“When we are driven into the depths of our own being, or seek them of our own will … in the depths there is something eternal and infinite in which our existence and indeed all existence is grounded. The experience of the depth of existence fills us with a sense both of reverence and of responsibility, which gives even to our finite lives a meaning and a power which they do not possess in themselves. This I am assured, is our human experience of God.” (John MacMurray, 1967)
“If you live in the Spirit you live from the center within you. In worship we search for the Center in ourselves and in one another ‘from whence come our help.'” (Pacific Yearly Meeting 1954)
We warmly welcome you to Milwaukee Friends Meeting. We hope you will feel at home here. Please feel free, after the worship, to ask any questions you may have about the meeting or about Quakerism.
If you have never before attended an unprogrammed Friends (Quaker) meeting for worship, your first meeting may surprise you.*
While all Quakers meet in worship to hear more clearly God’s “still small voice” (1 Kings 10:12), Friends in the unprogrammed Quaker tradition base our worship entirely on expectant waiting. We take the Psalmist’s advice literally: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).*
We meet in plain, unadorned rooms because we have found that, in such places, we are less distracted from hearing that still small voice. There are no pulpits in our meeting rooms because we minister to each other. Our benches or chairs face each other because we are all equal before God. We have no prearranged prayers, readings, sermons, hymns, or musical orchestrations because we wait for God’s leadings (guidance and direction) and powers in all our lives.*
Sharing a Message
Occasionally, during meeting for worship, someone is moved to speak out of the silence. Following a spoken message, we return to the silence to examine ourselves in the Light of that message. Although Friends value spoken messages which come from the heart and are prompted by the Spirit of God, we also value the silence and find that expectant worship may bring profound leadings. Friends have found that some leadings are for sharing immediately, some are for sharing on another occasion, and some are for our personal reflection.
Often as we wait together expectantly, we feel a heightened and vital connectedness and unity, and may feel we are “gathered” or are “one in the Spirit”. The meeting ends when one Friend, designated in advance, shakes hands with his or her neighbors. Then everyone shakes hands. No two meetings are ever the same.
In Milwaukee Meeting our Sunday schedule begins with a period of singing, after which we settle into a silent Meeting for Worship. Simultaneously, the children have religious education programs (First Day School) during the school year and supervised activities in the summer months. The children join the adult Meeting for Worship for about 15 minutes of the worship period. After the rise of Meeting, the clerk invites those gathered to share requests to “hold in the Light” any for whom special prayers are desired, and to share joys and celebrations. After the clerk makes announcements, all present hold hands in a circle and introduce themselves. Following this, please join us for refreshments and sociability.
An Invitation to Explore
Feel free to explore the building, the Koenen Land Preserve, or the library. A welcome packet is available if you desire more information. Friends are happy to answer any questions you may have. Please be sure to sign our guest book.
*Credit to Marsha D. Holliday, Silent Worship and Quaker Values