There is no hierarchy in a meeting for worship

What happens at Quaker Meeting for Worship?

Most Meetings for Worship are on Sunday mornings, with a few midweek options. It's an opportunity to pause the bustle of daily life for spiritual refreshment.

People of all ages and faiths are welcome to attend. Some locations have separate groups for children and young people, or young adults.

In person

During worship, Quakers sit quietly in a circle, settling into stillness and waiting for what's important to arise. Inward nudges and promptings reveal deepest values, joys and concerns. These may stir up emotions, show helpful insights, correct one's path, raise questions or call to future action.

At times someone may feel moved to offer spontaneous ministry - words, song, prayer, or inspiration from a spiritual text or poem. Anyone may speak aloud a contribution if they feel it will deepen and enrich the worship. Contributions should be brief, with pauses in between, and be mindful of others' needs.

The meeting ends when two people (appointed in advance) give a handshake. If you find the time of stillness too long, just leave quietly when you need to. On some occasions an 'Afterword' takes place - participants may share about their experience of worship. Notices are given, and then there's time for coffee and a chat.

After worship, you're welcome to ask questions if you wish. Newcomers are encouraged to find their own path and pace. Some find conversations or reading material helpful for their journeys.


A Meeting for Worship may be in person only, online only, or 'blended' (both on-site and online). When joining online, to prevent excess sound in the background, participants are ‘muted’ and need to ‘unmute’ to offer vocal ministry. Some people stay online after worship for a chat.

Different words

Quakers use diverse words to describe experiences that are beyond language. Some Quakers use words from other faiths, but with new or different meanings. Traditionally, Quakers speak of being guided by God, Spirit, or Inward Light. Others may use the language of meditation or words from wider society. Each uses words that come most naturally; we try to hear the deeper meaning behind these.

Experience of Meeting for Worship

Experience of meeting for worship differs, depending on age and other circumstances. Some people settle easily into stillness; for others this is fleeting. Quakers are encouraged to come to worship with 'heart and mind prepared'. This could involve a mindful walk, prayer/meditation, spiritual reading or similar.

At the beginning of worship, Quakers 'centre down' or seek an inward stillness. This is a setting aside of ordinary thoughts, concerns and plans. If this is new to you, it may feel odd at first. Some people close their eyes, while others keep them open. There is no special way to sit or breathe; Quakers aim to be relaxed, but alert.

Some people use inspiring words to still themselves. An uplifting word or phrase could be repeated inwardly, or a memorised song or passage. Spiritual texts may be briefly consulted. Quakers don't read the whole time; worship is for waiting upon fresh promptings and inspired insights. Words from other times and places do not provide all we need; in worship arises whatever is needed in the moment.

Children and young people in worship

When people (especially younger and newer) try Quaker meeting for worship for the first time, they may not be accustomed to sitting in group silence. Families are welcome to bring children into quiet worship for the length of time that suits them best. Quiet toys, books or writing journals can help children and young people settle into the stillness of the room. Some Quaker families hold times of reflective quiet at home (starting with short periods). Some locations also offer a separate children's or teenage meeting, where activities are tailored for these age groups.

Accessibility for neurodiversity and disability

There are several options to make Meeting for Worship more accessible to those with diverse abilities and disabilities. In an informal way, the essence of Quaker worship can be practised anywhere: in the home, on a walk, or wherever suits. Some people find that joining online (or 'blended') Quaker worship and keeping their camera off allows them to better rest or move around while not distracting others. There are many scenarios; contact us for ideas, or speak with Quakers locally or nationally.