Participating in Meeting for Worship

Quaker worship is a shared, mostly silent seeking of the inward Light. Traditionally, we come together in a shared space for Meeting for Worship. Ithaca Friends gather for unprogrammed Meeting for Worship at worship opportunities listed below. We invite you to join us for any of these Meetings.

  • Sunday mornings at 10:30 am, in-person at our Third Street Meetinghouse.
  • Sunday mornings at 10:30 am, in-person at our Hector Meetinghouse. Weather-permitting, we worship outside. Please bring a chair to sit in. Check our groups.io listserv for updates.
  • Wednesday evenings at 6:00 pm, remotely via Zoom for our Mid-week Worship.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to reconsider what it means to come together in community. For many months our weekly Meeting for Worship happened only through remote access. Then we had a hybrid–or blended– Meeting for Worship with some people in our Third Street Meetinghouse, while others gather remotely, via Zoom. Now we have suspended hybrid worship and have Meeting for Worship in-person on Sunday mornings with a separate, remote Mid-week Worship on Wednesday evenings.

Whether we are in the Meetinghouse, outside, or in our own homes, we are all together in Spirit.

See the remote worship page for the details of how to connect remotely, including links to the Zoom meetings and information about technical support. See our in-person worship page for details and procedures for joining us in-person.

Being in Meeting for Worship

We state that Meeting for Worship begins at 10:30 am on Sunday mornings. Friends are asked arrive at the Meetinghouse in time to be seated before 10:30 to allow time to settle into worship. If you arrive after Meeting for Worship has begun, please enter the meetingroom through the library and enter as quietly as possible. If someone is speaking when you arrive, it is considered polite to wait in the doorway or library until the Friend has finished sharing their message before you enter the room.

When someone speaks

When a Friend is “moved to speak” during Meeting for Worship, we consider that they are delivering a message from the Spirit. If you feel led to speak, rise from your seat (as able) and speak clearly so all present may hear your message.

Friends are invited to listen deeply to the message.

It often takes time for the listeners to reflect upon the Truth within a message. Thus, it is common to leave several minutes of silence after someone has spoken. Sometimes, we may find ourselves wanting to respond to a speaker, but Meeting for Worship is not a place for conversation or debate.

The rise of Meeting

To close the hour of Meeting for Worship, the clerk of the Meeting will say hello and invite Friends to greet each other with a wave or a brief hello.

After this moment of greeting, the Clerk (or a designate from Ministry & Worship) invites Friends to share the following:

  • Joys and Concerns. Friends are invited to share significant events in their personal lives. Just as other religious groups may ask for your prayers, Friends may ask for a loved one to be “held in the Light.”
  • Introductions. Newcomers, visitors and Friends who have been away from sometime are invited to introduce themselves. Many choose to say a little something about what brings them to Meeting that day. Newcomers are invited to introduce themselves several times so that others may get to know them a little better.
  • Announcements. The Clerk shares announcements of Meeting affairs and upcoming events related to our Meeting or wide Quaker organizations.

During this part of Meeting for Worship, Friends are encouraged to indicate that they have something to share and wait to be acknowledged by the clerk before speaking.

What about children?

Children are an essential part of the Ithaca Friends Meeting community and are welcome to participate in remote Meeting for Worship.

It is to be expected that babies and young children will make some noises or wiggle around in Meeting for Worship. Many Friends delight in these nonverbal messages from the Spirit. In a remote or online Meeting for Worship, many Friends also delight when pets join their people for the experience!