Southampton Friends Meeting
710 Gravel Hill Road
Southampton, PA 18966
Presiding clerk: Carolyn Peters-Eckel
Tuesdays, 7:30 pm
4th Sunday, 10:00 am
Are you looking for a place to center yourself, with support from others who are doing the same? Do you seek a community in which to anchor your search to identify your unique calling? Do you want to leave isolation and fear behind? Would you like to join a search together for truth, while we strive for a more just world? Southampton Friends Meeting could be such a place for you.
We are a part of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), which originated in 17th-century England. While most Friends no longer stand out by wearing plain clothes or using plain speech ("thee" and "thou") as they once did, we are still distinct in that we have preserved spiritual and practical insights that differ in key respects from mainstream culture, especially in regard to decision making and conflict resolution.
Founded as a movement within Christianity that questioned basic assumptions of the Church of its time, the Religious Society of Friends today includes people who come from a variety of religious traditions and spiritual perspectives. Rather than stressing a creed or dogma, Friends emphasize testimonies of faith in our lives, such as integrity, simplicity, equality, and environmental stewardship.
Instead of assigning to a chosen leader the responsibilities for ministry (both spoken and active), the members of a Friends meeting as a whole assume these roles. All individuals are expected to seek the measure of Truth that is given to us via our "Inward Teacher", and to model in our lives the world we want to help bring into being.
Our Quaker worship service centers in silence, which is seasoned by occasional spoken messages from participants. Anyone who feels led to share a message may do so. Rather than being a forum for discussion, this silence is an opportunity to seek guidance together. In silence, Friends seek unmediated spiritual communication with God. We speak aloud when we feel messages given through us are intended for the group. After each message, we return to silence until another person is led to speak. Friends are careful to leave space between messages for all to consider what has been shared. Not infrequently, an entire meeting passes in a rich silence.
A fundamental Quaker principle recognizes "that of God in every one"--to quote the words of George Fox, a founder of our Religious Society. According to this principle, everyone is to be treated with respect and no one is inferior or superior. As a consequence, Quakers advocate peaceful means for resolving disputes and abhor war. Friends generally refuse participation in military structures and seek alternatives in all situations of conflict.
Since their beginnings Quakers have regarded women and men as spiritual equals. Originally, some Friends were slaveholders, but in the 18th century they collectively identified the evil in slavery. Many Friends became active abolitionists in the 19th century, and we continue to work for racial equality. In the 1950s, members of Southampton Meeting formed part of a protective Friendly presence around the home of Bill and Daisy Myers, the first African American family to move into nearby Levittown, Pennsylvania.
During business meetings, Quakers do not resort to voting, but persist in searching jointly for truth until achieving "a sense of the meeting" that is tender to the concerns of all.
Our congregation was founded in 1947 following an influx of Friends into Upper Southampton Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The original members were among the founders of Bryn Gweled Homesteads--a nearby intentional, cooperative community founded in 1940 that continues to thrive. The Meeting also drew in people from the surrounding communities, and it was active for many years. However, in the 1990s attendance declined when many of the original members moved on. A very small group is taking steps now to rejuvenate the Meeting and to restore its presence and involvement in the surrounding community.
We invite you to join us for worship and fellowship. The gathering lasts about an hour and ends with the shaking of hands, followed by sociability, and sometimes, light refreshments.