Re-Introducing Quaker Unprogrammed Worship


“Meeting for Worship” by Veronica

“Be still, and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10

The Meeting for Worship has always been very special at Silverton Friends Church. From its earliest days as a gathered meeting, SFC has provided an emphasis on quality worship leading and solid teaching each Sunday morning.  Recently, as we have been returning to our Quaker roots, we have been discerning and experiencing a heightened need for new expressions of worship among our community (both at SFC and in the city of Silverton). For a couple years now, the elders have considered and sought God’s will and guidance on how to introduce new opportunities for worship in the manner of Friends.

This fall, the elders and I decided to offer a “new” option for worship at SFC. I say “new,” but in reality it is the form of worship nearest to that of the early Friends. Sadly, many American Quakers have never experienced Unprogrammed Worship. The main reason for this lack of experience is that our American religious culture considers music and the sermon key aspects of most Sunday worship.

The Meeting for Worship in an unprogrammed setting offers a unique way for a group of people to be present with God. Each meeting could be considered an adventure and for beginners a real challenge.  As elders, our hope is that those who choose to attend the unprogrammed meeting for worship find a deeper awareness of what Friends for three hundred years have experienced in being still and knowing God is now present in and among us.

For many, sitting still and in silence for long periods of time is very difficult, especially in our fast-paced world. That is why worship in any form is considered a spiritual discipline. Also, since there is no program, no prepared prayers, sermons, or musical selections, a chosen facilitator from SFC will begin our first few unprogrammed meetings with a poem, appropriate Scripture, or thought/quote to help “center down” those not as familiar.  Our hope is that the gathered will listen as attentively as they can for leadings of the Spirit. If a leading comes, we pray that they will speak the message into the silence – making for a completely different experience of listening and hearing from the Present Christ in our community.

If you are interested, or have never experienced Unprogrammed Worship in the manner of Friends, I would invite you to join us every other Sunday morning in the *new* green room (a.k.a. Sheldon Lesire’s office or the former school library).  I have also put together a one page explanation of Unprogrammed Worship for those interested in learning about it prior to coming (contact me by email for a copy).

November opportunities for unprogrammed worship: November 13th & 27th @ 9:30am.

Grace and peace, Pastor Bob+

“Each an Original” SFC’s 2016-17 Theme

becoming-who-you-are-9781587680366A few years ago now, I happened to come across a book that caught my eye.  It may have been because on the cover were photos of some very important people in my Spiritual Formation, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, and Mother Teresa – or it could have been because of the title, “Becoming Who You Are.”  Over time I have come to realize that book crossed my path at that very time because I was desperate for someone to tell me that my “true self” had worth – that I was an ORIGINAL.

We all want to hear this from time to time – actually we all need to hear it from time to time.  And just maybe the world is depending on us to acknowledge and embrace who we are so they too can see it in their lives. If it is true that we are made in the image of God and as Quakers we acknowledge “that of God in each person”, then who we are at our very core is more than simply unique.

“All of us are called to meditate deeply on our own true selves, to embrace the reality of our vocations, and to let God transform our true selves into sources of new life for others.” (Becoming Who We Are, Martin)

When we choose to live out of our originality then we begin becoming what God had intended all along. Our gifting, abilities, perspectives, emotions, likes and dislikes, and so much more make us who God intended us to be.  This originality draws us into relationships and community and gives us unique tools to help those around us – our sisters and brothers, cropped-13958229_1259959927356702_976238140819220672_o1.jpgneighbors, and friends.

This year we at SFC are going to explore just what it means that “each of us is an original.” The Elders and I chose Galatians 5:25-26 from The Message to be our theme verse for 2016-2017.

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.    Galatians 5:25-26 (MSG)

It was the religious scholar and mystic, Meister Eckhardt, who said it succinctly, “No one has known God who has not known himself.” You and I are original masterpieces made by the Master Artist. When we explore our own originality, just maybe we will find ourselves bumping into the God who created us and whose image runs through our veins.  What an exciting possibility!

You are invited to join us as together we explore the reality that we are “Each an Original” this year!  Join us on Kick-off Sunday, October 2 before worship @10:00am in the sanctuary to find out all the opportunities and ways to explore this year.  Hope to see you there!

Grace and Peace, Pastor Bob+

Living Out Our Originality – Book Studies 2016-17

img_0057Here is a first look at Pastor Bob’s 2016-17 Book Study choices.

This year’s theme is “Living Out Our Originality.”

As in the past, book studies will meet from 6:30-8pm on Thursday Nights at Main St. Bistro & Coffee, Silverton, OR.

Study 1: “How To Be Here” by Rob Bell
(Dates: Oct. 20: Parts 1-3, Oct. 27: Parts 4-6, Nov. 3: Parts 7-9)

Study 2: “Living the Quaker Way: Timeless Wisdom for a Better Life Today” by Philip Gulley
(Dates: Jan. 19: pp 1-57, Jan. 26: pp. 59-132, Feb. 2: pp 133-212)

Study 3: “When Spiritual But Not Religious Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church” by Lillian Daniel
(Dates: March 23: parts I-II, March 30: parts III-IV, April 6: parts V-VI)

Mark your calendars and plan to join us for lively discussions on these great reads.


We are excited to announce our 3rd Annual Sunday Funday at Silverton Friends Church!

August 14, 2016 @ 10:45am 


For the past couple summers we have created a new tradition at SFC, where we take a Sunday Morning and dedicate it to what we call “Worship Through Play.”  We begin with prayer inside, directions, coffee, and then let the fun begin.

10499499_829283010424398_6817036909909239945_oFrom the always exciting big game of kickball, to board games for all ages, to the Giant Slip & Slide!  There is fun for all ages.  This year we are including bubble play and ***this just in*** PONY RIDES!  Yes, thanks to Jaime Hudson, this year instead of a bouncy house, the kids will enjoy pony rides around the back lawn!11878969_1038777736141590_7894435438598589028_o

As is tradition, Virgil Voth will be offering his coffee arts for those needing a little pep in your game play!

11807623_1038776876141676_4335606248682788565_oAt around noon, we will gather for a bbq potluck in the picnic area. ***New this year will be a SUNDAE BAR!***  We will have a couple of grills going, so bring some meat to grill for your family and a side dish to share.  We will provide the rest. 11838963_1038791389473558_2298414748802809878_o

As for attire, wear your play cloths (young and old alike).  Bring a hat, sunglasses, and protective lotion for the sun!  Anyone planning to enjoy the Slip & Slide should bring a bathing suit.  You may also want a lawn chair to take a break in or eat your lunch.

Let’s worship our God through playing together at SFC! See you this Sunday!


Official Minute from 2016 Northwest Yearly Meeting Sessions


Our NWYM Youth leading a time of prayer and mourning over the division in the Yearly Meeting on Wednesday night.

Many people have asked about what was decided at this past week’s 2016 Northwest Yearly Meeting Sessions in Newberg, OR. The following is the official minute regarding the NWYM Elder’s decision to release West Hills Friends and the process for moving forward. 

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

The following minute was approved at the Thursday business meeting during Yearly Meeting sessions.

We as the gathered body of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends have been greatly blessed with the rich discussion we have had regarding the Elder’s decision that West Hills Friends Church be released from its affiliation with Northwest Yearly Meeting. The Clerks have done their very best to allow for extensive participation of the discussion of the many perspectives and leadings of our people for and against the core question–should we approve the Elder’s report to release West Hills of their membership in the Yearly Meeting.

The Elders in their report that any of the possible actions might be shattering to the unity of our Yearly Meeting and even to West Hills Friends.

After many hours of listening and praying, we have come to unity around the following recommendation:

–  That we express deep appreciation for the work of the Elders on this issue. We did not find consensus regarding the elders report. 


NWYM Youth gave up a day at the beach to discern with the gathering this important decision.

The following is the process outlined by clerk, Brad Holton, based on suggestions he heard from Friends in attendance.

Continued discernment of the elder’s report to release West Hills Friends Church from NWYM will be taken up by a meeting that will consist of NWYM representatives and 8 youth, one youth representing each area of NWYM. The NWYM Administrative Council will form the parameters for this meeting.

Author Meet & Greet: The Gospel Next Door

Screen-Shot-2016-06-20-at-3.37.18-PMAs Christians, we pray for God’s kingdom to come “on earth as it is in heaven.” But what does that even mean? Would we recognize God’s kingdom if it moved in next door?

Come join Silverton Friends Church in welcoming author and pastor, Marty Troyer (The Peace Pastor and our own, Aimee Troyer’s brother) for an author meet-&-greet for his timely book, “The Gospel Next Door” a new resource from Herald Press, that explores how to see and join the work of Jesus right where we live. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016 from 4-7pm,upstairs at Main St. Bisto (201 E. Main Street, Silverton, Oregon)

This is an important book for our day and age and the further impact of the gospel! If you have not read it please take a moment to order a copy here.

Copies of “The Gospel Next Door” will also be available for purchase at this event.

From about “The Gospel Next Door”
As Christians, we pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth as it in heaven. But what does that even mean? Would we recognize God’s kingdom if it moved in next door?

Learn to see God’s work in your neighborhood, city, and the world and learn how to join it. With stories from his own city of Houston, Texas, author Marty Troyer introduces a theology of place that empowers us to truly see the work of God where we live, work, and play. The Gospel Next Door unpacks the gospel through the lenses of following Jesus, making peace, and overcoming injustice. Those seeking to connect more deeply with the world that God so loved will find compelling stories and practical ideas for healing brokenness and imagining new life. Start living out the kingdom of God here and now.

deluxe-memeMarty’s Bio
Marty Troyer is a husband, father, pastor, and writer in Houston, Texas, where he has served at Houston Mennonite Church since 2008. He loves preaching and working to make God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

His blog, The Peace Pastor, which emphasizes a gospel-centered Jesus ethic, has been hosted by the Houston Chronicle for over five years. Troyer’s blog has led him to countless encounters across the city and nation about what it means to take Jesus’ call to peace seriously.


Pray the News: A Spiritual Exercise

prayerA few weeks ago, during our meeting for worship we experienced a spiritual exercise that helped us “pray the news.” Here is the exercise for those wanted to add this to their devotional practices as we try and understand and process all that is going on in our world.

Adapted from the Theology of Work Project
On the blog: “The High Calling”

PREP: Provide at least one Sunday Newspaper for each table (12) – (remove adds so less distraction).

As current events serve to polarize people further and further from one another, let’s consider how we, as people of faith might respond. What if, when engaging the news in our context, we first create space to meet with God in the midst of a hurting world?

Everything that happens in the world is an opportunity for us to move in love towards God and others. As Richard Rohr said: “If love is your actual and constant goal, you can never really fail.”

In response to injustice or tragedy in the news, some of us jump right into the thick of heated verbal battles. Others retreat to safer, quieter ground. Many wish to offer help, and long to be involved in making this world more reflective of the heart of Jesus. We are full of compassion and empathy when faced with suffering and inequity, but we feel overwhelmed and inadequate.

As people of faith, we may believe our options are limited: Polarize ourselves from each other by taking hard stances, or avoid the ugliness by insulating ourselves in personal safety. By taking hard stances we divide ourselves from others, instead of drawing each other into a Kingdom of love and grace. Conversely, by insulating ourselves, we risk surrender to apathy.

What if there is another way? What if, when engaging the news in our context, we first create space to meet with God in the midst of a hurting world?

Today we are going to experience a prayer exercise we call…

Praying the News

To begin, at your table, take some time to pass sections of the newspaper we have provided around to each person. Allow your section of the newspaper to sit on the table before you as you quiet your heart. Rest in your identity as God’s Beloved. After taking time to quiet yourself, follow these prompts for praying the news:

Choose one and read through a news story from your section of the paper. Then offer your initial reaction to God. What do you carry as you come into this time? Surrender that reaction to him and ask for a heart that reflects his. Take a few more minutes of quiet.

Who in the story do you feel yourself drawn towards? Who do you feel a resistance toward? Has your mind created a dichotomy between “us” and “them” or a “good vs. bad” mentality? Ask God for the humility to see that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

The fruit of the Spirit is love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Do you see anything rising up in you that is not of the spirit (i.e. hate, stressful striving, fear, impatience, arrogance, pride, ugliness, apathy, or impulsiveness with words or actions)?

Keep in mind that sorrow over the brokenness in the world mirrors God’s heart. Anger at injustice or brokenness can be the exact thing that moves us towards action, (unless it turns to self-righteousness and condemnation of others).

In what way can you move toward the kingdom in your own life with regard to the story you’ve just read or witnessed? How can you move in love towards your enemy? How can you seek to understand another’s perspective? What is your prayer towards this situation? How can you move that prayer into your hands and feet and life?

If you feel an anxious energy to act immediately, sit with this longer. Be sure you are being motivated by love. Your anxiousness may be an indicator of something other than love (i.e. self-protection, ego, etc.).

May we, Beloved children of God, move through each day, deeply rooted in the knowledge that “we live in God, we move in God; we exist in God” (Acts 17:28). From that place, may the wake of our lives be healing, mercy, and a fearless love.