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November 12, 2012

New Quaker community gathers at St. John’s Episcopal

NORMAN — Sunday evening inside the small chapel at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 235 W. Duff St., you will find a group of individuals who seek the serenity of the enlightened spirit that comes from love, prayer and service.

Meeting for a little over a month, members of the University Quakers Meeting at St. John’s gather at 5 p.m. A typical service, according to Quaker Minister Cap Kaylor, involves members going into silence for 45 minutes.

“To those unfamiliar with Quaker spirituality, the silence of a Friend’s meeting may seem very puzzling and unlike any worship experience they have ever had. Nothing appears to be happening. But out of that communal silence have come the collective insights called the testimonies that make up the Quaker path,” Kaylor said.

After the meditation time, 15 minutes are dedicated to sharing insights that have come from the meditation period.

“Everybody holds hands as a sign we are coming out of our individual contemplation and moving back into human community and human service,” Kaylor said.

The newly formed group had been members of the Norman Friends Meeting (The Religious Society of Friends), which meets at 10 a.m. on Sunday at St. Anselm of Canterbury, 800 Elm Ave.

“Some of us were attending there for several years. The facilities there were limited because the building is used for a lot of other things,” Kaylor said. “There were newcomers who joined the group who were younger families who were having children. There really weren’t the facilities there to take care of the children. A big part of Quaker worship is just silence. The kids just weren’t quite ready for that yet.”

Kaylor adds that through the graciousness of St. John’s Episcopal Church, the group was invited to become a part of its parish community by Father John Helt.

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