Join us for worship:
Sunday School: 9:00 am September through May
Meeting for Worship: 10:15 am
Monday Meditational Worship: 12:15 pm
Wednesday Unprogrammed Worship: 7:00pm
Worship at First Friends
First Friends Meeting is unique in that persons can find both experiences of Meeting for Worship here… 'unprogrammed', and 'semi-programmed'. Early Friends would gather each Sunday morning at their Meetinghouses, ready to listen to God through the movement of God’s Spirit in and through the people gathered there. As the Holy Spirit urged them to, Friends would speak out of the silence, sharing the teachings of Christ, their 'Inward Teacher'. This was 'unprogrammed' worship.
Once the pastoral ministry was introduced to Quakers in the late 1800’s their worship experience changed greatly. Hymn singing, sermons, scripture reading, etc became part of the worship services in Friends meetings, just as they were in many other faith communities. Friends Meetings like ours still maintained the importance of listening to God in silence, and a portion of our service is opened for just this kind of centered meditation, reflection and teaching through the work of God's Spirit. This is 'semi-programmed' worship.
We welcome you to come and worship with us, discovering the experience that meets your worship needs most clearly.
What to expect
Here is an example of what a typical Meeting for Worship would be like on Sunday morning at 10:15.
- Nursery for Infants and Toddlers is provided each Sunday morning. Children’s Worship is a part of our Worship experience for children, age 3 through Grade 5.
- Opening Hymn
- Welcome and Centering Meditation
- Choral Anthem or Special Music
- Children’s Message; children may leave after this for their own Children’s Worship experience
- Scripture Reading
- Morning Message
- Unprogrammed Worship after the Manner of Friends
- Closing Hymn
- Benediction and Rise of Meeting
On Monday afternoons at 12:15 pm and Wednesday evenings at 7:00 pm, we host Unprogrammed Meeting for Worship. You are welcome to join these small group experiences, where concerns are shared and worshippers settle into a silent, expectant, meditative hour of worship. As God directs, persons speak under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is a loving, friendly and congenial time spent together in worship. Monday's Unprogrammed service closes at 1:00 pm followed by fifteen minutes or so for conversation. Bag lunches and beverages are welcome at that time.
Frequently asked questions
CAN ANYONE VISIT A QUAKER MEETING?
- Absolutely. More than 60 percent of the First Friends community arrived at a Quaker meeting first as a visitor. In other words, most of us were not raised in the Friends’ tradition but found our way to Quakerism as adults. You will be warmly welcomed!
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
- As with most things at First Friends, we’re diverse. You will see some folk in shorts and flip flops and some in ties or dresses, so come as you feel most comfortable.
WHAT ABOUT MY KIDS?
- Your children are welcome to stay with you throughout the worship time. We love having young ones with us during meeting. If your child is under the age of 3, there is a nursery available with staffed experienced workers. Feel free to ask an usher or someone sitting close to you how to find the nursery.
IS THERE AN OFFERING?
- Yes. About 20 minutes into the hour, an offering is collected. We do not expect visitors to contribute although gifts are always welcome. If the plate comes to you – feel free to just pass it on.
WILL I HAVE TO INTRODUCE MYSELF?
- No, you will not be singled out. You will simply be part of our community as we worship God. You will be invited to fill out our attendance sheet or the visitors book. This gives us an opportunity to learn your name and how it is that you happened our way. You can also request getting on our e-newsletter list or ask for a call from one of our pastors or elders.
WHERE DO I PARK? CAN I FIND MY WAY AROUND?
- Handicap and guest parking is available on the east side of the building, and the main parking is on the north side of the building. If visiting throughout the week, please use the east door by the mailbox and ring the bell if locked. For the 10:15am Meeting for Worship, both the north and east doors will be open and there will be greeters to welcome you.
WHAT ABOUT COMMUNION?
- Quaker faith and practice are built upon our personal experiences and shared convictions, rather than doctrinal creeds. We understand baptism and communion to be primarily inward, spiritual realities, rather than outward rites. Our time of silence and open worship (typically 15-20 minutes) is often identified as “communion in the manner of Friends”.
What about Silence, Symbols, and Sacraments?
As Quakers, we honor our traditional values, established philosophies, historical legacies, Biblical heritage and Christian faith. However, it is God’s presence which truly distinguishes our priorities. Silent Worship allows us to gather in waiting for a great occurrence, no less than to realize the Divine Presence and to create an atmosphere in which that Presence and Power can touch us into fuller life.
- Silence is an important element in Quaker worship. A key element of Quaker worship is time to wait upon the spirit in stillness, allowing us to communicate with the Living Christ, in Inner Light, unhampered by activity and noise, to feel that Presence in the midst of the gathered meeting.
- Because Quakers believe that the Living Christ is truly present and directly available, we hold that outward and visible signs are unnecessary. For this reason, the meeting room is simple and plain, unadorned by religious symbols.
- A sacrament, like a symbol, points to a reality beyond itself. Persuaded that God is an abiding and living presence, Friends believe that any meal can be a holy communion, and every day is an immersion in God’s love. If communion with or baptism by the Spirit is real, then the outward forms pointing to this reality are unnecessary. Friends know experientially the real presence of God, without the elements of bread and wine. Becoming a member of Christ’s Body requires not a rite, but an inward transformation.
Many people recognize Quaker testimonies as SPICES... Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship of the Earth.
- Simplicity: Going to the heart of the matter; to look beyond the outward to the inward.
- Peace: Renouncing war and violence, and nurturing love and respect for others.
- Integrity: Being authentic and consistent, letting your life speak in truth, both in word and action.
- Community: Drawing wisdom from a gathered community, being nurtured and nurturing others.
- Equality: Finding 'that of God' in every person, and God's Spirit made known through each one.
- Stewardship: Taking all that we're given and caring for it wisely, saving, sharing, and conserving.