I have been thinking a lot about open worship these days. Many of the larger evangelical Friends churches no longer practice open worship in their big venues for many reasons. I guess I am searching for a contemporary definition of open worship and ideas for how other large congregations incorporate their concept of open worship into their weekly big event(s).
What canst thou saith?

Views: 1928

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

It's also quite possible that if large numbers of newcomers came to our meetings, God would give messages appropriate for them, and a lot of the necessary teaching of basic doctrines would happen in meeting. That was certainly the case among early Friends, when our ideas were first being spread, and large percentages of the population became Friends in many areas.
I wonder if the tendency for the Society of Friends to turn inward, and not challenge the other churches so vocally as we did at first, may have been one reason for the decline in basic teaching during ministry, since it was assumed that most of those in meeting knew the basics.

This is an interesting dialogue.  Some of my wife's deceased first husband's family in Kansas are members of an evangelical Friends church.  They regret the elimination of open meeting from the Sunday morning worship experience.  Objecting to this, they were told that there wasn't time for open worship!

There is no congenial Conservative meeting in our county.  For several years we attended Sunday school and, occasionally, worship in area mainline churches.  The worship was dominated by the pastor; members of the congregation were spectators!

When a conservative Mennonite church was started in our area, we quickly became regular attenders, having previous ties with the conference they belong to.  One very noticeable feature of their worship was the active vocal participation of several congregants in the worship experience.  The two ministers never led the singing; usually a young brother in the church had that responsibility.  And prayer was often offered by non-ordained members.  After the sermon, members of the congregation (including women) are invited to offer testimony, ask questions and/or comment on the "message".

They do not practice "waiting worship" as we know it.  On the other hand, they do exercise collective responsibility for the conduct of worship.  To my way of thinking, this "collective sharing" in the conduct of worship could be a way of moving away from pastor-dominated worship, and toward a more open model of the worship experience.

Hey Adrian. Your query reminded me of a blog post I wrote a while back... http://wp.me/p2La5Z-1o
Grateful I live in New York State where we have unprogrammed Meetings. I visited a big evangelical
Meeting when I was in Ohio. I don't mean to be harsh, but that is not Quakerism as the founders intended. My advice would be to grab a handful of like minded Friends and start a new Meeting, unprogrammed, in someone's house.

Hello, Mike LaBelle!

You live in a very different Quaker setting than Adrian Haverstadt, and I sense that you are not in touch with the reality he is struggling with.  I am guessing that 80% of the Quaker population of the world practices programmed worship.  I agree with you that their form of worship differs dramatically from that of the early Friends.

The typical unprogrammed meeting nowadays also bears little similarity to the worship experience of the early Friends.  And, if George Fox were able to examine the belief systems of many unprogrammed Friends today, he would be shocked.  If you want to verify what I am saying about the early Friends, "grab" Hugh Barbour's The Quakers in Puritan England and check me out!  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0913408875/ref=olp_product_details...=

 

Hey Adrian. I am trying to teach about open worship at College Avenue. They have a very short time of open worship, perhaps due to the fact that they have many people from outside of the Quaker tradition who worship there. I wrote this blog post (as a monthly newsletter article) to begin the conversation about how to use the time in a programmed setting. I thought back to this discussion.... these words are an attempt to speak to the needs of fellow programmed Friends...especially those who are new!

 http://practicingresurrectiontogether.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/on-v...



Quaker Monk said:

I guess the best I would offer is, "Why does there need to be a preacher?"  I used to attend an unprogrammed meeting.  That meeting is going semi programmed.   Why?  Isn't the small still voice of the Spirit good enough for people?  Most preachers enjoy three songs and sermon formats.  You revel in religious rituals, dogmas, and religious degrees but how does that connect people to God and  how do these things separate you personally from God?  What makes a Quaker preacher different than the Methodist, Baptists, and other religious groups?  Is it good for you personally in your spiritual life to take on the role of spiritual leader for others?  Is your personal interpretation of the Light or direct experience of the Light better? 

You are asking a good question here preacher. 

I hope my additional queries are helpful.  Personally I wont attend a semi programmed meeting.  I can walk half a block and attend a church with 3 songs and a sermon.  They are all the same.   I used to drive over a hour to an unprogrammed meeting until they wrote out Christianity of faith and practice and are more concerned about singing than they are direct experience of the Light.  So they and preachers like you that have  made me, The Quaker Monk.

I unite with Martin's observation that many (if not most) unprogrammed meetings are very programmed outside of the main worship hour.  My meeting was one of these!  About five years ago, we decided as a meeting to go deeper into the experience of the very earliest Friends,  We simplified and still continue to simplify all of our meeting structures and formalities: eliminating committees where practical to encourage Friends to bring to the whole meeting at Meeting for Business their leadings for discernment on how to proceed,  We have eliminated committee reports at Meeting for Business; reserving that occasion for discernment (decisions) only.  And we have returned to the format used in the 17th and 18th centuries for our Meetings for Business, only recording in our minutes the decisions made and not 'he said, she said' that most Quaker minutes in our day contain.   Interestingly, the whole spirituality of the meeting has greatly improved, and we have attracted many new ones.  There is a long list of deprogramming we have done in every aspect of our meeting.  Although we are a liberal Quaker meeting, we have many Christians who have recently joined the Universalists in our meeting - all united in the common Spirit/Presence/Christ that is there for everyone who turns to it. (pick your label that suits you. It simply is what it is - no matter what you call it!)

I will offer that it is very difficult to achieve a deep spiritual experience with just 15 minutes of 'expectant waiting' (silent) worship.  I have often gone to other churches to explain Quakerism and conclude with 15 minutes of 'expectant worship'.  It was like torture for those present.  It takes the usual person at least 20 to 30 minutes to finally surrender to the Spirit in the silence so the Presence can minister to the individual (and the gathered group).  So, I can see why evangelical Friends gave up on open worship due to the torturous nature of just 15 minutes.

A funny story: I once took a Sunday School group of middle-school liberal Quakers to an FUM Quaker meeting so they could experience how most Quakers in the world worship.  When the pastor called for Open worship and the congregation settled down into silent worship, one young boy from my meeting (about 11 years old), who had never experienced a preacher giving a sermon, said very loudly at the beginning of the silence, "I thought he would never shut-up!".  I was so embarrassed even though the pastor was quite amused and said to the congregation, "I guess that's what you call, 'from the mouth of babes'".



Howard Brod said:

I unite with Martin's observation that many (if not most) unprogrammed meetings are very programmed outside of the main worship hour.  My meeting was one of these!  About five years ago, we decided as a meeting to go deeper into the experience of the very earliest Friends,  We simplified and still continue to simplify all of our meeting structures and formalities: eliminating committees where practical to encourage Friends to bring to the whole meeting at Meeting for Business their leadings for discernment on how to proceed,  We have eliminated committee reports at Meeting for Business; reserving that occasion for discernment (decisions) only.  And we have returned to the format used in the 17th and 18th centuries for our Meetings for Business, only recording in our minutes the decisions made and not 'he said, she said' that most Quaker minutes in our day contain.   Interestingly, the whole spirituality of the meeting has greatly improved, and we have attracted many new ones.  There is a long list of deprogramming we have done in every aspect of our meeting.  Although we are a liberal Quaker meeting, we have many Christians who have recently joined the Universalists in our meeting - all united in the common Spirit/Presence/Christ that is there for everyone who turns to it. (pick your label that suits you. It simply is what it is - no matter what you call it!)

I will offer that it is very difficult to achieve a deep spiritual experience with just 15 minutes of 'expectant waiting' (silent) worship.  I have often gone to other churches to explain Quakerism and conclude with 15 minutes of 'expectant worship'.  It was like torture for those present.  It takes the usual person at least 20 to 30 minutes to finally surrender to the Spirit in the silence so the Presence can minister to the individual (and the gathered group).  So, I can see why evangelical Friends gave up on open worship due to the torturous nature of just 15 minutes.

A funny story: I once took a Sunday School group of middle-school liberal Quakers to an FUM Quaker meeting so they could experience how most Quakers in the world worship.  When the pastor called for Open worship and the congregation settled down into silent worship, one young boy from my meeting (about 11 years old), who had never experienced a preacher giving a sermon, said very loudly at the beginning of the silence, "I thought he would never shut-up!".  I was so embarrassed even though the pastor was quite amused and said to the congregation, "I guess that's what you call, 'from the mouth of babes'".

Thank you.  Thank you.  I wish the people at the meeting I attended could read what you wrote.  I wish I could write as well.  That child  voiced the Spirit.

I hope our Dr. Reverend Preacher that started this discussion will come down from the pulpit and learn from you.

I am what the meeting made me,

The Quaker Monk

I find Adrian Halverstadt to be rather open-minded, certainly much less judgmental than some of the folks who have contributed to this discussion.

The Rev. Doctor asked for feedback.  He got it.  He didn't ask for it to be politically correct or to line up with his 3 songs and a sermon format.  At least the Rev Doctor is still asking good questions.  Most preachers don't give a hoot of what the people they service think, in fact they would prefer them not to think.    So why is this a problem for you?  The Quaker Monk

Your attitude is unchristian, and the self-righteousness in your remarks is very unbecoming.  Say a lot less, and listen a lot more!

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Support Us

Did you know that QuakerQuaker is 100% reader supported? If you think this kind of outreach and conversation is important, please support it with a monthly subscription or one-time gift.


You can also make a one-time donation.

Latest Activity

Susan Elizabeth Davis shared Sarah Spencer's group on Facebook
yesterday
Jim Wilson liked Keith Saylor's blog post The Impulse of Immanent Being
10th month 12
Mike Shell posted a discussion

QUF October 2019 Newsletter | Sharing Quaker Worship Online

Friends,Here is a link to the online version of our October 2019 newsletter, just sent out today:…See More
10th month 10
Mackenzie replied to Olivia's discussion 'Hungry for more of the Jesus of the Quaker tradition?'
"Up in Frederick, the Friends Church that meets at Friends School of Baltimore might be a good one…"
10th month 8
Dave Bishop replied to Olivia's discussion 'Hungry for more of the Jesus of the Quaker tradition?'
"That's a wonderful idea.  I have a friend from Kenya who fits that description (i.e. she…"
10th month 8
Olivia replied to Olivia's discussion 'Hungry for more of the Jesus of the Quaker tradition?'
"AS AN  UPDATE:  We are meeting on First Day/Sunday afternoons.   Our upcoming…"
10th month 4
Olivia replied to Olivia's discussion 'Hungry for more of the Jesus of the Quaker tradition?'
"Thanks, Mackenzie.  I've contacted you privately about details.  This sounds great,…"
10th month 4
Mackenzie replied to Olivia's discussion 'Hungry for more of the Jesus of the Quaker tradition?'
"Hi! I live in Maryland and currently am a member of Adelphi Friends. Let's connect, because I…"
10th month 4

© 2019   Created by QuakerQuaker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service