Frequently Asked Questions About Gwynedd Meeting
- Are visitors welcome to your worship and events?
Can anyone come and worship with you?
Yes, we are delighted to welcome visitors to worship, First Day (Sunday) school and all events. See our Welcome Brochure.
- Who is included in the Gwynedd Meeting Community?
We are a community of about 150 active members of diverse ages, ethnicities and walks of life and from many different spiritual backgrounds. We offer silent Meeting for Worship every Sunday from 9:30 to 10:30 am. First Day (Sunday) school for adults is from 10:45 to 11:45 am, every week, except the third Sunday of the month. Following the First Day School we have coffee and fellowship until 12:30.
Our community also includes a Preschool and Kindergarten held during the week from September through May, which typically consists of 12 staff members and approximately 130 children.
- Do you have Sunday School and day care for children?
Yes, but we call Sunday School "First Day School." It is held for children from 10:45 to 11:45 am every Sunday from September through May and is divided into age-groups for all youth aged 5 years and older.
We have childcare for infants and children less than 5 years old during both the Meeting for Worship and the Sunday school times from 9:30 am-12:00 noon.
- How do you worship?
We worship in silence, waiting, listening for God’s guidance, aspiring to connect with the Inner Light, which for many of us centers in the divine Christ. Sometimes a worshipper is moved to stand and speak an impromptu message that he/she feels is divinely inspired, returning afterward to reflection and seeking. Because this connection with the divine is a personal experience, we do not have an intermediary in the form of a minister to guide us. We don’t have a paid clergy; those functions are carried out by the Care & Counsel and Worship & Ministry committees. (Other committees handle various aspects of stewardship, property, religious education, etc. The Clerk of the Meetings is the administrative facilitator and he/she presides over the monthly Business Meetings, which are held in the spirit of a Meeting for Worship. Decisions are made through seeking a sense of unity among us, not by voting).
- Is there diversity among you?
Yes. We are Seekers of God’s truth and each of us is on a spiritual journey. This means that there are different levels of emphasis on the role of Jesus Christ and the Bible among us. For further information, please go to Quaker Beliefs
- Where is Gwynedd Meeting?
We are located on the corner of Sumneytown Pike and Rt. 202 in North Wales, Pa. 19454, not far from Rt. 309, the Northeast Extension of the PA turnpike or the PA turnpike, itself. We are 25 miles north of Philadelphia. (See Directiions)
- Whom do I contact if I want to visit and get more information about Gwynedd Meeting?
Our phone number is 215-699-3055. We do not have full-time office staff, but your calls will be returned. The Meeting’s email address is: email@example.com.
All this and more is available from the Contacts link. Also, we have someone in the office Monday throiugh Friday so there is a good chance yoiur call will be answered by someone “live."
- Who are Quakers and where can I find more information about Quakers?
Quakers are members of the Religious Society of Friends, a faith that emerged as a new Christian denomination in England during a period of religious turmoil in the mid 1600's. It is practiced today, in a variety of forms, around the world. George Fox was founder of this movement. To members of this religion, the words "Quaker" and "Friend" mean the same thing. Quakers are an active, involved, faith-based community living in the modern world.
- Why do Quakers call themselves “Friends”?
The term is a reflection of our belief in equality among fellow human beings seeing “that of God” in every one. The label of “Friends” was taken from words in the Gospel of John 15 following the parable of the Vine and the Branches: “I have told you this so my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
- Are Quakers Christians? Do they believe in the Bible?
The teachings of Jesus Christ are at the core of Quakerism. The reliance upon the exact words in the Bible varies among us. It is the spirit of the words that informs us. See Quaker Beliefs.
- What do Quakers Believe?
We believe that there is “that of God,“ that is, some divine essence, in every person. Because there is “that of God” in everyone, we are all equal, and because of that we refrain from all violence. We try to lead simple lives and avoid ostentatious speech and lifestyles. We believe in continuing revelation…we sense ourselves to be led. We believe that oiur understanding can be distorted by personal desires and issues. To balance this potential, we practice corporate reflection and discernment when important decisions are called for.
- Why do Quakers object to serving in the armed forces?
Ever since George Fox and other Friends declared in 1661 to King Charles II of England that "the spirit of Christ...will never move us to fight any war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdoms of this world," Friends have on a corporate basis opposed all wars and have promoted nonviolent, non-coercive strategies for resolving conflicts between nations. Opposition has included supporting individuals who conscientiously object to war by refusing to register for conscription, refusing to serve when conscripted, or refusing to pay taxes for war. Nevertheless, because Friends emphasize the individual nature of spiritual revelation rather than attempting to enforce a creed on all members, it is true that some Friends have chosen to serve in the armed forces, usually as non-combatants.
See http://www.gwyneddfriends.org/co.htm for more information.
- Are there different branches of Quakers?
Yes, there are three different umbrella organizations representing the three main branches: unprogrammed (as Gwynedd is) in Friends General Conference, Friends United Meeting, similar to other Protestant churches, and the Evangelical Friends Meeting. Different parts of the USA have different preponderances of branches, as do the various other countries. (See the history link)
- Are there Quakers in other countries?
Yes, Quakers originated in England and there are Meetings in 75 countries and in every state in the United States.