We are pleased to announce that we have returned to in-person worship in a “hybrid format” at the Aquinas Browne Center as of Sunday, September 19th. At our September Meeting for Worship with attention to Business, the decision was made to offer a combination of virtual worship on Zoom and traditional in-person worship.
Friends who wish to join us in-person on Sunday will worship in the Living Room space at Browne Center as we were doing before the pandemic.
Please note: Aquinas College requires that masks be worn indoors at all campus facilities, and we also request that everyone attending in-person be fully vaccinated for COVID19.
Friends who wish to continue attending virtually will connect with a Zoom invitation as we have been doing since March of 2020. There will be a projected image at Browne Center of those attending virtually for those attending in-person, and those attending by Zoom will be able to see everyone gathered at the Browne Center.
Meeting for Worship will be conducted as we have been doing, with Friends entering into Silent Worship at 10:30. At 11:00 the Clerk will read a Query for all to consider during the second half of Worship. At 11:25, the Greeter will ask for “prayers, concerns, joys to share or further ministry left unspoken“. At 11:30 the Greeter will ask; “are Friends clear?” which indicates the rise of Meeting. The Clerk will then conduct a Friendly Check-in allowing each person in attendance, whether virtually or in-person, to give a brief update on how they are doing and anything happening in their lives that they wish to share. This has become a tradition during our Zoom worship that we wish to continue.
Please plan to join us on Sunday, either in-person or by Zoom.
World Quaker Day – 2021
Grand Rapids Friends Meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA has just recently returned to a hybrid in-person Meeting for Worship format, with several people gathering at the Aquinas College Browne Center and others attending virtually by Zoom. On World Quaker Day, Sunday, October 3rd, eleven Friends attended virtually and four in-person. Our Meeting portrait shows those 15 smiling faces. You can see the smiling twinkle in the eyes of those with masks.
Though our World Quaker Day celebration was simple, our time together was heartwarming and the sharing of Friends during and after Worship was heartfelt, as always. We are all doing what we can to keep each other healthy and safe, while keeping our small Quaker community vital. Friends have joined us from all over Michigan and from many places around the U.S.
We continue to hold all of you in the Light, all over the world!
“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
“And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
“And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”
In keeping with current public health policy, our first ever virtual Meeting for Worship on Zoom was held on Sunday, March 22nd. We had about 30 people in attendance, from both Grand Rapids Meeting and Holland Meeting, with a few attending from out of state. Thank you to those who attended, for being there and sharing part of your Sunday morning with us in Worship and visiting. It is so important that we help each other stay connected during this challenging time.
We will continue this method of communal worship each Sunday as long as necessary, If you need directions on how to attend, please contact the Clerk by emailing: email@example.com.
Many have participated in meetings of various kinds on Zoom; few have participated in a meeting for worship on Zoom. To help establish and sustain the quality of worship, we have prepared some advices below.
Advices for Participating in Online Worship
- Enter the meeting in silence as you would for an in-person meeting for worship. Do not introduce yourself when you enter.
- Keep your device on mute unless you are speaking. Everyone will be muted by default upon entering, and the “host” has the ability to mute and unmute any participant. Background noise such as dogs barking or cell phones ringing can be very disruptive to the spirit of worship and make it hard to hear.
If you are led to speak:
- As always, allow some silence after any preceding message to allow it to settle in our hearts.
- Unmute your device.
- Introduce yourself, simply saying “This is <your name.> (Some may participate by phone, so it especially helps them.)
- Pause briefly in case someone else has also started to speak. If so, wait for the clerk to recognize you. Otherwise, start speaking.
- Mute your device when you are done. (The host may do so if you forget.)
- Continuing in worship, the clerk will invite afterthoughts and joys and concerns as usual. Continue to follow the same advices for speaking.
- If you need to get the attention of the host or clerk for any reason, use the chat feature and choose to whom to address your message or use the raise hand feature. If you are using only a phone to connect, consider texting the host first; unmute and speak to the group, if necessary.