Quakerism at Chestnut Hill Meeting

The best way to understand Quakerism is to experience it in person at a Quaker meeting for worship. 

 What would you be getting into?  

Quakers today have evolved from religious reformers of the 1600s England who challenged the idea that worshipers need clergy and rituals to commune with God.  Instead, early Friends, and we their descendants, believe that all people can experience the divine directly and without intermediaries, ritual or sacraments.  

The Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting community outside of the new Quaker meetinghouse. Photo credit: Terry Foss.

In our meetings for worship, members, attenders and visitors unplug from the chattering world and open ourselves to the eternal Spirit that each of us can experience directly, in our own way. Coming from many faith backgrounds, we experience Spirit variously as God, the Inner Light, Christ or simply Love. As we settle into silent worship, we seek communion with the Divine and each other, waiting expectantly for the Spirit to speak to us and through us. Anyone present who feels deeply moved by an inner leading may rise and offer vocal ministry. 

We  strive to look for “that of God” in all people from all faith traditions.  Our Quaker values, or “testimonies”, are based on integrity and equality for all.  

Our beliefs have led many Friends to action in the wider world.  Early Quakers were leaders in the abolitionist movement, prison reform and advocating for women’s equality.  Less nobly, Quaker settlers displaced native people and some early Quakers were also involved in the slave trade and ongoing racial inequities. Chestnut Hill meeting members are reckoning with this harmful part of our history and addressing ways to make amends.  

Our members and attenders are active in a variety of social causes including participating in local efforts for racial justice and peace.   The new (2013) meetinghouse was designed to welcome families transitioning to permanent housing through the Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network Program.  Until Covid-19 hit, we hosted four PIHN families for a month every summer in our meetinghouse and intend to do so again when the pandemic ebbs.  

Meeting members have been leaders in environmental work, including the Earth Quaker Action Team. 

We invite you to join us in worship and in the many ways we express our faith. Find out more about Quakers at websites for the Friends World Committee on Consultation, the Friends General Conference, the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting and by coming to Meeting for Worship with us.