Welcome to Dallas Friends Meeting!

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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 our meeting.

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.

Quaker Distinctives

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 members.

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.

  • Brevity is 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.

  • Ministry 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 encouraged.

  • While ministry 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.

  • Meeting for 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.

  • Similarly, 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.

 

 

 

 

Monthly meeting is an administrative term and doesn't have anything to do with the number of times worship or programs are held. Quaker communities are congregational in nature and the monthly meeting is the body of the Religious Society of Friends that has authority to receive members, perform marriages, and affiliate with Yearly Meetings.  Yearly Meetings are composed of monthly meetings, worship groups, and occasionally individuals who wish to meet and carry out programs on a wider scale than is possible at the local level. For detailed information on organization of a yearly meeting, see Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Faith & Practice.