Visit and Learn

The Chapel Hill Friends Meeting joyfully embraces the full spectrum of the Light Within, made visible through the participation of people of all beliefs, cultures, backgrounds, abilities, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, and gender identities. Quakers, also known as members of the Religious Society of Friends, are a community of people who gather on Sunday mornings to worship in silent expectation to wait upon the spirit. We have no formal creed, no ritual, or liturgy.

We believe that God is present in every person and the Light Within can lead us toward God’s will. The Religious Society of Friends has a long history of spiritually-based activism. We are guided by communal testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and service. We believe that Truth is continuously revealed and that everyone may have a direct experience with God. Our lives speak our faith in action.

Branches of Quakerism

There are multiple branches of Quakerism, such as evangelical, conservative, pastoral and liberal. The Chapel Hill Friends Meeting indentifies itself as liberal. Liberal Friends emphasize the authority of the Inward Light which guides each of us in our lives and is our direct and immediate experience of the Divine.

Our Meeting is also unprogrammed. That means we have no minister and no set service - no sermon, doxology or choir. There is an old saying “that we have no laity, because we are all ministers.”

To learn more about the various branches of Quakerism, see: Quaker Branches in the Americas

The Meetinghouse (what we call our place of worship) is located at 531 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill NC 27514. It is located near the intersection with Country Club Drive near the UNC-CH campus. Raleigh Rd. is also Route 54. There is a UNC-CH visitors’ parking lot east of the Meetinghouse that is available for free parking on Sunday mornings. There are some parking spaces adjacent to the Meeting house in our parking lot. We are a two minute walk from the Institute of Government and from the old Chapel Hill Cemetery. There is a bus stop just west of the Meeting house on South Road across from the Institute of Government.

Yes, anyone is welcome to visit a Quaker meeting. Our meeting specifically encourages individuals to become part of the corporate experience of Quaker faith and practice.

We believe that there is that of God in every person, and joyfully embrace the full spectrum of the Light Within, made visible through the participation of people of all beliefs, cultures, backgrounds, abilities, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, and gender identities. Those attending unprogrammed Quaker meetings include Christians, Universalists, Jews, nontheists, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhist Quakers, pagans, and others.

Meeting for Worship is the heart of our Quaker community. The Chapel Hill Friends Meeting is of the Quaker unprogrammed tradition, meaning that we gather in silence and “expectant waiting for divine guidance”, without clergy or liturgy. Together we nurture a living silence, with quiet minds and open hearts, creating a space within ourselves for spiritual revelation. More information is available in the following videos:

A Quaker meeting is a local worshiping community. Most meetings have few paid workers; the Chapel Hill Friends Meeting employs a First Day School (Sunday School) Coordinator and a Child Care Provider. Quaker meetings follow the guidance of the Spirit in business as well as in worship.

Quaker meetings function by the service of members on committees. These volunteers handle the routine work of the meeting and prepare business that comes to the entire group for Spirit-led decision making in the Monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business. Everyone is welcome to participate in the work of the meeting.

Check out our glossary!

When we enter the meeting room, we quietly take our seats on the benches. During the hour or so of worship, anyone who is moved by the Spirit may rise and speak. After an hour, a designated member of the Meeting closes worship with a handshake, which is then shared with all those gathered.

There is some parking in front of our Meeting House. If our lot is full, there is always plenty of parking in the UNC lot next door (which is free on Sunday mornings).

Finding your way around is easy. A little before 11am on Sunday you will see people going in the front door of our Meeting House. Just come in and sit down.

Casual, comfortable clothing is the norm at the Chapel Hill Friends Meeting. You’ll see folks in shorts and t-shirts, dresses, and jeans, depending on their personal preferences and comfort.

You may sit anywhere in the meeting room.

At the close of worship, folks who are new to the meeting are invited to introduce themselves. No one is required to do so, however. This is an opportunity for the meeting to get to know you and to welcome you.

No offering is taken during the worship service, and there is not an expectation that you will make an offering when you visit the meeting. Of course, the work of the meeting does require support of the Meeting community. There is a box in the foyer for donations with a list above that box describing specifically how Meeting funds are used.

Absolutely! Children are an important part of our community. We offer care for babies and toddlers downstairs in the Meeting house during the weekly 11 AM Meeting for Worship. For children aged three through high school, we have a First Day School (FDS) program (First Day is a traditional Quaker term for Sunday).

You might want to come a few minutes before 11 AM to talk to the greeter at the front door about how to find the right class for your child. Most children sit with their parents for the first 15 minutes of Meeting for Worship, and then leave together for their classes next door in the school house building.

You are welcome to join them for First Day School on your first visit to our Meeting, so you can meet the teachers and see what the class is like, or if it makes your child more comfortable.

First Day School Brochure

At Chapel Hill Friends Meeting, there are a multitude of options for those who wish to engage in our community beyond simply attending Meeting for Worship. Here are some possibilities: September through May, three Sundays per month, the Adult Religious Education committee sponsors forums at 9:45 AM on topics of community interest. List of Forums.

On the first Sunday of each month, there is a community potluck after Meeting for Worship. Come join us!

Attendance at the monthly Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business is an excellent way to experience Quaker ministry in process. Generally held at 9:00 AM on the third Sunday of the month, the Meeting Calendar will provide information about the dates of these important Meetings.

There are about 16 committees in our Meeting community, that carry out the work of the Meeting. Nearly all of them are open to anyone with a like-minded interest. List and description of committees.

Often in the spring, interest groups begin that allow community members to study together, work on a project, or socialize. Topics vary widely, as does the frequency and duration of the group. To be kept up-to-date on such opportunities, subscribe to the listserv by emailing news@chapelhillfriends.org.

Please feel free, after looking at the resources listed below, to see if we have them in our library. We do have most Pendle Hill pamphlets and current copies of Friends Journal. Resources may be checked out for three weeks.

Chapel Hill Friends Meeting Library Chapel Hill Friends Meeting Quakerism 101 Class Readings Quaker Information Center: Resources for Deeper Investigation Quaker Information Center: Introductory Booklist

Yes! Contact a member of our Ministry and Worship Committee with your questions. We would love to talk to you!

A casual meet and greet with refreshments is available after Meeting every Sunday in our library, which adjoins the meeting room. It’s a good time to get to know people.

Please make a nametag in the foyer so that we can know you better.