Traditionally, church services are led by a minister. But some are not.
I happened upon the Quakers of Buckingham Meeting soon after I moved here from Miami in 2003. Quakers were the only religious order I could find incorporating insights about the Iraq War into their silent worship practice.
Quakers are a long-honored tradition in Pennsylvania; William Penn incorporated Quaker sensibilities in dealing with Native America.
Quaker meetings are different from what other Protestants have experienced. Sunday meetings for worship, which they call “first day,” consist of an extended period — anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour — to practice “silent worship.” The time is spent in contemplation, but I soon began meditating.
Meditation is the essence of self-led thought, and is supposed to leave the practitioner with a sense of wonder and spiritual satisfaction. At least, that’s how I practice it. A big plus: it embraces all religions.
After experiencing strong differences with Buckingham’s Quaker leadership, I found sustenance in weekly Sunday meditation at Pebble Hill Church’s yellow barn in Doylestown. It seems no person or denomination has all the answers; the truth resides within each of us.
Attenders are advised not to wear cologne, aftershave or perfume. Also, it’s helpful to settle overactive stomachs beforehand, as the silence enhances involuntary bodily noises.
Pebble Hill’s yellow barn is located at 320 Edison-Furlong Road, Doylestown. Weekly meditation is held Sundays at 9 am.