Re-Introducing Quaker Unprogrammed Worship

“Meeting for Worship” by Veronica

“Be still, and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10

The Meeting for Worship has always been very special at Silverton Friends Church. From its earliest days as a gathered meeting, SFC has provided an emphasis on quality worship leading and solid teaching each Sunday morning.  Recently, as we have been returning to our Quaker roots, we have been discerning and experiencing a heightened need for new expressions of worship among our community (both at SFC and in the city of Silverton). For a couple years now, the elders have considered and sought God’s will and guidance on how to introduce new opportunities for worship in the manner of Friends.

This fall, the elders and I decided to offer a “new” option for worship at SFC. I say “new,” but in reality it is the form of worship nearest to that of the early Friends. Sadly, many American Quakers have never experienced Unprogrammed Worship. The main reason for this lack of experience is that our American religious culture considers music and the sermon key aspects of most Sunday worship.

The Meeting for Worship in an unprogrammed setting offers a unique way for a group of people to be present with God. Each meeting could be considered an adventure and for beginners a real challenge.  As elders, our hope is that those who choose to attend the unprogrammed meeting for worship find a deeper awareness of what Friends for three hundred years have experienced in being still and knowing God is now present in and among us.

For many, sitting still and in silence for long periods of time is very difficult, especially in our fast-paced world. That is why worship in any form is considered a spiritual discipline. Also, since there is no program, no prepared prayers, sermons, or musical selections, a chosen facilitator from SFC will begin our first few unprogrammed meetings with a poem, appropriate Scripture, or thought/quote to help “center down” those not as familiar.  Our hope is that the gathered will listen as attentively as they can for leadings of the Spirit. If a leading comes, we pray that they will speak the message into the silence – making for a completely different experience of listening and hearing from the Present Christ in our community.

If you are interested, or have never experienced Unprogrammed Worship in the manner of Friends, I would invite you to join us every other Sunday morning in the *new* green room (a.k.a. Sheldon Lesire’s office or the former school library).  I have also put together a one page explanation of Unprogrammed Worship for those interested in learning about it prior to coming (contact me by email for a copy).

November opportunities for unprogrammed worship: November 13th & 27th @ 9:30am.

Grace and peace, Pastor Bob+

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