What to expect at a Quaker Meeting
Like many of the Quaker Meetings on the East Coast, RFM is an "unprogrammed Meeting," meaning we worship in silence. You have just come into a room of silent people. This is the way Quaker meeting starts. Out of this silence individuals may speak briefly, as they feel moved to do so, always leaving a period of silence between messages. Normally a person will not speak more than once. Occasionally, an entire meeting is silent.
At noon, a member of Ministry and Oversight Committee will break the meeting by shaking hands with those around them. "Afterthoughts" follow during which people may express that which was not quite ready to come out during the meeting for worship itself. Afterthoughts are less formal but is still a worshipful period not a discussion group. Then comes the reading of an "advice" or "Query" from one of the many Quaker books of Faith and Practice. And finally there is a time for general announcements. All are invited to stay for potluck lunch, which is held every week except the second Sunday of the month.
How do Quakers Worship?
Friends believe that we are all ministers with the capacity to be in touch with that of God in ourselves and others. In the meeting for worship we sit together in silence so that we can listen for the Spirit within and be guided by it. The only ministers are ourslves, who speak out of the silence to share the Truth as we have experienced it.
We come to worship for many reasons. Sometimes we come to discern what we need to do in our daily lives - in our family, our vocation, our community and to have the power to carry this out. Sometimes we come for the healing and forgiveness and renewal. Sometimes we come to express our thanks for life itself, in all its complexity, its joys and its pains.
And we do not come alone to meeting, for we sit down with others united in the belief that God can speak to our lives today. At the first level, then, our community is members and attenders of Rockland Friends Meeting (RFM), who worship together in this small and loving circle for mutual inspiration, support, and challenge. But as our faith grows, we experience ourselves as part of an ever-widening circle, to include our neighborhood, our town, our nation, the world. We have the responsibility to look for that of God not only within ourselves and our family. but within the stranger and "enemy" as well.