When you mention Quakers, many people think of the past. In the turbulence of the English Civil War, Quakers were one of a number of religious groups which came about from people seeking a new social order, and a new way of worshipping, based on simplicity, equality, truth and a direct experience of God.
Persecuted and imprisoned in the17th Century (in Abergavenny as across England, Wales and America), they continued to hold Meetings for Worship. In the 18th and 19th Centuries, stopped from using their talents in the professions, Quakers rose in trade, business and banking, while you might associate 20th Century Quakers with pacifism and social movements. In the 21st Century, Quakers are active in peace and environmental and social causes, most of us living ordinary lives in ordinary jobs.
So who are Abergavenny’s Quakers today? While some grew up in Quaker families, a majority have come to the Religious Society of Friends as adults seeking a different way of worship, or just a time for reflection in a busy world. A Quaker meeting for Worship is unlike a church service because it takes place in silence. Friends join in silent prayer, each in their own way seeking to experience the presence of what most Christians would call the Holy Spirit, the ‘still small voice’. There are no pre-prepared prayers, no hymns, and no minister; anyone may speak who feels moved to do so. Afterwards, we have a chance to socialise over coffee or sometimes a shared meal.
Everyone is welcome in a Quaker meeting, including families with children. Abergavenny Quakers meet on Sunday mornings at Llanfoist Village Hall, at 10:30. This Quaker Week in October, (or any other time) why not find out more?