The Worland Family in America and Beyond

I began my life in the Puget Sound area of Washington State, on an island filled with forests and wild rhododendrons. I was separated from my Worland family there at an early age. Recently, I was reunited with my family and learned of my heritage. And so, this journey to know my ancestors began. The Worlands, Gideons, Newtons, Conards... they were the colonists, the settlers, the pioneers. They fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War. This is their story, and the story of a nation. -Deci Worland MacKinnon

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Religious Society of Friends - Quaker Meetings

"A Friend's meeting, however silent, is at the very lowest a witness that worship is something other and deeper than words, and that it is to the unseen and eternal things that we desire to give the first place in our lives. And when the awake and looking upwards, there is much more in it than this. In the united stillness of a truly 'gathered' meeting, there is a power known only by experience, and mysterious even when most familiar." Caroline Stephen, (1908).

The Religious Society of Friends relies heavily upon spiritual searching by individual members, individual congregations and meetings (regional assemblies). Most groups of Quakers meet for regular worship. In some traditions, this is called meeting for worship and in others it is known as a Friends Church service.
The Quaker Meeting in Colonial times was unprogrammed.

During an unprogrammed meeting for worship, Friends gather together in "expectant waiting" for divine leadings. The unprogrammed meeting is based in silence; it is usually held with others, and those who feel "moved to speak" can minister for as long as they feel is right. Typically, messages, testimonies, ministry, or other speech are not prepared as a "speech". Speakers are expected to discern the source of their inspiration — whether divine or self. There is usually space to reflect between spoken contributions, there should be no spirit of debate.

The meetings normally last for one hour. There is no leader in such a service, worship is generally deemed to start as soon as the first participant is seated, the others entering the room in silence.  Quakers who worship in this tradition believe that each person is equal before God and is capable of knowing "the light" directly. The Meeting for Worship ends when one person (usually predetermined) shakes the hand of another person present. All the members of the assembly then shake hands with their neighbors, after which one member usually rises and extends greetings and makes announcements.
A local congregation in the unprogrammed tradition is called a meeting, or a monthly meeting (e.g., Smalltown Meeting or Smalltown Monthly Meeting). The reference to "monthly" is because the meeting meets monthly to conduct the business of the meeting. Most "monthly meetings" meet for worship at least once a week; some meetings have several worship meetings during the week.

Friends treat all functions of the church as a form of worship, including business, marriage, and memorial services, in addition to regular meeting for worship.

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