We invite you to join us in our meeting for worship.
It is a period for worship together
both through expectant silence and through spoken words.
There is no human leader—and no prearranged program.
Each person who enters the meeting
helps to determine the depth of our worship as a group.
Our Manner of Worship
As you enter the meeting room, center down in silent prayer.
We believe that the Spirit of God dwells in the hearts of everyone. When we open the way and listen to God, an inner light will shine through our hearts. Sitting together quietly in worship, each of us seeks to have an immediate sense of this divine leading and to know at first hand the presence of the Spirit.
We listen to God inwardly and through spoken messages which may come from any who are led to speak from their inward listening. If there is speaking, it should come sincerely from the depth of life and of experience. Such a meeting for worship is always a high venture of faith, and it is to this venture that we invite you.
Worship closes with handclasps all around.
Worship is offering one's self to do God's will, entering into the deep promise of life. In Friends worship we do this by turning away, physically and mentally, from our own busy-ness and self-determination. Gathering together in silent prayer and meditation, we turn expectantly to God, seeking peace, strength, guidance, and a true understanding of ourselves. Sometimes this work of the Spirit is done in outward quiet for the full hour. Most often, some worshippers are led to speak in ministry to the gathered meeting.
Using a favorite New Testament image for Christ, Friends often speak of worship as turning to the Light. The Light shows us our faults and our promise. It warms us and strengthens us, calling us, like seeds to grow. It illumines the darkness and shows us our path ahead, direction for our lives. It dazzles us in beauty and wonder. It gathers us together around it.
Another way to think of silent worship is as a time for dialog with God, or simply as “thinking about things” in God's presence. In this inward conversation there is a place for work which in other congregations is done outwardly: bringing oneself before God, offering confession, asking forgiveness, giving praise, seeking healing, asking question, receiving guidance, entering communion.
At its deepest level, worship may become a wordless centering of oneself in the Spirit. Traditionally, friends have called this “waiting on the Lord,” an attitude of heart that brings with it patience, confidence, attention, and readiness to serve.
We believe that the Spirit may appoint anyone to minister to us. Every worshiper should be open to speak if God makes him or her a message-bearer. Outward eloquence is not necessary. We strive to listen tenderly and not be offended by mere differences in vocabulary. Not every message may be intended for every listener. Receive what is said openly; avoid debate; listen to hear how the Spirit may be ministering to you. Always seek the Spirit behind the words.
By worshiping together, we encourage each other. Whether silently or in spoken ministry we share the Light each of us had been given. Our goal is to become spiritual companions and co-workers, knit together to carry out God's life of love.
Basis of Fellowship
We find our unity in faithful living and in the Spirit, not in written creed. We practice no outward rites, finding that inward dedication and lives offered in service are the most effective means of opening ourselves to God's work within us.
Friends have always sought to call out and respond to the Light at work in all people. We may first find and speak of this Light in different ways: as Christ the inward teacher or savior, as God, or as the Spirit. Some experience it as love, some as the principle of creation, some as the illuminating power that allows us to see what is good and what is evil—no list will be complete. However the Light reaches us, all Friends share in an ever renewed search for Truth and a commitment to find it and live it together.
Many Friends meetings, including 57th Street Meeting, welcome into membership people who feel the Light working in their lives, though may not identify this Light with Christ. Our meeting is a member of two yearly meetings
(larger groupings of Friends), one of which has participated in this movement of welcoming into membership those who may not identify this Light with Christ and one of which has continued to find its unity in affirming faith in God's work through Jesus Christ.
57th Street Meeting of Friends is a place for followers of Jesus and for all who seek a life of truth and love based on an inward experience of the Spirit.
Additional information on the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
: Quaker Information Center hosted by the Friends Center in Philadelphia.
: A list of links to a wide spectrum of Quaker-related sites.