New to Quakers?

Thinking about attending a Quaker Meeting?

If you would like to find out more about Quakers before trying out a Meeting a good place to start is by searching “Quakers in Britain” on your browser, but you could just come along to Bridport Meeting….

If you walk down the east side of South Street and stop opposite St Mary’s Church you will be able to see the Quaker Meeting House sign. It’s the building through the covered passageway adjoining the almshouses and if you look straight on you will glimpse the Peace Garden which is open to everyone for quiet reflection or conversation, and is popular for its sunny benches for coffee or lunch.

The Meeting House is where we gather for Meeting for Worship at 10:30 on Sundays for an hour and Wednesdays at 10:30am for half an hour. Meetings have been taking place in this space, which was first a humble barn, since the late 17th century.

Rooted in Christianity and guided by our testimonies of truth, peace and simplicity Quakers seek equality for all, following Jesus’ example of love in action. Everyone is welcome to come, whatever their faith or none, and some people who come will also attend other churches. We hope that we provide a home for those whose spiritual journey has taken different routes to find what our founder George Fox called “that of God in everyone”. Quakers are members of Churches Together and are pleased to offer opportunities for people to come together from different faiths, such as in the Week of Prayer for World Peace.

Some of you may already know that Quaker meetings are largely silent; you may have spotted Meetings popping up in a couple of television dramas! Young visitors are always welcome and we have plenty of activities for them in an adjoining room. We have no ministers or creeds so we sit in a circle around a low table on which we have a few flowers from the garden.

The Meeting begins when the first person enters the room, so we come in quietly. You can choose where you would like to sit. It takes a few minutes for everyone to settle down and once we feel that we are gathered there will be a reading. After that anyone who feels drawn to stand and speak may do so. It can be quite an experience to do this; on your first occasion you may feel that “quaking” is a good description for it! After each ministry there will be silence so that we can consider what has just been shared. Sometimes there will be a number of ministries, sometimes just a few. Ministries are very rarely prepared in advance but a common theme may develop. It does not feel like an empty silence, but as the mind calms we hope to provide an unpressured opportunity for spiritual exploration with the support of others. When the Meeting is due to end two Quakers will shake hands and then we all shake hands with those near us. After this there is an opportunity for those to express the thoughts they had during Meeting that didn’t quite make it into ministry; we call this “afterwords”. We then share news of friends and notices.

There is always coffee and conversation afterwards. Before you leave you are welcome to pick up some of our leaflets or a little booklet called “Advices and Queries”. During these Covid times we have adapted our arrangements in order to keep everyone safe, but what hasn’t changed is the very special atmosphere of our Meeting for Worship.