Put God at 
the center of your life.

 

 Thoughts from Downingtown Friends  
 

Everyone who attends Downingtown Friends Meeting came to both our Meeting and Quakerism for different reasons. And while we may all be striving towards the same goal, how and why we arrived here are as different among us as there are people at our Meeting. Below is just a sampling of  thoughts from our Meeting's members and attenders:

The Light of God
Most of what I had learned about Quakerism I felt at home with... the Peace Testimony, the belief in that of God in everyone (whatever form that might take), and subsequently the honoring of whatever form the ministry might take coming through the individual, the sitting in silence, the value placed on simplicity and integrity. And as far as Downingtown Friends meeting specifically, the people are just so wonderful. The spirit and the vitality of this group makes me feel right at home, as well as the fact that Quakers, at least this group, can laugh at themselves.

Peace Testimony
It was 1980, and I was working at the corporate office in downtown Philadelphia. Around the corner was a Quaker Meeting. There were two posters on the gate. One talked about the Quaker Peace Testimony which immediately attracted my attention. The second said “Monthly Meeting, Sundays 10:15." It just didn't say which Sunday. Ten years went by when I discovered Faith & Practice while packing up to move. Inside, there was a note for me: "You are a Quaker, and you didn't know it."

Education
I moved to Philadelphia in 1975 to attend the University of Pennsylvania. I became intrigued by the Quaker history and presence in Philadelphia. I took a closer look at Friends Meetings when we were considering where our children should attend school. Like many other parents, the exposure to Quaker thought via a Friends school made me want to be more involved. 

Silence
My reason for coming to Quaker Meeting was for the silence. Our last church had a formal service that felt like calisthenics–stand up, sit down, pray but get ready to sing in a few seconds, and get preached at. There was too much noise and never time to find your spiritual center. We stuck at Downingtown Meeting because of the really great people that make it what it is. We really like it here. 

What It's Not
I was raised Catholic but couldn't stay in the Church anymore. I objected to the Catholic Church's position on women priests, divorce, abortion, and sexuality. I determined that when I had children, I must find a faith tradition that I could actually share with some enthusiasm. I visited many different churches. I tried both Episcopalian and Unitarian for quite some time. I never knew any Quakers until I moved to Pennsylvania. I ended up at Downingtown Friends by the quirk of our buying our house in Downingtown, itself. I really loved the feel of this Meeting from the first time I visited, and high on my list was the obvious presence of children. I felt it was a good place to bring my own kids.

Spirituality
I am glad to have found a home among Friends. It is a whole new spiritual journey for me, and it feels right on so many levels. I am inspired and grateful to be a part of Downingtown Meeting whenever I can. The simple directness of appreciating where each member is and growing together in that spirit fills me with joy.

Sharing
I've been interested in Quaker beliefs, and particularly the focus on inclusion, equality, simplicity, and peace, for years and occasionally attended Meeting for Worship at different places in the Philadelphia area. I loved the silent worship and the sharing by members. After moving to Downingtown, my husband and I wanted to join a church or group to help us continue to grow spiritually. We tried a few different places, but nothing felt right. I called Downingtown Meeting on a Thursday morning to see if children were welcome since our girls were only two and four at the time. A member answered my questions and encouraged us to come that Sunday. We did, and we've been coming for over two years. 

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