Meeting for Worship
One of the most important and positive memories that our old scholars have of Sidcot, is the experience of the meeting for worship. Quakers believe that through communal silence and stillness, they can listen to the promptings of truth and love in their hearts, which they understand as rising from God.
And whether one believes in God or not, the meditative nature of the meeting has a powerful effect on our students especially as they progress through the school.
The silence is different from the silence of solitary meditation, as the meeting is a shared experience. In a small meeting, the seating is usually arranged in a circle or a square to help people be aware of one another and conscious that they are together as equals. At Sidcot, due to there being nearly 400 students in the meeting house, we arrange the seating to face one another.
There are no priests or ministers. The silence may be broken if someone present feels called to say something which will deepen and enrich the meeting. Anyone is free to speak or read aloud if they feel strongly led to do so. This breaks the silence for the moment but does not interrupt it.
What does this mean to our students?
The weekly meeting contributes to the calm nature of the school, bringing the students and staff together where everyone has an equal voice and opportunity to speak. Our younger children learn to sit quietly and listen attentively to their peers, beginning to appreciate one another’s opinion and views. They build confidence in what they are thinking and belief. Students learn to gather their thoughts and might feel moved to speak.