At the beginning of unprogrammed worship on February 26, 2023 at Durham Friends Meeting, Joyce Gibson (providing Care of Worship) read this selection from NEYM’s 1985 Faith and Practice on “The Basis of Holy Obedience” (p. 102):
The Basis of Holy Obedience
Worship, according to the ancient practice of the Religious Society of Friends, is entirely without any human direction or supervision. A group of devout persons come together and sit down quietly with no prearrangement, each seeking to have an immediate sense of divine leading and to know at first hand the presence of the Living Christ. It is not wholly accurate to say that such a Meeting is held on the basis of Silence; it is more accurate to say that it is held on the basis of “Holy Obedience.” Those who enter such a Meeting can harm it in two specific ways: first, by an advanced determination to speak; and second by an advanced determination to keep silent. The only way in which a worshipper can help such a Meeting is by an advanced determination to try to be responsive in listening to the still small voice and doing whatever may be commanded. — Statement prepared for a Friends’ meeting attended by delegates to the World Council of Churches in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1948.