Shepherdstown Friends Meeting

Who are Friends?

The Religious Society of Friends, known also as Quakers, arose in England in the mid-1600s during the religious ferment of the Protestant Reformation.

Quakers were empowered to become a movement by personal experiences that revealed the spiritual truth found in the Gospel of John, Chapter 1:  that Christ is the true light that enlightens every man.

Friends knew that this light was accessible to all without exception. They knew that the Inward Christ dwells inside each person – an Inner Light – a Seed of Truth planted in each mind & heart by God.

Therefore seekers after God have no need for mediation by priest, ritual or scriptures. The Inner Light is present in each person, sufficient for salvation and for growth in truth, goodness, peace, unity, and love — provided one is obedient to its leadings.

For Friends, the movement towards the inner life of contemplation and prayer has been balanced by the movement outwards to participate fully in the larger society, living out as fully as possible Friends testimonies of Equality, Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community and Stewardship.


Friends Worship

Direct communion with God constitutes the essential life of the meeting for worship.  Meetings lack the décor, music, ceremony, prayers, and sermons commonplace in other Christian denominations.

Waiting in silent expectation is the basis of our meeting. This approach follows from Friends’ knowledge of the universality of the Inner Light. Our meeting for worship is “a method, a technique for inducing the Light of God to flow into the conscious mind, a means of practicing the presence of God.”

Unprogrammed Friends meetings proceed with no preset program. Nor do Friends have visible sacraments. We have no baptism, except the spiritual baptism that occurs inwardly. No Creed, except the wordless law of love written in our hearts.  No ministers except the ministry that each of us brings to the group. And no communion except the mystical communion of one with all, and all with one, that the presence of God brings.


Vocal Ministry in Meeting

Friends aspire to vocal ministry that arises out of a sense of being inwardly moved to share a message aloud. If you feel arising in your consciousness a message which you feel is intended for morethan yourself alone, we encourage you to deliver that message, then cease speaking when done.

Divinely inspired messages are not about the ego — they are not full of self, the need to be admired, the desire to show off one’s erudition, cleverness, or rhetorical skill. But it is understandable and appropriate that messages be rooted in the truth of personal experience. No Friend should come to a meeting for worship with an intention to speak, or intention not to speak.

From its beginnings, Quakers have recognized men and women as equals in Ministry and in witness of the Testimonies.

Some Friends who are long-time members or steady attenders rarely, if ever, have been led to minister, and it is not unusual for a meeting to be totally silent. Although no messages may have been spoken in meeting, yet the silent ministry of the Spirit moving in the midst of the gathered worshipers can be profound.


What Leads Us to Speak?

Three Attenders’ Thoughts