.
Worshipful Decision Making in Business Meetings
Decision making in the manner of Friends is a spiritual process, centered in the belief that God is present, available to the meeting through each of its members. Our monthly business meeting may be called by several names (e.g. “Meeting for Business in the Spirit of Worship” or “Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business”) because it is conducted in an atmosphere of worship with openness to the leading of the Spirit. Whether in large gatherings or small committee meetings, leaders and participants are encouraged to create an atmosphere of worship, tenderness, and deep listening. Meetings begin and end with times of silent worship. See Decision Making in a Friends Meeting for a description of the practice.
Other Quaker Topics
Quaker organizations, publications and issues: See Quaker Links
Quaker beliefs, practices, and organization in the United States: See Quaker Information Center