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What to Expect if You Visit

Inland Valley Friends Meeting meets at 10:15am every First Day (Sunday). We are an unprogrammed meeting. This means that we have no assigned pastor or minister, but instead rely on the silence to lead us to a worship experience that is found by seeking within ourselves. Early Friends spoke of this as the Light Within, or the Seed Within. Out of this silent worship anyone who is moved to share a message may do so. Ideally, these messages are framed by silence and deepen the awareness of the spiritual among those present.

In this hour we seek awareness of the divine, an escape or respite from the busyness and hurry of our public and private lives. Silence offers time for the heart and mind to listen, to sit peacefully, seeking knowledge and understanding of God. We are able to begin to accept ourselves and each other as we are, and to release ourselves from fear, anxiety, emotional confusion and selfishness. People open to that of God within.

Meeting closes with the joining of hands. It is then our custom to introduce ourselves and make brief announcements. While there may be some who quietly depart, reflecting still on the experience of the Meeting, other Friends linger to socialize. We invite all to share in this important part of our religious fellowship.

When children are present, they begin their own activities by being dropped of by a parent or guardian at the First Day School (you are welcome to stay with a shy child in First Day School as long as necessary). Children share worship with us by joining us at the end of our hourly gathering. We signal the close of meeting with the joining of hands, followed by introductions, First Day School sharing, and announcements.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them. We do not think of you as a visitor, but as a welcome Attender.

For all of us, the experience of worship grows with patience and practice.

Worshiping with Children

Meeting for Worship can be a difficult place to bring children. The quietness of the room seems to magnify noise and movement. It was that way when we brought our children to Meeting too. It is usually the parents who are bothered the most by these sounds.

We value the presence of children in Meeting for Worship. We believe that the Light is present in everyone, regardless of age. Our community and our faith are broadened when children are present. They help as we seach to know the Light within ourselves and each other "in that which is eternal."

First Day (Sunday) School is available. Parents may drop off children as they arrive for worship. For most First Day School meetings, all children are together; once per month, the pre-school children meet separately from the school-aged children.

All ages of Friends worship together for the last part of the Meeting hour. Teens are welcome to remain in the meeting if they prefer. Some families encourage their teens to read an appropriate book during Meeting, pausing only if someone speaks, so that they can listen to the vocal ministry too.

Some practical suggestions that parents can start at home:

  • As a family, talk about why you are coming to meeting.
  • Practice having quiet time before meals or at bedtime.
  • When you come to Meeting, remind children that people inside are sitting quietly and that before Meeting is over they and the other children will join the Meeting for a quiet time.
  • Talk with your children about ways to center down so they can enter into the spirit of worship. Sitting on your lap or closing their eyes may help when they join the adult meeting.

Some suggestions that chidren may want to try to center down:

  • Listen to the words or music which repeat themselves in your mind.
  • Listen to the sounds outside of the Meeting room; inside of it; inside yourself.
  • Feel yourself breathe and try to give it a gentle rhythm.

For all of us, the experience of worship grows with patience and practice.