Who are the builders of, and worshipers at this meeting house? Are we only a sect of the past or do we really still exist today?
We, who have been called Seekers of he Truth, Quakers and Friends, are members of the Religious Society of Friends. Yes, we are a sect, but we do not separate ourselves from the world about us.
We believe God is present in every person and that peace is preferable to war. We gather in silent communal worship to wait on the Spirit of God. Sometimes It moves us in other ways.
We have no formal creed, no ritual, dogma or liturgy. Instead, to help us follow Divine Guidance, we pose, both individually and corporately, searching queries; we strive to trust to love, rather than to react to fear; we work towards peace because we believe it is the only way; we are led to implement our concerns for the equal rights of all. Many of us have been drawn to this religion – Quakerism – because of its dual commitments to spiritual awareness and social action.
These beliefs are not always easy to hold not to honor with action, but our search has led us to commit ourselves to them.
Perhaps this approach of Friends could be helpful and meaningful to you. We welcome you to accept our invitation to search with us at this or any other meetinghouse or place. If you wish, please come to join with us for worship. Your children are also welcome either at Meeting for worship or First Day School.
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Our Meeting is representative of a branch of the Society of Friends known as conservative. Such Meetings have no formal creed, liturgy, or rites and have no formal pastoral authority; we try to conserve what we believe are the essential values of Quakerism.
Quaker worship occurs in silence and finds its meaning therein. The Meeting begins when the first worshiper takes her place and lifts her heart to God. During the silent worship, Friends may be moved to speak. Whether speaking or listening, it is for each to hold fast to the essence of the ministry: “Mind that which is pure within you to guide you to God.” The Meeting continues until the convenor shakes the hands of his neighbor to close the Meeting.
For those uncertain how to share our silent worship, we offer these suggestions:
• Put all distractions out of mind, turn your heart to God, and listen within the silence, patiently and without expectation, to experience what God may reveal. This “waiting upon the Lord” is the essence of Quaker worship.
• Do not strive for an experience. We have found God’s spirit to be a spirit of peace, which strivings and strainings tend to conceal.
• Do not be afraid to ask humbly in your heart for God’s help and guidance.
• When thoughts arise and come between you and the worship, simply entrust the matters these thoughts express to God’s hands, and return your mind to quiet waiting.
Early Friends were active in opposition to war and worked on issues arising from criminal justice, prison reform, women’s suffrage, and the abolition of slavery. Today, active involvement by Friends is common in peace and social justice issues, as well as criminal justice. The work of the American Friends Service Committee is well known.
The Society of Friends arose during the religious turmoil of 17th century England, which for some took the form of a feeling of alienation from the formality and ritual of established churches. Early Quaker leaders like George Fox, Margaret Fell, and William Penn provided the inspiration and guidance that helped Friends withstand severe persecution. This persecution strengthened early Quakers’ resolve to honor truth and integrity, to live simply, and to work towards peace.
Friends came to North America in 1656 and to Iowa in 1835. Beginning in 1937, Meetings for Worship were held in Ames at irregular intervals. In 1939, regular weekly Meetings began in the Memorial Union on the Iowa State University campus. Since 1963, the Ames Meeting has been affiliated with the Iowa Conservative Yearly Meeting, founded in 1863.