A is for anywhere, any time

Firbank Fell

Quakers have always claimed that people can meet for worship anywhere at any time. No time or place is more sacred than any other. Early Friends often met out of doors, having no where else to go. The British climate being what it is probably encouraged them to seek indoor spaces and they met in homes and barns and rented rooms. It wasn’t long before meeting houses were being built. But the desire to keep meetings open to the public meant that some meetings continued to be held out of doors. When Quaker meetings were banned by law and meeting houses barred against Friends, worship continued wherever it could.

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In recent years my own local meeting has become quite stuck in the regular pattern of Sunday morning at 10.30 in the meeting house (although the much smaller worshipping group on Wednesday lunchtime will gather out in the garden when the weather is warm and sunny).

Having attended the ‘New Expressions’ conference last October two of our number came back enthused to try offering different opportunities to worship together.

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So on evening of New Year’s day we gathered round a fire in the garden behind the meeting house. The rain held off for a while and about 35 of us worshipped together for about 30 minutes. Then we went indoors for soup, baked potatoes and fellowship.

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Both the worship and the socialising were good, people came from other parts of our AM, some came who rarely come on a Sunday morning, there was a good proportion of younger people, we had some spoken ministry which was appropriate and well received.

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We’re considering repeating this regularly and perhaps trying some other gentle experiments with different timings and durations. Hopefully it will strengthen our community, and encourage us to go out into the community.

Anyone for meeting for worship in the shopping centre?

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