Meeting for Worship in the Manner of Friends

“Finally, remember that our manner of worship is ultimately a mystery under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Each Meeting for Worship is a spiritual adventure, unique and unpredictable. Let us remember in humility that ‘the end of words is to bring us to the knowledge of things beyond what words can utter’.”

Isaac Penington, 1670

Visitors are welcome to join us at Meeting for Worship. Goose Creek is an unprogrammed Meeting, which means that our period of worship is neither arranged according to any plan or ritual, nor led by a designated minister. At the appointed hour, we gather in silence, in an attitude Friends have long called “expectant waiting,” in the faith that the still, small voice we can hear in these circumstances may well be that of God in us.

Families are welcome. Children usually stay in Meeting for Worship for the first 15 minutes; then, the leaders of First Day School (the Quaker name for Sunday School) rise and escort the children into the adjoining rooms. If you go out with that group to help settle your child or children, please return quietly to worship with the other parents doing so. You are also welcome to stay with your child in First Day School or the nursery, should you so choose.

It is possible for the entire period of worship to pass in silence; people accustomed to our ways are generally comfortable with that. Coming in out of a world in which group silence is extremely unusual, the newcomer may at first feel some uncertainty about whether, when, or how the silence might be broken. Many of us have come to cherish those occasional Meetings when to gather together in silence is enough.

More often, a worshiper among us will feel the presence of a spiritual message, and the “leading” to share it. Such messages are often based on a small occurrence in our daily lives, or on a passage from Scripture or the writings of Friends and others concerned with spiritual matters. Meeting for Worship should not be considered an appropriate place to give vent to difficult or painful personal experience or feelings. However, if you have come among us burdened with such things, you should know that there is a period near the end of Meeting for Worship to raise concerns for oneself, one’s family and friends, or the world at large, so that we may share your burden and hold those affected in the Light.

After a worshiper has offered vocal ministry, the Meeting settles again into silence. After some minutes, another person may rise to speak. The connections between this message and the one that preceded it may be close or remote. Our silent meditations can be led by the vocal ministries that we hear. However, we never speak in the expectation that what we say will receive a direct response. We are not a discussion group. We are, rather, a community united in the presence of God, and in the hope of feeling God’s presence in us.

At the rise of meeting — indicated by a handshake between two people on a facing bench — those gathered can share joys, give afterthoughts, or make announcements. All gathered are invited to take refreshments in the adjoining gathering room.

Street Address:

18204 Lincoln Road

Purcellville, VA 20132

Postal Address:

PO Box 105

Lincoln, VA 20160