Starting a Quaker Worship Group
How to Start a Quaker Worship Group
There are lots of reasons that one person or several might want to start a
Attenders of established Quaker meetings move away from their old meetings
and want to worship with like-minded people in their new home.
New seekers discover Quakerism and want to form a meeting where they
Attenders of established pastoral or non-Christian Quaker meetings decide
to form a Conservative group to meet in addition to their regular meeting.
These procedures are the ones that we use at Ohio Yearly Meeting
(Conservative), but you can adapt them to your own needs. We welcome every
new member of the Body of Christ, and look forward to worship groups growing
and taking on new members as they mature. As the group grows, it will
eventually take on more responsibility, until it becomes a full-fledged
Monthly Meeting on its own. Our own process is simpler if you decide to
affiliate with Ohio Yearly Meeting, but you don't have to affiliate with
anybody to start worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth. Here's how:
Contact us to explore affiliation.
Contact the OYM Correspondent (see below) for a copy of our Discipline and
our most recent Annual Yearly Meeting Minutes. Visit our web site:www.ohioyearlymeeting.org
and read about us. See if what we are is what you want to be associated
with. There is a list of existing Monthly Meetings of Ohio Yearly Meeting
at the end of this flyer. Contact one geographically closest to you, if
possible. Ideally, there will be physical visits, and gasoline isn't cheap.
Our procedure is for new worship groups to affiliate formally with an
existing host Monthly Meeting. You won't owe us anything, but we can visit,
offer advice, introduce you to organizations that share your concerns, show
you how to solve logistic problems you may not have anticipated, and
hopefully provide you with an umbrella organization made up of interested
people, including other worship groups. You don't have to figure out all the
If you decide to form a Quaker worship group independently of us, the next
steps are the same anyway, for anybody. But we would welcome you if it
works out that your path and ours coincide.
Gather several people together.
A meeting of one person can survive and grow, but it's not as easy or fun.
Find some like-minded people. If you are thinking about forming a worship
group, chances are good that several of you already have the same idea. Ask
around your current church or meeting. Put up a flyer in the supermarket.
Place an ad in the Yellow Pages or the local paper--sometimes they're free.
You don't have to have many people, but it helps a lot to have fellow
travelers on this journey.
Pick a place to meet.
You can meet anywhere you want. The original Friends began by meeting at
people's houses. A circle of chairs in a living room is a fine place to
begin. It doesn't have to be fancy, it doesn't have to be permanent, and it
doesn't need much preparation. Don't let not having an ideal place to meet
for an hour or so prevent you from doing it. Jesus met with his disciples
in borrowed rooms and stranger's houses.
Possible places to meet include public halls you can rent, conference rooms
where you work, church meeting rooms, or under a tree in your backyard. As
more people are attracted to your meeting, more possibilities will appear.
Pick a consistent schedule.
This is fairly important. Decide whether you want to meet weekly, every
other week, monthly, or whatever, and pick a starting time. Some people
meet after their regular meeting or church service. Others pick some other
day. The reason it is important is because to be successful, the meeting
must be held consistently. You can't put up a note advertising a weekly
meeting and then not be there when an interested stranger shows up. And if
you want the worship group to grow and mature into an established and
independent expression of the Body of Christ, then the sooner everybody fits
it into their routine the better. It's very hard for a worship group with
an irregular schedule to take off.
Just do it!
Just meet. Show up and sit down, and let Jesus do his part. Concentrate on
listening to God. This is the whole point of the operation, so just do it.
Some worship groups make a shared meal a part of their regular worship.
Perhaps a potluck or a picnic works for you too.
Often worship groups and meetings meet together for camping trips,
religious retreats, or other joint activities. This is important in
Quakerism, which is focused on the meeting community as a body with close
physical, religious, and social connections. The members of your meeting
are committing themselves to making their religious journey in your
company--take them seriously, and enjoy being with them.
Not really. But almost. By affiliating with an existing meeting, you can
be welcomed into the larger community without a great deal of difficulty.
Choose someone to act as a correspondent, and buy a cheap briefcase to keep
any letters or papers in. When you decide that the time is right to cease
being a worship group, and start calling yourself a Monthly Meeting, you can
name someone officially as Clerk. Until then, don't worry much about
business meetings and such. Just keep whatever records are useful: a
contact list with names and telephone numbers, letters you have sent and
received, that sort of thing.
It may be several years before you decide that your worship group is stable
enough to become an official Meeting, or it may be much quicker. Your
contacts within your host Meeting (if any) can help you discern when the
time is right. Don't worry about how many of you there are, if you can
manage regular meetings. Don't worry about permanent places to meet--that
can come later. The important thing is to give Jesus a regular and sincere
window into you for the Light to shine through. Do that, and he can do the
OYM Correspondent 2006: Dorothy Smith
108 Fowler Ave, Barnesville, Ohio 437134-1176. (740) 425-3168
Meetings of OYM 2006:
Athens Christian Friends Athens, Greece: Themistoklis Papaioannou, P.O.
Box 21121, GR 11410, Athens, Greece. firstname.lastname@example.org
Keystone Fellowship Chester county, PA: Mike Kinch, (717) 284-4999. email@example.com
Chesterfield Chesterhill, OH on Rte. 555 east from Rte. 377: Jim
Creighton, (740) 554-7615
Chestnut Ridge South of Barnesville, OH on T-26: Kathleen Kovalick,
Crossroads Friends Worship Group Near Flint, MI: Phil Helms, (248)
Middleton Columbiana, OH: Lois Edgerton, (330) 482-2939
Rockingham Near Harrisonburg, VA: Susan Smith, (540) 867-5788
Salem-Upper Springfield Salem, OH: Carey Newlin, (330) 332-0565
Seeker’s Haven Near Cleveland, OH: Conrad Lindes, (440) 884-0338
Short Creek Near Harrisville, OH on County Rd. 10: Elvina Krekler, (740)
Stillwater Barnesville, OH: Thomas Rockwell, (740) 425-1780 firstname.lastname@example.org
Stirling Stirling, Scotland: Henry Logan, UK# 01259 53508
Winona Winona, OH: (330) 222-1060 email@example.com