|And so, I find it well to come
For deeper rest to this still room,
For here the habit of the soul
Feels less the outer world's control:
The strength of mutual purpose plead
More earnestly our common needs:
And from the silence multiplied
By these still forms on either side,
The world that time and sense have known
Falls off and leaves us God alone
--John Greenleaf Whittier
Worship 11 A.M. Sunday
210 Meetinghouse Road
Friends believe that there is a measure of God's spirit in all people, known as the Inner Light, the Christ Within, the Inward Teacher. The Inner Light illuminates the difference between good and evil, informs conscience, and reveals that which is eternal. Through its guidance, we may become conscious of the oneness of humankind and creation.
Friends believe in continuing revelation - that God continues to speak directly to people today, and is at work in history. Further, we are co-creators in God's unfolding plan as, through discipline and faithfulness, we seek to discern God's will and act upon it.
Friends have no formal creed, no single statement of religious doctrine accepted by all. Each Yearly Meeting within the Religious Society of Friends is guided by its Book of Discipline or Faith and Practice. Contained therein are the distinctive Advices and Queries by which Friends examine their lives in relation to the faith and corporate standards of conduct.
Early Friends found that they could experience God directly in their lives without clergy or liturgy or steepled church. Friends continue today in the belief that every soul can have immediate communion with God, and that where two or three are gathered, Christ is present in the midst of them .
Worship at Croton Valley Meeting is held in the manner of early Friends. Sometimes known as unprogrammed or silent worship, it is more accurate to say it is held on the basis of holy expectancy or waiting upon the Lord. Worshipers gather and sit down quietly with no prearrangements, each seeking an immediate sense of divine leading, and to know first hand the presence of the living Christ. Worship proceeds beyond individual meditation to a sense of seeking as a gathered group. It is out of this sense of gatheredness in the divine that one may be moved to rise and offer spoken ministry.
It is Friends' belief and practice that all are called to the ministry. Each worshiper contributes to the meeting for worship by the determination to listen and be responsive to the still small voice within.
Meeting for worship lasts about an hour, and is closed by an individual appointed by the meeting. She or he turns to the person seated nearbyand shakes hands. It is Friends custom for others in the Meeting to shake hands also.
Meetings for Business, as well, proceed in the spirit of worship and openness to divine leading. Decisions are made and matters resolved through a process of corporate discernment - the seeking of God's will. No vote is taken; questions are not decided by majority rule. Strongly opposed views are often reconciled through suggestion of a divinely inspired Third Way or in a period of silent worship. Decision may be held over to a later meeting, awaiting further insight, information, understanding.
When the clerk of the meeting senses unity has been reached, she or he phrases and rephrases what she or he believes to be the "sense of the meeting" until approval is voiced or apparent.
Friends are advised to "let their lives speak", to testify and give public expression to their beliefs. Friends' traditional means of witness have been called the testimonies, and include:
The Peace Testimony arose out of profound understanding of life in Christ. Peace is much more than the.absence of war. It begins with one's own inner peace and expands to include right relations with others, and working for a more just and equitable society, political and economic order. It seeks to mediate and reconcile, and neither employs nor condones violence in word or action.
The Testimony of Simplicity calls for a detachment from obsessive grasping for possessions and worldly aspirations, honesty in speech, and integrity in personal relations and business dealings. This testimony arises from the conviction that simplicity enables us to grow in communion with God.
The Testimony of Equality recognizes the essential oneness and equality of all before God, without regard to age, gender, race or religion. This belief has found expression in Friends' attitudes and concerns, mission and service outreach, programs of education and action.
The Testimony of Integrity calls for correspondence between the inner life and its outward manifestations, between belief and practice. It seeks coherence among the various realms of our lives - life in the family, interpersonal relations, dealings in the marketplace. Integrity is the quality or state of being complete and undivided.
The Religious Society of Friends began in England about 1650, in the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation. It began as a religious protest against what many perceived as the hollow formalism which marked the established church at that time.
George Fox, the founder, underwent a profound religious experience that he described as a voice answering his spiritual need: "There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy Condition". The immediacy of Christ became the heart of his message and ministry, the beginning of the Quaker movement.
Early Friends were seeking authentic spirituality, a return to primitive Christianity. Known originally as Friends of Truth or Friends of Jesus, taken from John 15: 15, they were often called Quakers because of their religious fervor as well as their belief that all should quake before the majesty of the Lord.
Croton Valley Meeting
Croton Valley Meeting was established March 4, 1804 as a preparative meeting of Chappaqua Monthly Meeting. Meetings were held in the homes of members until a meeting house was built in 1806. This meeting house was later sold to accommodate the first Croton Dam.
In 1854, the records show a brief period of inactivity in the Orthodox Meeting. It then revived under the leadership of two brothers, Henry and James Wood. In 1900, the second meeting house was sold to New York City to make way for an enlarged Croton Dam.
The present building and the carriage shed were constructed in 1902, and worship has been held continuously since that time, Since the reuniting of the New York Yearly Meeting during the 1950's, Croton Valley Meeting is affiliated with both Friends United Meeting and Friends General Conference.