Santa Barbara Friends Meeting is a silent practice of worship.
What we believe
The unifying assumption of Friends is that there is an inner light within each of us, and that this light can lead us if we listen to it. Other beliefs and practices of Friends follow from this. Quakerism comes out of the Christian tradition, and many Friends consider themselves Christian while others do not and choose to describe their faith in Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist or other terms.
meeting for worship
The belief that God is within every person has powerful ramifications. One is the understanding that anyone, anywhere can experience divinity directly, without an intermediary.
Friends Meetings for Worship, which last about an
hour, are generally silent in order to allow participants to become centered and receptive to the Spirit. The seats are arranged in a circle, usually around a vase of fresh flowers or other gifts of nature.
In the stillness we wait, pray, give thanks, meditate, or contemplate. We consider the events in our lives, the events in the world around us, a book we have read, or something else. There is no music or sermon, but rather a sense of communion with the larger spiritual world.
If participants feel the spirit leads them to do so, they may speak, sharing their hopes or insights. This vocal ministry may be poetic or it may be halting; it is the substance and experience of what is said that is important. After a worshiper has spoken, we contemplate the ministry. The stillness of our corporate worship enables us to listen to others more carefully and to know better our common humanity and divinity, humor, strength, and spirituality.