Going Plain….or Designing A Worship Service

I don’t think it should come as a surprise that after spending as much time with Quakers as I have that there are some things about Quaker worship services that I like/love.

So in designing the worship service that I’m going to “lead” tomorrow, I told the committee that my plan was for the service to be more Quakerly in style. Programmed Quaker, but Quakerly nonetheless. And that means adding periods of Open Worship. That, it seems, has caused some nervousness amongst some of those on the Worship Committee.

For those of you unfamiliar with Quaker terminology, Open Worship (in programmed services) is where we sit in silence. You know, what most people think of when they hear the word Quaker.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that “going plain” in a worship service would be a source of nervousness. Are we UUs so attached to words that longer-than-average periods of silence are a threat? Do we have to have so much action signifying nothing?

Well…threat or no threat, there will be Open Worship in service tomorrow. People need to sit with the sometimes trepidation that silence and going plain in worship can bring.


2 thoughts on “Going Plain….or Designing A Worship Service

  1. Kim … if people are nervous about incorporating a Quaker-style element of silence in a worship, remember that humor can help defuse nervousness.

    There’s an old joke about Unitarian Universalists related to Quakers and silence.

    Q – What’s the difference between Quakers and Unitarian Universalists?

    A – Quakers sit in silence until the spirit moves them to speak. Unitarian Universalists will keep talking until the spirit moves them to shut up.

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