Quakers in Hamilton

Our Meetinghouse
Our Meeting House

Thought of the Month for May, 2018

In our part of the world, southern Ontario, May is a month of growth and renewal. Migratory birds have returned and are nesting. Daffodils and crocuses are up at the beginning of the month. By the end we have all sorts of flowers, including blooming trees that promise fruit. It's the month we plant both seeds and seedlings, with confidence that they will grow and live. So let us celebrate May with renewal, growth, and life. For those of us who are young, this is natural and inevitable, as opportunities arise and new scenarios unfold. For the older folk (not "aging", since we are all doing that from the moment we are born!), new growth and new life may seem to require more of an effort, but this is the time to heed Betty Friedan's excellent observation: "Aging is not 'lost youth' but a new stage of opportunity and strength."

Beverly Shepard,
Clerk, Hamilton Monthly Meeting

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The Essentials

Everyone is welcome!

Meeting for Worship every Sunday at 10:30 am

First Day School (for Children): Second and Fourth Sundays, Sept-June

Hamilton Monthly Meeting
Religious Society of Friends
7 Butty Place
Hamilton, ON L8S 2R5

hamiltonmonthlymeeting@gmail.com
905 523 8383

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How to find us

Our Meeting House is located at 7 Butty Place in West Hamilton. The nearest bus stop is 3 minutes (230 metres) away at Whitney at Lower Horning on HSR routes 5A (Eastbound) and 5C (Westbound). Stronger walkers might consider using the stop at Main Street opposite Main, 1 km away, served by HSR Routes 5 and 52.

The Meeting House is easily accessible by car. Click for map

Parking is available on street as well as in a small parking lot at the rear of the meetinghouse.

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About Quakers

If we go deep within we can find a direct connection to the Divine, however we may conceive of it. For some the Divine is a personal God, for others a pervasive spirit or feeling of unity with the universe. Quakers meet in silent worship to strengthen this connection and bear witness to its power in our lives. From the stillness that puts us in touch with the Divine comes our corporate testimony of simplicity, honesty, and non-violence. Work towards just and equitable treatment of all human beings and close attention to the health and sustainability of our communities and the environment that supports them are examples of these testimonies. Historically these testimonies have led many Quakers to the forefront of movements for social justice: prison reform, abolition of slavery, pacifism, and indigenous rights, among others.

Hamilton Quakers maintain a meeting house in West Hamilton. We provide social support and friendship among adults and a first day (Sunday) school for our children. We welcome visitors.

The Quaker way is available to all. It may be particularly attractive to those strongly concerned with peace and social justice and to those with a meditative or mindfulness practice who seek a supportive community.

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Resources

Feel free to browse our recent newsletters.

For further information about Quakers generally and Canadian Quakers specifically visit Quaker.ca, the website of the Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

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What to expect during a Quaker Meeting for Worship

A Quaker Meeting creates a space of gathered stillness. We come together where we can listen to the promptings of truth and love in our hearts, which we understand is arising from God. Our meetings are based on silence, a silence of waiting and listening. There may be silence for quite some time but that does not mean nothing is happening.

We are caught up in the still spirit of the meeting, and all of us are trying to come nearer to each other and to God, without reciting creeds, singing hymns or repeating set prayers. We do not worship in isolation: we try to hold ourselves aware of all those gathered with us, uniting in a common purpose, so that the waiting and listening become an act of sharing.

We come to Meeting because we feel the need to worship. It is important to us. Meeting for Worship starts as soon as the first person enters the room and sits down. Go in as soon as you are ready and sit anywhere you like.

You may find it easy to relax in the silence and enter into the spirit of the meeting, or you may be disturbed by the strangeness of the silence, by distractions or by your own thoughts. Don't worry about this. We all find it difficult to settle at times. When we return again and again to the centre of our being, we can know the presence of God. Try, if only for brief periods, to be quiet in mind, body and spirit. Bring whatever is pressing on your mind to meeting. It can be a time of insight, revelation, healing or calm.

Nearly everyone at some time seems to want to find God in themselves, even those who find it hard to believe that God exists. Using a different image or concept such as 'spirit' or 'light' can be helpful.

The silence may be broken if someone present feels called to say something which will deepen and enrich worship. Anyone is free to speak as long as it is done in response to a prompting of the spirit which comes in the course of the meeting. This breaks the silence for the moment, but does not interrupt it. A strong tradition holds that one should not speak more than once in any given meeting for worship.

Listen with an open mind to what is said. Each contribution may help somebody, but our needs are different and can be met in different ways. If something does not speak to your condition or need, try to reach the spirit behind the words. The speaker wants to help the Meeting, so take care not to reject the offering by negative criticism.

Each of us brings our own life experience to Meeting. Some people will have a profound sense of awe and wonder because they know God is present. Others will be far less certain. They may only be ready to hold an awareness that their experiences in life point beyond themselves to a greater whole. Others will know their direction is a seeking to be open towards people in a spirit of love and trust.

In the quietness of a Quaker Meeting worshippers can become aware of a deep and powerful spirit of love and truth, transcending their ordinary experience. We seek to become united in love and strengthened in truth, so we enter a new level of living, despite the different ways we may account for this life-expanding experience.

After about an hour, the person closing Meeting for that day will turn and shake hands with some nearby. Then there will be a period of announcements and time for introductions. Refreshments will be served. Feel free to speak to anyone, particularly if you wish to know more about Quakers. Literature is available and books can be borrowed from our library.

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What's On?

Meeting for Worship for Business:

May 6 at 12:30 p.m.

All Friends and Attenders are welcome. The best decisions are made when the most spirits are present.

Spring Retreat

Saturday May 12

Save the date for our annual spring retreat. The theme will be "What canst thou say?: our personal Quaker Witness"

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