|Crosswicks Friends Meeting||
Quakers, or Friends, are members of a family of religious movements collectively known as the Religious Society of Friends. The central unifying doctrine of these movements is the priesthood of all believers, a doctrine derived from a verse in the New Testament, 1 Peter 2:9. "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." This "marvelous light" is what the Quakers call the "inner light" inherent in all humans; i.e., that there is that of God in everyone.
Crosswicks Friends practice waiting worship (also known as unprogrammed worship)—that is, worship where the order of service is not planned in advance, which is predominantly silent, and which may include unprepared vocal ministry from anyone present, so long as it is credible to those assembled that the speaker is moved to speak by God.
Quakerism began in the period during and shortly after the English Civil War (1642–1651), when many dissenting Christian groups emerged, including the Seekers and others. A young man named George Fox was dissatisfied by the teachings of the Church of England and non-conformists. He had a revelation that "there is one, even, Christ Jesus, who can speak to thy condition," and became convinced that it was possible to have a direct experience of Christ without the aid of an ordained clergy. He had a vision on Pendle Hill in Lancashire, England, in which he believed that "the Lord let me see in what places he had a great people to be gathered". Following this he travelled around England, the Netherlands, and Barbados preaching and teaching them with the aim of converting them to his faith. The central theme of his Gospel message was that Christ has come to teach his people himself. His followers considered themselves to be the restoration of the true Christian church, after centuries of apostasy in the churches in England.
Quakerism gained a considerable following in England and Wales, and the numbers increased to a peak of 60,000 by 1680 (which represented 1.15% of the population). However the dominant discourse of Protestantism viewed the Quakers as a blasphemous challenge to social and political order, leading to official persecution in England and Wales under the Quaker Act of 1662 and the Conventicle Act of 1664.
In search of economic opportunities and a more tolerant environment in which to build communities of “holy conversation,” some Friends emigrated to the Northeastern region of the United States in the early 1680s. The earliest of these was a group from Yorkshire and surrounding counties that settled along the east bank of the Delaware River in what was then called West New Jersey. They founded a meeting in Burlington which later joined with Philadelphia to create a joint yearly meeting. Chesterfield Friends Meeting (later renamed Crosswicks) is a part of this yearly meeting, now simply called the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
As an outgrowth of this direct connection of the Quaker meetings in the Delaware Valley with George Fox and the original Quakers (including William Penn), we engage in silent or waiting worship. Friends gather together in "expectant waiting upon God" to experience his still small voice leading them from within. There is no plan on how the meeting will proceed. We believe that God plans what will happen, with his spirit leading people to speak. When an individual Quaker feels led to speak, he or she will rise to their feet and share a spoken message ("vocal ministry") in front of others. When this happens, we believe that the spirit of God is speaking through the speaker. After someone has spoken, it is generally considered good etiquette to allow a few minutes pass in silence before further vocal ministry is given. Sometimes a meeting is entirely silent, sometimes many speak. These meetings lasted for several hours in George Fox's day, but our modern meetings are often limited to an hour, ending when two people (usually the elders or the clerk) exchange the sign of peace by handshake. This handshake is then shared by the others.
Crosswicks Friends Meeting
First Day (Sunday) Meeting:
Assembly (in the First Day School)
Meeting for Worship (in the Meeting House)
(Note: In July and August there is no
Assembly, and Meeting begins at 9:30 am)
Clerk of Meeting: John Andrews
Treasurer: Mary Sohler
& Webmaster: Russell Caldwell
As Quakers, we believe that all members share in the duty and privilege of caring for one another, and we have found it useful to identify specific duties and responsibilities and assign them to committees. Our committees meet irregularly, so please check our Calendar for upcoming committee meetings. If you would like information about a particular committee, please contact us here.
Peace and Social Action: Planning and carrying out service projects and addressing peace and social justice issues.
Worship and Ministry: Concern for the spiritual life of the Meeting, including guidance, counsel and ministry.
Care and Counsel: Originally called the Overseers Committee, it deals with the collective care of the members and the Meeting, including sickness, marriages and funerals.
Financial: The meeting treasurer is the convener of this committee, which invites attendance of all other committee conveners.
Religious Education: Concerns the First Day School for children as well as adults. The library also falls under the purview of this committee.
Scholarship: Money from the budget and specific fundraisers are used to benefit members attending Quaker schools or workshops.
Nomination: This committee meets when needed to nominate members for the election of officers and committee conveners.
Trustees: Meets annually.
Property: Deals with maintenance and repair of our two main buildings, our six-acre property and the Orthodox Meeting on Ward Avenue.
Fellowship: Concerns the social activities of the Meeting, including potlucks, breakfasts, crafts nights, etc.