52 Churches 52 Weeks

Worship Exploration Journey

Week 27 – Quaker Phoenix Friends Meeting – Quaker

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Today’s worship was one hour of SILENCE followed by fifteen minutes or so of sharing our sorrows and joys and announcements. I have discovered that Silence is an interesting and powerful thing that can make you crazy or possibly, bring you peace. I tended to lean more toward the crazy. My internal dialogue was on overdrive as I reached deep to fill the void created by so much silence. I felt my thoughts spinning out of control at one point and mentally slapped myself into some sort of structured internal prayer. Quakers are pacifists, so that was probably bad form on my part. I almost dozed off a couple of times and was slightly obsessed with carpet patterns. But, I must say, I was not bored. I didn’t even check my watch until 45 minutes in.

The group numbered about thirty and was reminiscent of a large group therapy session in that the chairs were in a big circle and there was a group leader for the last fifteen minutes of sharing. There was no cross, no alter, no prayers, no music. The group seems laid back and at peace. I suspect there were some 60’s hippies in the room. During sharing we were asked to, “keep my friend in the light” instead of, “say a prayer”. My mom and I introduced ourselves as newcomers exploring the Quaker faith.

Afterward we were greeted by a very nice lady who explained that we had joined a very quiet meeting and that sometimes members of the group are moved by God to speak. The rest of the group listens openly and there is more silence. If the sharing sparks a desire in someone else to share on the topic that is fine. She also shared that Quakers believe that God is in each one of us so why would we kill another human being because that means that we are killing God. The group as a whole is very liberal, believes in social justice and is very activism based, trying to further humanity all around us.

This church is located at 17th Street and Glendale just off the 51 and in the shadow of Peistawa Peak. It is a simple building nestled between commercial buildings. Originally the giant windows faced Squaw Peak and must have been an amazing view before progress intervened and buildings were erected. If you do visit here I would suggest selecting a chair facing the window and desert garden.

An interesting experience.

Here is the link to the Quaker Friends of Phoenix: http://www.phxquakers.org/


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