About Us

Welcome to Central Philadelphia Quaker Meeting!

And welcome to this introduction to our meeting (congregation) and to the Quaker way.

We'd love to talk to you: We hope you take the chance to talk to one of us during the coffee hour after meeting for worship, or at one of our events. Or ask our meeting secretary to have someone call you at your convenience: office@cpmm.org or (215) 241-7260.

On this page:

Download a pdf version of this page.

Central Philadelphia Meeting

Welcome

We warmly invite into our worship and fellowship folks of all races, social circumstances, sexual orientations, gender identities, and spiritual temperaments.

Worship—11:00 am, every Sunday: meeting for worship, followed by a social time and sometimes other programs; these programs go from 1:00 to 2:30.

Hybrid worship—You can also join us via Zoom. Here’s the link and login info:

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/550104323?pwd=VnBSS0V1L3RsNUhsL09nZE1VcTYrdz09

Meeting ID: 550 104 323    Passcode: cpmm

Meeting affairs—We hold our business meetings usually every 2nd Sunday beginning at 1:00 pm. Please join us. It’s a good way to get to know us better.

Location:  1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102

Parking and transit: click the forgoing link for information about parking and transit.

Contact:  office@cpmm.org  215-241-7260

Quaker Essentials

What do Quakers believe?

We have a rich and unique tradition that’s now 350 years old, so this is just an extremely short outline. We would love to unpack these essentials in a personal conversation. 

The light within. We each can commune directly with God (however you understand the Divine) without any go-betweens.

The “gathered meeting.” The worshipping community also can commune directly with the Divine, collectively as a community; we call this the gathered meeting.

Continuing revelation. The spirit of God is always revealing itself to us, continually present to heal us, forgive us, renew us, inspire us, correct us, guide us, strengthen us, comfort us, and fulfill us, both as individuals and as a community.

“Let your life speak.” We are called to live our outward lives according to the truths that have been inwardly given to us about how to live. These include settled “testimonies,” principles for right living and our efforts to mend the world that are grounded in our experience of the Spirit’s guidance.

The commandment of love. We are to love God and to love one another, even to love our enemies. Love ought to be the first motion of all our action.

Direct experience.  We seek to base our beliefs and our religious lives on what we have actually experienced ourselves, while respecting the testimony of others and the legacy of our tradition. We won't tell you what to believe, only help you be faithful to your own experience.

All the rest. These foundational principles can be unpacked to offer all the other distinctive elements of the Quaker way. The first four are like the foundation walls upon which the rest of Quakerism is built. Love is the mortar that holds the whole thing together. And it’s all established on the bedrock of our direct experience. So the Quaker way begins at the center within us, then leads us out through community and into the world.

Does this speak to you?

Community. Do you seek a community that replaces control and hierarchy with true and equal fellowship and a way of love that answers your search for a sense of home and belonging?

Family. Do you want to raise your family in a safe community where your kids can connect with their own Inner Guide, grow into their true and higher selves, and learn values that align with your own?

Activist. Do you want to change the world, heal its hurts, and find spiritual grounding for your efforts toward peace, justice, and sustainability?

Spiritual seeker. Are you focused on the Spirit-center within you? Would the Inner Light and the gathered meeting answer your search for transcendence, meaning, and inner fulfillment?

We hope so. We hope that you will explore with us what the Quaker way might offer you. These are just some of the doors through which we each have come to the meeting. But they are all one Way that answers that of God in each of us, that speaks to our varied yearnings and integrates them, that binds us together in loving community.

A Guide to Quaker Worship

What to expect

Worship at Central Philadelphia Meeting is quite different from other church services. We don't sing hymns that have been chosen beforehand, or read set passages from the Bible or recite set prayers; we don't have prepared sermons. Instead, we worship in silence, unless someone feels led by the Holy Spirit to speak.

Our worship will last about an hour. Our experience suggests that it takes a time of worship in silence, without speaking, for those present to settle and gather into a deeper, more centered space. This is a time when we wait expectantly on the Divine, open ourselves to the Spirit moving among us and within us, and enter into prayer.

Out of this deeper silence, people may be led to stand up and speak, feeling deeply moved by their experience of the Spirit within. Sometimes, however, the hour will pass without any such messages, which we call vocal ministry. Some Friends find the questions below helpful in discerning whether their messages are Spirit-led. It is our usual practice to speak no more than once during the meeting and to leave a period of silence after each message so that we may absorb its spirit.

Worship ends when the person who has care of the meeting shakes hands with someone near them and says “Good morning.” When the meeting is over, we invite folks to share “joys and sorrows,” experiences and feelings that have been on their heart in the past week. We also invite visitors to introduce themselves We then retire to a social room for refreshments and fellowship.

If you have any questions about our meeting for worship, we invite you to ask the person who has care of meeting or the Friend at the Welcome Table in the social room, or contact the office and someone will get in touch with you.

Is My Message Led by the Spirit?

The Worship and Ministry Committee, which has care of our worship, has compiled this list of questions to help worshippers to decide whether they have a message that should be shared with the rest of the meeting. If the answer is yes to each of these questions, then Spirit may be calling you to speak.

  • Have I come to worship free of any determination to speak or not to speak?
  • Have I become centered in the silence?
  • Is my message coming from a deep spiritual center or source?
  • Is my message intended for everyone and not just for me or the last speaker?
  • Is it unlikely that my message will be perceived as a lecture or announcement?
  • Do my words point the way to something higher than myself, rather than pointing primarily back to me? Will they turn the listeners inward to the Light or Spirit within them?
  • Do I feel that I must speak?

Membership

Seekers—If you are looking for a spiritual home that will welcome your unique spiritual gifts, we invite you to hang out with us and worship with us for a while to see whether we feel like home.

Attenders—You are welcome to worship with us and participate in all of our activities for as long as you like without becoming an "official" member. 

Membership—If you’ve been with us for a while—or it’s love at first sight—and you are wondering whether formal membership is right for you, we invite you to visit the Membership page on our website to learn more about the Quaker way, what membership means to us, and how to apply. We don’t have a theological litmus test for membership and we don’t baptize. Instead, we seek to be clear that membership is right for both you and us.

More Quaker Resources

Here are some links to more resources on the Quaker way.

About Quakerism—Good information from one of our national denominational organizations, Friends General Conference.

More About Quakerism—More information from our regional denominational organization, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM).

Quaker Faith and Practice—A book-length, online resource on our beliefs, structures, and practices, published by PYM.

Quaker Resources by Topic—This is a portal on the website for Quakers in New York and northern New Jersey. It has lots of links to pages by topic, and these pages usually have links to further pages that drill down into these general subjects. Mostly, these "resources" are bibliographies of written materials and these lists are now rather old, but they're quite extensive.

Videos—Link to the QuakerSpeak videos, which can be sorted by topic.

Podcasts—Link to Thee Quaker Podcasts.

QuakerBooks—Link to an online Quaker bookstore.

Pendle Hill Bookstore—Link to another Quaker bookstore and a publisher of many Quaker pamphlets.

Back to home