Monday, August 3, 2009

We welcome thee


We attended worship services a week ago in Salem, Ohio at the Wilbur Friends Meeting House. We had a very blessed day and enjoyed both the Sabbath School and the service itself. As you know~ or maybe not~ Conservative Quakers employ what is called "waiting worship". As you take your seat in the meeting house you begin to pray and meditate, when someone feels led to share some words or a prayer then they stand and do so. Consequently there can be long stretches of silence. It paints quite a qontrast to the "programmed" worship generally found in churches. Still, we enjoyed ourselves. The littlest children did very well sitting through the 2 hours of combined services, I was very thankful! We don't "play" in church and since we've been home churching I was afraid that they might not do very well in a new situation.
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The meeting house itself is a gorgeous old brick structure that was rebuilt in the 1870's. The huge white shutters are opened to emit the light which is pretty distorted by the original wavy glass of the windows. In the cloak room are several original bookcases with bound volumes of Quaker writings and treatises that seem to be as old as the cases they're housed in. A gal over on the Sewing Academy had recommended a book called American Grit which are the compiled letters of Anna Briggs Bentley. Mrs. Bentley was a Friend (Friend is the preferred term, "Quaker" is derogatory) who settled in eastern Ohio in the early 19th century. Her home meeting was the Salem Monthly Meeting. We visited Hope Cemetary after services where she and many of her family are buried. In many ways things haven't changed all that much in the 200 intervening years, some Friends today still use "thee" and "thou" and the calenders in the Meeting House really do refer to the months and days as "First Month" and "Fourth Day" etc. ;-)
Maybe Anna would still feel at home there, I know we did.

3 comments :

  1. Hmmm...that's interesting. I've always wondered about the Quakers and their religion/faith/doctrine. I should read more into them.

    I hope you're doing well these days. :) Love the baby clothes!

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  2. I may have been missing something here, but do you have plans to become a Quaker?
    I, too, have a Quaker interest so that's why I ask.

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  3. Amy, by all means check them out! You will find their doctrine *very* unorthodox, they were harshly persecuted for flying in the face of accepted doctrine. Upon further study, though, a lot of what they say makes sense.

    Ken, this was mostly just a historical field trip but we did find some very Godly people there. Did you know that Shakers split off from Quakers? There are a lot of similarities there. I read that somewhere though I can't recall where.... lol

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