This Sunday, my hubby and I decided to try out the DC Society of Friends (Quaker). We haven’t found a new church to go to since our move in June, and I am finally feeling settled in enough that I want to start trying.
I had never been to a Quaker service before, and I thought that it sounded a bit weird, but it was very moving. It is called a silent service. Everyone sits in pews that all face toward the center of the meeting room. The first 20 minutes are completely silent, then the children get up and go to Sunday school. Have you ever been in a room with about 25 children, and not been aware of their presence? It was amazing to see all these kids get up and quietly walk out, and realize that they had been there the whole time. I know that in the past, children were good at being seen and not heard, but this was even more amazing because they truly seemed to be participating in the prayer as well. They were not fidgety and they didn’t seem miserable to be there.
After they left, the meeting was still silent unless someone was moved to speak. During the service that I attended, 4 people talked for a minute or two apiece and one man broke into a beautiful song. Sitting in collective prayer for an hour was very moving. According to Quakers, everyone has the light of god within them, which is why people are encouraged to speak when the spirit moves them. I could feel God’s presence there, more than in most services I have attended, just through the depth of their communal prayer. It was very centering.
I am looking forward to going back. I am not sure that I am going to sign up to be a Quaker anytime soon, that would require knowing much more than I do now, but going to the service has definitely changed my outlook on their religion and given me a lot to think about.