Patricia McBee, former Executive Director of Friends Center in Center City Philadelphia, will speak about the silent Quaker form of worship on first day (Sunday) April 9 at 9:45 a. m. at the historic Newtown Friends Meetinghouse, 219 Court Street. Meeting for Worship in the manner of Friends will follow at 11 a.m. The public is invited.
Quakers in the Philadelphia area traditionally meet in silent worship with “no one prepared to speak and no one prepared not to speak.” There is no professional or appointed minister or clergy since Quakers believe that each person is able to have direct access to the Divine and, therefore, be “a minister.” Likewise, there is no program or ritual involved other than the silence in which people gather. McBee said, “This seemingly unstructured form of worship can seem mysterious to those who have not experienced it (and sometimes to those who have).”
Patricia McBee will base her discussion on a chapter entitled Worship from the book Silence and Witness by Michel Birkel, professor at the Earlham School of Religion (Quaker) in Richmond, Indiana. She said her presentation will discuss “the ideal Meeting for Worship and actual practice of a Meeting for Worship, involving centering (focusing), the essence of silence, the communal dimension of worship in silence, the role of vocal ministry (which may be offered by anyone present), and the effect of worship on one’s outward life.”
McBee has her BA in Religion from Earlham College and her M.Ed. in Group Process from Temple University. She has been an administrator: for various non-profit agencies and most recently served as Executive Director of Friends Center in Philadelphia. She has also led, with her husband Brad Sheeks, Couple Enrichment retreats for many years, and she is a frequent speaker and writer on issues regarding Quaker spirituality, Quaker process of conducting business, and care for the earth. Patricia McBee is a member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (Quakers) and lives in Newtown.
Newtown Friends Meeting, co-founded in 1815 by Quaker minister and artist, Edward Hicks, First Day (Sunday) activities are open to the public with Sunday School classes for children and adults at 9:45 a.m. and worship based on silent expectation at 11 a.m. Childcare is provided.