Just a suggestion... but how long does it take a typical Quaker to get tuned in?

My impression is that it takes longer than an hour.

I know we've had some groups experimenting with at least occasional longer meetings. Even considering the fact that these would be self-selected, unusually spiritually-inclined members in the first place--I understand that the results have been generally good.

Over an hour is not unusual for a church service.

Among other meditative traditions, the only one where I've read much about typical practice is Zen. In monasteries, that was: 25 minutes meditation, 5 minute break, repeat--doing generally four such periods before taking off for other duties.

A possible partial reason why that Sit-a-Thon session got so intense: Many people had been there at least an hour, some perhaps through most of the morning.

When I first started regular attendance at Meeting, Anne & I were also having a (tiny) worship group in the used bookstore we owned. The rule there was, no messages (unless led!) for the first hour. By the end of that first hour, we felt deeply into it!

The only other regular participants... tended to arrive close to the end of that hour, and then break into messages, heavily loaded with things one guy had probably been thinking about all the time anyway! That sort of cheating was a disappointment, but one I could live with.

The suggestion: start (perhaps) a half-hour early. People who wanted/needed to arrive later, no problem--but the protocol should be: no greetings, conversation, anything of the sort near the meeting space. People who need to come and go for bodily needs, fine. But that first half-hour (or whatever) would be pure tuning-up period, for those who chose to participate.

Anyone else want to try this? Would their Meetings go along? Could this be the element of past Friends' practice that really should be revived?

Views: 25

Comment by Alice M Yaxley on 5th mo. 23, 2009 at 9:02am
I like it!

I have noticed I tend to be one of the first in Meeting when I get there on a First day, but my bus only gets to town 15min before the advertised start so I can't go much earlier at the moment unless I'm fit enough to do the 1.5h walk.

Have you come across Marcelle Martin's Pendle Hill Pamphlet "Invitation to a deeper communion"? It's all about how extended worship helps us get closer to God and I was so inspired when I read it.

I love Meetings that don't have a fixed time schedule and I have noticed that the more conversative folks don't fix the time of their meetings.

I have enjoyed meetings I've been to where we've sung together for 20min to half an hour before worship as well, I think that's how Freedom Friends worship though I've not been to their church, which is another great wat to get hearts set on God.


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