Sunday, May 7, 2017

Worshipping with our Friends

This morning we visited the Pittsburgh Friends Meeting. It was in part a social visit, as we are friends with a couple who are members there, and in part an anthropological excursion, as we were curious about how Quakers worship. It also marked the last stop of our Sunday morning "church shopping," as Dear Husband gets ready to assume the permanent position of organist at Third Presbyterian Church.

Quakers use an unstructured form of Sunday morning worship. Before the meeting, DR and I gathered in the parlor for an informal hymn sing. I picked "Down by the Riverside." Then we moved to the meeting room and sat in waiting expectation for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For probably 45 minutes, we prayed and meditated. Toward the end, two Friends shared thoughts about their spiritual and psychological struggles. Finally there were introductions, announcements, and lunch. We also wrote an anti-war letter to our senator as part of a letter-writing campaign.

The body-scholar part of me couldn't help but catalog the things I noticed when you gather two dozen bodies together in one room:

They breathe,
clear their throats,
have borborygmi,
shift in their seats,
cross their arms,
scratch an itch,
re-cross their legs,
stare out the window (bored?),

It was the most quiet I have had in my life for a long time, and afterward there was food, conversation, and social justice. What's not to like? We're glad we didn't let the Pittsburgh Marathon tying up the streets deter us from the leaving the house.


  1. hi, thanks for visiting us! may we use your lovely meetinghouse photo for the meeting (giving you photo credit)? please let me know. rachelmichellek (at yahoo)

  2. At Meeting Sunday, the introduction you shared sounded like a couple who friends of ours living in Champaign, IL - Skip & Ann Neely - told us were moving to Pittsburgh from the mid-west. Could you serendipitously be them (they?)? The Avners (if you are) and if you're not the co-incidence is eerie.


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