About Worship

Early Quakers gathered in silence to worship. They cleared their minds of the cares of the day and opened their minds to inspiration and God's leadings. Those leadings might come from within or from another in the gathering.

There was no clergy in charge and no prepared sermon or message. Quakers then and now hold that each person has that of God – sometimes referred to the the Inner Light – within. Therefore each person may be a minister to others.

Quakers waited silently until one of those present felt led by the inward spirit to share a brief message. The gathered congregation practiced listening attentively and respectfully. The congregation allowed silence to return and awaited the next spoken message to break the silence.

Sometimes the most meaningful Meetings for Worship are those when the silence is unbroken.

On each First Day (Sunday), two Meetings for Worship are held at New Garden Friends Meeting. The first, at 9:00 a.m., is a traditional silent Quaker Meeting for Worship. There is no music and no prepared message. The second Meeting for Worship, at 11 a.m., is called semi-programmed. The first half of the 11 a.m. Meeting for Worship usually contains music and a prepared message by the pastoral minister, another member New Gardener, or a guest. (Several members of New Garden Meetings are "recorded ministers," meaning that their gifts of ministry have been offically noted by North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends or another Quaker body.) The second half is conducted as a traditional Meeting for Worship.

New Garden Friends Meeting, through semi-programmed worship, maintains Quaker tradition while integrating music and prepared messages that fill the needs – or as Quakers say, speaks to the condition – of many members and attenders.