Understanding Quaker Worship

Friends typically call a church service “meeting for worship,” and worship can happen in any place—a church building (which we call the “meetinghouse”), outside, or anywhere. Early Friends often met for worship on hillsides or in local public buildings.

Like other denominations, Friends have branched into different forms of worship. The original Friends worshipped in what we call “unprogrammed” style, with silent worship times punctuated by Friends “speaking into the silence” if they felt inspired by spirit. Programmed Friends follow a Protestant format, with a call to worship, hymns, prayer, and a vocal message, which may or may not be followed or preceded by a time of silent worship.

Sunday worship

Here at Noblesville Friends, we follow this programmed (also called “semi-programmed”) style, with a traditional format, hymns, prayer, scripture, and vocal ministry, followed by about 15 minutes of silence for prayer, listening, and reflection.

Here's the general outline we follow each Sunday morning:

Worship begins at 10:30 am.

  • Welcome and announcements
  • Prelude
  • Call to worship
  • Hymn
  • Offertory
  • Pastoral prayer
  • Choir special music or second hymn
  • Communion in the manner of Friends (silent worship)
  • Scripture reading
  • Message
  • Moment for reflection
  • Hymn
  • Benediction and postlude
Each Sunday following meeting for worship, we share coffee, snacks, and fellowship, and on the last Sunday of the month, we enjoy a shared pitch-in meal, followed by our monthly meeting for business (which is what Quakers call the meeting where church business is attended to and nurtured).

Wednesday silent worship

We also have a time of silent worship mid-week, at 7 pm each Wednesday evening in the pastor's office. We gather, begin our time with prayer, and then settle into the silence together, listening for God and resting in God's presence. It is a restful, clear spot in the middle of a busy week! Join us!

Bible study

Another way we deepen our faith and fellowship is through Bible study. We meet for study at 9:30 am Sunday mornings prior to worship. (We don't have Bible study the last Sunday of the month because that's when Ministry & Counsel meets.) We've been studying the book of Matthew for a number of months and we've been having deep, relevant, and story-filled conversations together. This study is open to all and you can jump in at any point! All are welcome.



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