What happens at a Quaker meeting?
While holidaying in Hertfordshire, friends took me, aged seven, to my first Quaker meeting. I was handed a storybook in case I became fidgety during the hour of silence.
However, my abiding memory of this childhood experience is of a room filled with a special stillness, a sense of community, commitment and friendship.
One or two people were moved to speak. I thought they were very brave!
Many years later I was reintroduced to Sunday morning Quaker meetings at the Quaker Meeting House in Oakham. There, I rediscovered the same calm atmosphere, the same sense of community and shared commitment to truth, peace and action that I had glimpsed all those years ago.
Quaker meetings are generally held in silence. People are often seated in a friendly circle. You don’t have to be a Quaker to attend. All are welcome and everyone present is considered equal.
A few people may be moved to speak and (in my experience) contributions are relevant, thought-provoking and often moving.
Quakerism goes back to the 1650s but has always moved with the times. It is a way of life rather than a formal written set of beliefs. Quakers try to base their lives on the principles of truth, equality, peace and simplicity.
In our busy world, Quaker meetings provide an opportunity for quiet reflection, in the presence of others, who share a desire to change themselves and the world for the better.
Oakham Quaker Meeting