Letters - 18 June 2021

From Presence and promptings to Meeting for Worship

Presence and promptings

Hilary Johnson (4 June) asks if there is anyone else who has felt the presence of God. Yes! In our Meetings for Worship I am often aware of that I am in the presence of something greater than myself – call it the Spirit, the Light, or God or what you will. It is unfortunate that we have to use language to describe it. 

We need to trust the promptings of love and truth in our hearts and let go of our own prejudices and ideas. Thank you, Hilary, for your letter.

Margaret Sadler

Ministry and adjacency

The subject of what is appropriate ministry in Meeting for Worship is a reoccurring theme of concern for me.

It is clear to me that ministry needs to come primarily from that of God within us, rather than primarily from our analytical aspect. It is stated in Quaker faith & practice and that feels right. Because of the clarity of guidance on this, and my own sense of that being right, this is not an area that causes me concern.

My concern is about where to express what lies outside of ministry and worship, but is adjacent to it. Where to express deeply-held responses to ministry.

I had thought that ‘Afterword’ would be appropriate for this purpose, but in Meetings I have been to, it has been stated explicitly at the beginning of Afterword that ‘Afterword is in the spirit of Meeting for Worship, it is not a discussion’. In conversations with other Friends, the ‘Afterword is not a discussion’ perspective has been upheld.

So, this precludes my using Afterword, as what I want to express is in response to ministry, so it is by its nature a discussion.
I have on a number of occasions experienced a very uncomfortable sense of being prohibited from expressing my response to ministry, because it does not seem to fit into any of the allowed spaces.

I would value hearing other Friends’ experiences in this matter.   
Nicholas Wilson

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