November 28, 2006 Bracknell, England …. [Helen Pearson/ TED News/ANN Staff]
Nobody spoke an audible word at a silent worship service at Newbold College the week of November 23. No one sang a hymn, or preached a sermon. There was no music and no collection of an offering. This was a first for this Adventist-owned institution of higher learning.
Quiet Church was the beginning of a monthly series offering to students, staff, and the wider community an opportunity to take time out with God and each other in a quiet space. Salisbury Hall, one of the College's assembly halls, was open and dimly lit for two and a half hours during the evening. Staff, students and community members came and left quietly in their own time, praying, reflecting, meditating or reading Bibles or other available devotional materials.
“The aim of Quiet Church is to provide a peaceful space where people can be with God,” said Dean of Students, Pastor Henrik Jorgensen, one of the organizers of Quiet Church. “In silence we may hear the voice of God which is so often drowned out by the noise of other activities and other people, even in worship. In Quiet Church we want to give people an opportunity just to be with God and really to listen to what God might be saying to them. Our motto for this activity is 'Let God be God'.”
Between 20 and 30 people came and went during the service. One Newbold community member, initially dubious about the idea, reflected: “After a busy, noisy day I wanted peace, not company. But something in a home is always begging to be cleaned, folded, ironed, cooked, watched, or answered. Peace can be hard to find – even in a quiet place. Somewhat reluctantly, I walked into Salisbury Hall. Immediately, a peaceful ambience pervading the foyer relaxed some of my defenses. An intro[ductory] paper gave me something to focus on as I entered the big room–only a few here. Even better, I'm expected to not interact.
Subdued lighting and candles gentled distractions. Throughout my time there–in silence–I talked, sang, questioned, listened, shouted, listened, laughed, cried, and, finally, rested. Others came and went. Smiles were exchanged but no intrusion was felt. I left with a quietness and confidence I've not felt for a long time.”
Quiet Church organizers say they have had lots of requests to hold a Quiet Church on Sabbath mornings. They've also had contact from other Adventists in other parts of the world who like the idea.
The next Quiet Church will be December 6 from 8 to10:30 p.m. in the Newbold Church Centre.
Copyright (c) 2006 by Adventist News Network.