History of Friends worship
The original form of Quaker worship dates back more than 360 years to our roots in 17th-century England. The Quakers of that time rejected all of the religious traditions which were available to them.
Instead of the usual service of hymns, written prayers, sacraments, readings and a lengthy sermon, the Quakers chose to build their worship around the practice of silent prayer. They came together, as they said, “to wait upon the Lord”, to hear the Holy Spirit speaking directly in their hearts.
Quakers felt that anyone could be a minister — young or old, women or men. They often felt a great sense of hesitation before speaking, because they were afraid of breaking the silence of the gathered congregation. They felt it was important not to say too much, or too little — just exactly what God required of them in that time and place.
Friends worship today
Some Quakers still worship in this traditional manner, which is often called unprogrammed worship, or sometimes open worship. Springfield Friends include a substantial block of this kind of quiet prayer time every Sunday. We feel that Christ is in our midst, praying along with us and inspiring us.
Springfield Friends gather for worship every Sunday at 11:00. You’ll see several people up front — the music director, the pastor, and one or two members of the congregation who lead and preside over the service. A typical Sunday service looks like this:
- quiet music as we gather
- a warm welcome and an opening hymn
- an offering to support the work of the meeting
- a 5-minute message for the younger children
- a hymn, a choir piece or special music
- usually a single reading from the Bible
- a short sermon or message from the pastor (click here to read some recent messages)
- 5 to 10 minutes of open worship, often with 3 or 4 people speaking
- another hymn at the end
- a closing prayer to bless us and send us forth
Worship is different each week. Sometimes a carefully prepared message will be abandoned, if we feel the Spirit leading us in a different direction. Sometimes we’ll have a special program for Advent or Easter. Several times a year we drop the sermon and just enjoy singing hymns. Worship usually lasts about 1 hour, but we’ll finish early or go overtime if it feels right to do so.
Our goal in worship is always to listen to God, and to be flexible and responsive to the needs of our hearts and minds.
You’ll notice a warmth and informality at Springfield Friends from the moment you walk in the door. You’ll see people greeting each other, asking about how they’ve been, and making plans for the coming week. A few people dress up on Sunday, but most wear casual clothes. Most of all, you’ll notice the sense of community — we really care about each other!
Child care is available during worship. We always have a children’s message, and you’ll see young people helping out as ushers, or bringing special music.
Join us for worship this week!