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Quaker Worship

What happens in Meeting for Worship?

A Meeting for Worship usually lasts for an hour. First, we gather in Silence to quieten our minds – we do not have set hymns, prayers or sermons. In Quaker Worship there are no ministers or creeds.

In the Stillness we wait and open our hearts to new insights and guidance. This may seem odd at first for someone new to Meeting, but the Silence is supportive and restorative and invites a new way of thinking.

Sometimes someone will be moved to share what they have discovered in that Silence and they will stand and speak then sit without response from those gathered, who think on what has been offered. We call this “Ministry”. We listen to what everyone has to say and in doing so we may find a meaning. Anyone can give Ministry, including visitors.

What happens in the Stillness?

In the quiet we look for a sense of connection. This might be a connection with those around us, with our deepest selves, or perhaps with what we identify as God. As we feel this sense of encounter grow stronger, we may begin to see the world and our relationships in a new way. Our Worship may take us beyond our own thoughts and ideas to help us respond more creatively to the world around us.

What to expect

At Ilkley, our Meeting House is normally open from 10:15 AM on Sundays, and you will be greeted at the door by one of the Friends. The Meeting lasts for an hour and is then followed by a brief reflection for a couple of minutes. Notices are then read and that week’s supported charity introduced.

Afterwards we gather for a social period, when everyone is invited to coffee or tea, and chat. This takes place in the two rooms, or outside in our beautiful garden when the weather is fine. You may also take some time to review the resources available on all aspects of Quakerism, or to browse our eclectic library.

Our Zoom Meeting runs alongside this and is blended so that we are all together. The online Meeting Room is also generally open from 10:15 AM, and closes after the physical Meeting and Notices. Zoom is available as a free app for most smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs. Contact us for the Zoom link.

I’m new to Quaker Meeting, an hour sounds like a long time

If you are new to Quaker Meeting the thought of committing to an hour sitting in a room, largely in silence, with a group of people you don’t know might sound a bit strange, a long time, and even anxiety provoking. For most people the hour passes more quickly than they expect and the silence is rarely silent.

Quaker meetings are very welcoming and we want everyone to feel comfortable. If you are concerned at the prospect of being in the room for an hour then find a seat close to the door, its fine to go out for a bit if you need to. It may help to discuss any concerns with the Friend who greets you at the door when you arrive.

We also run Quaker Quest sessions from time to time where people can find out a bit more about us. As part of those sessions we run shorter Meetings for Worship to experience it without committing to the full hour. If you are interested in finding out when such sessions are running please contact us. You may also wish to join a meeting via Zoom to see how it all works.

More about Quakers for newcomers

Can children come to Quaker Meeting?

Children are usually very welcome at Ilkley Meeting. Due to COVID we have stopped our regular children’s meeting, but we hope to restart this in the near future. If you are planning to bring a child to meeting please contact us.

We look forward to meeting you!

“I found a real welcome at Ilkley Quakers. I felt accepted just as I was, not judged or needing to be or do anything special”

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