We hope this guide will be helpful to those who are new to the Meeting. It will answer many questions about the Meeting, its organization and its current activities, as well as help in getting additional information.
For further information or directions, contact: PlainfieldFriends or phone 454-4675.
When is Meeting for Worship?Meeting for Worship is held on Sundays at 10:30 AM. It lasts about an hour.
What happens in a Quaker Meeting?There is no single person, such as a priest or minister, who leads the worship. All participants sit quietly, allowing the Stillness to wash over them. It is a time to free ourselves from the world, a time of refreshment, prayer, confession, forgiveness, healing, listening to the voice of God within. When a person feels that there is something that should be shared, he or she will stand and speak (or sing, or play a musical instrument). We call this a message. It is important that some stillness be left between messages, so that all can reflect on what has been shared. A Meeting may have many messages, or be completely silent. In either case, if we have allowed ourselves to be still, we will be drawn together and uplifted in Love.
How do people know when Meeting is over?Meeting for worship ends when a designated person shakes hands with a neighboring person. Everyone then greets their neighbors. At Plainfield Meeting, the end of the worship period is followed by time for introductions and after-thoughts, which are thoughts that did not quite come together into a message during worship, but which still seem important to share. At this time we also share special joys and sorrows with each other followed by welcoming of guests and announcements. Please introduce yourself. We would like to meet you. After Meeting, we invite you to sign our guest book and join us for coffee, tea and conversation.
What programs are there for children?Children generally participate in the Meeting from 10:30 to 10:45 AM. They then leave for a First Day School program in our library or ground-floor classrooms.
How may I learn more about the beliefs and practices of Quakers?Quakers believe that personal experience of the Spirit speaks best. The simplest and most direct way to learn more is to ask questions of other Friends. You might also browse our library, or take a few brochures from the literature table.
How can I get to know other people who attend the Meeting?After Meeting each Sunday, many converse over a cup of coffee or tea. This is a good opportunity to meet a variety of members and attenders of the Meeting. The pot-luck lunches held immediately after Meeting on the third Sunday of each month offer an excellent opportunity for longer conversations and getting to know individuals a little better.
How can I find out about Meeting activities?The Meeting publishes a monthly newsletter - The Plainfield Friend. If you would like to be on the mailing list, please contact the editor or leave a message at 454-4675, spelling your name, address, phone number and e-mail address.
How can I become involved in Meeting activities?The Meeting asks various committees to attend to activities that are too detailed for the larger Meeting. There is always more worthwhile work to be done than hands to do it. Scan the committee list at the end of the guide for an activity that interests you and ask around -- someone will tell you who to contact.
Another way to become involved in Meeting activities is to participate in Monthly Meeting With a Concern for Business, which is further described below.
How is the organization structured?Plainfield Friends Meeting is a Monthly Meeting which is the primary organization of the Religious Society of Friends. While worship is conducted every Sunday, the Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business is held monthly, thus the term Monthly Meeting. The Monthly Meeting organizes activities to foster community, spiritual growth, and spiritually-inspired social action. The Monthly Meeting is also responsible for acceptance of new members and oversight of marriages. Each Monthly Meeting manages its own finances and property.
How is the Monthly Meetings business conducted?Much of the work of the Monthly Meeting is done through standing committees, each with a particular area of responsibility. Most concerns are first brought to the attention of the appropriate committee to handle the matter. If a meeting-wide decision is required, the matter is brought to Monthly Meeting, together with the committee's recommendation.
How are decisions made that affect the whole Meeting?Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business is held in the Meeting House following the Meeting for Worship on the 3rd Sunday of the month. Non-members are welcome to attend. The meeting is facilitated by the Clerk, who sets the agenda and listens for the "sense of the meeting". The process is based on the belief that God guides us in our business affairs, as in other parts of our lives. Decisions are not made by majority rule, consensus, or by referral to a higher secular authority. A decision is reached when the Clerk gathers a sense of where God is leading us on an issue and the meeting approves. This process requires everyone to remain in worship throughout and to speak on the issue when prompted by the Spirit. If agreement is not reached, the matter is reconsidered at a later date.
How is the work of the Meeting financed?There is no weekly collection. The work of the Meeting is financed by contributions from members and attenders. If you would like to contribute to the Meeting financially, money may be left in the Donations Box in the Library, or sent to the Treasurer. (Plainfield Friends Meeting, PO Box 215, Plainfield, VT 05667.
How does Plainfield Meeting
fit into the larger structure of Quaker organizations?Neighboring Monthly Meetings meet Quarterly for business, fellowship, and fun. Plainfield Friends Meetiing unites as the Northwest Quarter with other Monthly Meetings in Vermont and Western New Hampshire.
The Plainfield Friends Meeting also is a part of the New England Yearly Meeting. The Yearly Meeting provides guidance in Quaker faith and practice, publishes a periodic newsletter, The New England Friend, and holds a Meeting for Business annually for all Meetings in New England. The Yearly Meeting also maintains official contact with many Quaker service organizations such as American Friends Service Committee (national and international service projects) and the Friends Committee on National Legislation (a lobbying effort in Washington, DC), and participates in Friends General Conference, Friends United Meeting, and Friends World Committee on Consultation.
Ministry and CounselResponsible for spiritual life of the Meeting, pastoral care, and membership. In addition to overseeing marriages and memorial services it addresses concerns of the disabled as well as confidential consultation to members and attenders who are experiencing personal, family, work or other problems.
First Day SchoolResponsible for religious education. Provides religious classes for all ages of children during Sunday Meeting for Worship.
LibraryManages the Meeting Library, including purchasing, cataloging, repair, and inventory.
Peace and Social ConcernsOur Quaker beliefs guide how we live our lives and the work that we do in the world. Consequently, many of us participate in programs that work to increase justice and peace in the world. The Peace and Social Concerns Committee maintains contact with many programs which may be of interest to members and attenders of the Meeting, and it provides information and support to individuals interested in becoming involved in these and other programs. The specific programs vary over time.
Building and GroundsResponsible for the care and upkeep of the Meeting buildings and grounds. Sponsors seasonal Work Days where members and attenders take care of periodic upkeep.
Meetinghouse UseHandles reservations for the use of the Meetinghouse by ourtside individuals and organizations.
NominatingNominates individuals to serve in clerk and committee roles. Nominations are acted upon at Business Meeting each June.
FinanceProvides oversight of Meeting's financial resources and obligations.