We hope this may be useful in providing a brief introduction to Quaker Funerals for those who have not previously attended a Quaker meeting.
Quaker Funerals are based, like all other Quaker Meetings for Worship, on silent reflection and prayer. Quakers have learned that shared waiting in divine presence can bring many gifts. Among these are the comfort, which is found in the caring support of others and the beginnings of an understanding of how to move forward in difficulty or grief. Reassurance can come from touching, even briefly, the eternal reality, which encloses our world of space and time.
A Quaker Meeting for Worship begins as soon as the first people sit down and settle into expectant silence. Relatives and close friends of the deceased can, if they wish, sit together at the front. Two Quakers sit facing the gathered group, and are responsible for introducing and ending the Meeting.
After the introduction, the silence may be broken by anyone who feels moved by God to stand and speak. The contributions might be testimony to the qualities of the person who has died, reflections on the mystery of life and death, vocal prayer or reading helpful passages from the Bible or elsewhere. Whether in silence or in speech by his or her attentive thought and prayer, everyone present contributes to the power of the Meeting.
There may be a sense of joy as we celebrate and give thanks to God for the life now completed.
For this reason Quakers do not feel compelled to wear sombre colours.
The Meeting for Worship will be closed by two Quakers shaking hands, giving an encouragement for everyone else to do so.