Formed as a worship group
in 1952 and becoming a
monthly meeting in 1956, DFM is a community of friends
with a spiritual basis. We’re glad you’re here, and we welcome you to
Some Background on Friends
As seekers of Truth, and in an
attempt to recover the spirit of early Christians, a movement began in mid 17th
century England that became known as the Religious Society of Friends, or
Quakers. Members of this movement believed there is an inner Light in each
person that provides direct access to God without need for intermediaries or
literal readings of Scripture. Waiting in silence, early Friends were inspired
by that "still, small voice of God" to work for justice, for equality, for
peace. The movement spread through many countries, including the United States,
where William Penn, a Quaker, founded Pennsylvania.
Quakers are diverse, with three
main branches in North America today:
the unprogrammed branch,
represented by Friends General Conference
a semi-programmed branch with
clergy, represented by Friends United Meeting
an evangelical branch,
represented by Evangelical Friends International
Dallas Friends Meeting and Fort
Worth Friends Meeting are unprogrammed monthly meetings in the Dallas/Fort Worth
area. There are unprogrammed meetings in many other Texas cities.
DFM is a member of South Central
Yearly Meeting, a regional association, which is in turn affiliated with Friends
General Conference, an association of Friends in the United States and Canada.
See http://www.scym.org for more information
about South Central Yearly Meeting and meetings in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas,
Louisiana, and Southern Missouri.
In the unprogrammed Quaker
meeting, we are all ministers. We have no paid clergy, and no pre-arrangement
for the meeting; hence, the meeting is "unprogrammed." Quakers consider outward
rites and symbols unnecessary and even a hindrance to spiritual experience, and
therefore do not celebrate sacraments. "Friends affirm the sacramental nature of
the whole of life when it is under the leading of the Spirit" (Philadelphia
Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice).
Working through committees,
volunteers from both members and attenders carry out the bulk of
responsibilities of the meeting. Service to others is also an integral aspect of
Quaker practice. Members are those who have joined the Religious Society of
Friends (RSF) through a monthly meeting.
Attenders has a special meaning for Friends. An attender is one who
participates regularly and over a period of time in a variety of Quaker
activities, taking responsibility for matters in the community, but has not
joined the RSF. With a few exceptions, attenders have the same privileges as
Quakers value certain principles,
called "testimonies", that have been demonstrated through faith and practice
over the centuries. The primary testimonies are simplicity, integrity, peace and
equality. We have no dogma or officially mandated doctrine.
Meeting for Worship
Meetings for worship in the
Dallas Friends Meeting are held on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. These
meetings for worship generally last an hour, and are "broken" by shaking hands
with one's neighbors, usually initiated by the clerk. The meeting for worship is
based on silence, in which each individual "centers down" and enters into
communion with God. The fellowship of the group intensifies this experience.
In the silence we seek to become
aware of the presence of God and wait expectantly for guidance from the Inward
Christ or the Inner Light. This guidance may be purely personal. At other times,
it will seem to be meant for the meeting, and the worshiper then has a
responsibility to share that message. This is called "vocal ministry". Silence
is also a ministry.
After meeting for worship (the
"rise of meeting") members, attenders, and visitors introduce themselves and
announcements are made. Coffee and light refreshments are served
for a short social period for the enjoyment of all. We are especially
blessed when visitors stay and talk with us about themselves and what brought
them to our meeting.
Meeting for Worship Guidelines
The following list may sound a
little stern. It addresses what might be called Quaker meeting etiquette
and what DFM members have found works best to provide for the activity of the
spirit and the gathering of the community in silence.
Try to arrive a few minutes before meeting to give yourself time to settle
down before the start of worship and to avoid disturbing others. Generally
the meeting house is not opened until about 15 minutes before the start of
worship. Dress is very informal.
appreciated during vocal ministry. Allow your listeners to interpret the
message for themselves. If you are led to speak, allow some silent time to
elapse before you begin. According to your need, you may stand or remain
sitting while delivering a message.
should be a spontaneous leading of the Spirit, so try to avoid preparing in
advance or speaking from a text. Speaking from your own insights is
during a given meeting may follow a theme, meeting for worship is not a
discussion group. Vocal ministry is a leading from the Spirit, not a
response to the ministry of others.
While no limit can be placed on the Spirit, worshipers are expected to
question impulses to speak more than once or at great length and discern
whether the impulse is from the Spirit or from one's inner need to be heard.
There are others avenues within the meeting for simply being heard.
worship is different from a support or therapy group. It may be a healing
experience, but "sharing" of our difficulties is not its purpose. In the
Dallas Friends Meeting we devote a short time at the end of worship for
expressing particular joy or sorrow and soliciting prayerful attention to
our personal needs.
while Quakers often have strong political and social views, meeting for
worship is not intended to be a forum for political advocacy.
Visitors may be given materials on Quaker worship which they can consult
during worship, but with a few exceptions, participants are expected to
refrain from reading or conversation during worship.
Cell phones should be turned off during worship, and refreshments and drinks
should not be brought into worship—although refreshments and drinks will be
provided when meeting for worship is over.
Friends do not "pass the hat" for contributions. If you want to make a
donation, locate the donation box in the entry/library. It's subtle.
If you want to know more about Friends, please ask the clerk or the person
who led the introductions at the end of that meeting (usually, but not
always, the clerk). This individual can point you to the right person
to answer your questions. Members of the meeting's Ministry and Oversight
Committee have the special charge of making sure visitors are greeted at the
door when they arrive; these committee members also try to remember to
introduce themselves by their function during the period after worship for
introductions so visitors can seek them out if they need assistance.
If you need to leave the meeting room during worship, simply go quietly to
the nearest door.
Please sign our guest book and let us know if you want to be put on our
newsletter mailing list.