As seekers of Truth, and in an attempt to recover the spirit of early Christians, a movement began in mid 17th century England that became known as the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers. Members of this movement believed there is an inner Light in each person that provides direct access to God without need for intermediaries or literal readings of Scripture. Waiting in silence, early Friends were inspired by that "still, small voice of God" to work for justice, for equality, for peace. The movement spread through many countries, including the United States, where William Penn, a Quaker, founded the Pennsylvania Colony.
Fort Worth Monthly Meeting is an unprogrammed meeting affiliated with the Friends General Conference and South Central Yearly Meeting, which are amongst the national and regional associations of Friends.
In the unprogrammed Quaker meeting, we are all ministers. We have no paid clergy, and no prearranged order or prepared readings, songs, or sermon on a moral or religious topic for the worship meeting; hence, the meeting is "unprogrammed." Quakers consider outward rites and symbols unnecessary and even a hindrance to spiritual experience, and therefore do not celebrate sacraments. "Friends affirm the sacramental nature of the whole of life when it is under the leading of the Spirit" (Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice).
Working through committees, volunteers from both members and attenders carry out the bulk of responsibilities of the meeting. Service to others is also an integral aspect of Quaker practice.
Quakers value certain principles, called "testimonies". Some of these are simplicity, integrity, peace and equality. We have no dogma or officially mandated doctrine.
Meetings for worship are held on Sunday mornings. These meetings for worship generally last an hour, and are "broken" by shaking hands with one's neighbors, usually initiated by the clerk. The meeting for worship is based on silence, in which each attender "centers down" and enters into communion with God. The fellowship of the group intensifies this experience. In the silence we seek to become aware of the presence of God and wait expectantly for guidance from the Inward Christ or the Inner Light. This guidance may be purely personal. At other times, it will seem to be meant for the meeting, and the worshiper then has a responsibility to share that message. This is called "vocal ministry". Silence is also considered a ministry.
After meeting for worship (the "rise of meeting") members, attenders, and visitors introduce themselves and announcements are made.
We would be happy to answer your questions about Quakers and the Religious Society of Friends, so don’t hesitate to send us e-mail, call or visit our meeting. Welcome!
Young visitors and friends are welcome to join us in meetings for worship. Infants and children through kindergarten age can visit the U.C.C. Child Care Program while their parents participate in meeting for worship. The program is drop-in and free, and registration is very brief. If you plan to utilize the service, please come about 15 minutes before the start of meeting for worship so a Friend can help you find the way to the child care program location and provide any assistance in the registration process.