Whittier First Friends Church
A Quaker Meeting

13205 Philadelphia Street
Whittier CA 90601-4386
(562) 698-9805

"A Christian people called to listen, gathered to seek peace, and sent forth to serve."

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Communion after the Manner of Friends
Aspects of the Quaker Vision

The Meaning of Communion after the Manner of Friends

While Friends do not observe the outward sacraments, we do believe in communion as a spiritual exercise which nurtures the relationship between the worshiper and the divine. During our meeting for worship, a time is designated as Communion after the Manner of Friends. During this time, each worshiper is encouraged to wait patiently and quietly before the Lord.

Beginning with Silence

As we begin to commune, we seek to:

Center down in reverential silence by letting God cleanse our minds and hearts from worries and cares and asking Him to clear our minds of anything that would prevent us from hearing his Voice.

Wait upon the Lord by listening for God's voice within your heart. Seek to be quiet, surrendered, and attentive to God. Then permit your heart to be led in whatever way the Spirit directs you.

Communicate the desires of your heart to God. If you are joyful, praise and thank Him. If you are guilty, confess your sin and estrangement to Him. If you are anxious, ask for his guidance, strength and peace. Partake of the spiritual substance of Christ himself.

Vocal Ministry that is Helpful

Types of vocal ministry which have proved to be helpful are:

Spontaneous words of joy, praise, thanksgiving and adoration to the Lord.

Simple words of witness or testimony, sharing the workings of God's spirit in your own life.

Honest confession of sin can have a humbling and healing effect on the whole congregation. However, caution should be exercised to avoid disclosing information which could be detrimental.

Words of encouragement, speaking perhaps from some Scripture passage or personal concern, prophetically declaring God's specific message for his people.

Prayer that arises out of the needs and wants of the worshiping community.

A passage of Scripture, selected on an inner impression from the Spirit, and read clearly and effectively.

A hymn or song appropriate for the moment. It can be sung either by an individual or by the whole congregation.

When Someone Breaks the Silence

When another person breaks the silence with vocal ministry, keep on listening. At first someone else's voice may appear to be a disturbing interruption to your own train of thought, but listen hard to what God might want to say to you through that which is spoken. Be sensitive to how God wants you to respond. Perhaps it will be vocally or it may simply be in silent prayer and thought.

Practical Advice

  • Stand up when you speak or pray.
  • Face the congregation.
  • Speak audibly and distinctly.
  • Let God's Spirit discipline your mind.
  • Let your words be few and full.
  • Speak directly to the point...

What is Worship?

"Worship is the adoring response of the heart and mind to the influence of the Spirit of God. It stands neither in forms nor in the formal disuse of forms; it may be without words as well as with them, but it must be in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)"

Richmond Declaration of Faith, 1887

And so I find it well to come
For deeper rest to this still room;
For here the habit of the soul
Feels less the outer world's control;
The strength of mutual purpose pleads
More earnestly our common needs;
And from the silence multiplied
By these still forms on either side,
The world that time and sense have known
Falls off and leaves us God alone.

John Greenleaf Whittier

Wait upon the Lord

In our hectic age, many of us have lost the art of true worship. We may feel awkward in a time of silence. We are more comfortable when worship is very structured. Yet Friends consistently believe in the value of silence as a way of hearing the voice of God speaking either to an individual or through the words of another.

We hope this guide will help you to understand the Friends experience of "Communion After the Manner of Friends". The suggestions will help you to know what to do when we silently "wait upon the Lord".

For Further Information Read

An Introduction to Quakers by D. Elton Trueblood
A Testament of Devotion by Thomas Kelly
The People Called Quakers by D. Elton Trueblood

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