Venturing out to a new religious community for the first time can be a challenge. Below we have tried to identify and answer most of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) that first time visitors might have. We are eager to welcome you and make your first visit with us a rewarding and comfortable one!
The Meeting is located at 5 Longfellow Park, off of Brattle Street, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, five blocks from Harvard Square. For worship, enter the meetinghouse, which is the building located on the right hand side of the driveway as you enter the Meeting’s property. On your left is the Friends Center, where you can find the meeting office, parlor, library, Friends Room, several classrooms (lower level and second floor), and living space for our Resident Friend and Center Residents (second and third floors). Click here for directions and map.
Most meetings for worship last about an hour. A member of Ministry and Counsel is assigned to hold the meeting in prayer and sense when it is time to close the meeting, signaled by the shaking of hands. Mid-week meeting for worship, on Wednesday mornings, is scheduled from 8:30am to 10am, where you are invited to come to all or any part of the 90 minutes of worship.
If you are joining us for Sunday morning forum plan to arrive by 9:30am. If you are coming to attend meeting for worship only, plan to arrive about 10 minutes before the the worship starts in order to have time to find a seat and get settled.
On Sundays, parking is available on the Longfellow Park circle as well as all around the neighborhood. Cambridge resident parking restrictions are not enforced on Sundays. Other days of the week, Cambridge resident parking restrictions are enforced. And, even if you have a Cambridge resident parking sticker, you still need a special permit to park on Longfellow Park from 8am to 6pm, Monday through Saturday. After 6pm, on weekdays and Saturdays, anyone can park on Longfellow Park.
The Meeting does have a very small parking lot behind the meetinghouse. During our busiest times (e.g., Sundays), please reserve the Meeting’s lot for people with ambulatory challenges. We have three handicapped parking places — one in the lot behind the meetinghouse, one on the driveway, and one on Longfellow Park in front of the Meeting property.
Lastly, we have an agreement with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, adjacent to the Longfellow House at 113 Brattle Street, to use their lot for evening meetings and on Sundays. You need to obtain an official note from the Meeting office to place on your car’s dashboard in order to use that parking lot.
Our Meeting has two buildings — the meetinghouse and the Friends Center. The meetinghouse is where the large meeting for worship is held each Sunday morning and the Material Aid and Advocacy Program operates a clothing room in the basement. The Friends Center lower level includes bathrooms, the nursery, and three First Day (Sunday) school classrooms. The first floor of the Friends Center includes an all-gender bathroom, the parlor, the library, the Meeting office, the kitchen, and the large, multi-purpose Friends Room. The second floor includes the Committee Room and the Selleck Room. All three levels are accessible via an elevator. There is an underground tunnel between the lower level of the Friends Center and the basement of the meetinghouse.
All children are invited to join the first 15 minutes of meeting for worship with their families in the meetinghouse. After 15 minutes, a First Day (Sunday) School person will signal the time for children to leave the meetinghouse for classes in the Friends Center. Children who do not want to attend meeting for worship can be dropped off at their respective First Day (Sunday) School locations.
Ages 0–2: Childcare is provided. Location: The nursery room on the lower level of the Friends Center.
Ages 3–4: Children attend First Day School each week from 10:45 to 11:45am. Location: Lower level classroom
Grades K-2 and grades 3–5: Children from kindergarten to fourth grade attend First Day School each week from 10:45 to 11:45am. Locations: Lower level classrooms
Junior High, grades 5–8: Attend classes from 10:45 to 11:45am. Location: Committee Room, second floor
Senior High, grades 9–12: Attend classes from 10:45 to 11:45am. Location: Parlor, first floor
Yes. Fellowship hour happens at the “rise of meeting” on Sunday mornings after the 10:30am meeting and after the 5pm meeting for worship. In the morning fellowship hour takes place in the Friend Center Friends Room. The 5pm Sunday evening meeting meets in the Friends Center parlor and then has refreshments in the adjacent library. Please don’t be shy — join us!
If a large crowd, coffee/tea are not your thing, you may want to attend afterthoughts, which is a time to reflect with a small group on your experience of the meeting for worship. The group meets in the Friends Center parlor from 11:45am to 12:15pm
Also, most weeks we host a simple lunch of soup, salad, and bread. Volunteers prepare the meal and a suggested donation of $5 is requested but not at all required.
Please fill out the “Welcome” card located in the foyer of the meetinghouse. The form is also available for you to fill out online. The people who greeted you at the door and the person who has care of the meeting would be happy to speak to you about any questions you may have and can take down your contact information. For all other information, please contact the Meeting office directly.
Weekly Announcements: To receive an email version of the weekly announcement sheet, send request to: FMC Office
Monthly Newsletter: To receive an email version, send request to: FMC Office
Meeting Listserv: To join the FMC Email Listserv, read the Guidelines for Google List carefully. Then send an email to FMC Office indicating that you agree to the guidelines and would like to join the List. You will receive a separate email from Google Groups with an invitation and instructions on how to be added to the List.
If we haven’t answered all your questions here, please call the Meeting office at (617) 876-6883. Office hours are 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday. Or email us with your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Afterthoughts (11:45am Sundays)
Afterthoughts is a small group gathering that meets in the parlor immediately following meeting for worship which offers the opportunity for anyone to ask questions or discuss their experiences in meeting for worship. It meets most Sundays at 11:45am, with somewhere between 5 to 20 people attending this half-hour gathering, and it is generally a mix of new and seasoned Friends.
Afterthoughts has a myriad of purposes. For attenders, it can be helpful to attend if you’re new and have questions, have lingering thoughts from worship that you want to share or explore, or are interested in joining this meeting and want to know about the process. For members and those steeped in Quakerism, it can be helpful to attend when challenging questions arise for you in Meeting or when you have a deeply moving experience in Meeting and want to explore this further with others. Afterthoughts is led by members of the Membership Committee.
Forums are informal devotional discussions, usually with a leader and about a particular topic. They meet in the parlor and are designed to help those who attend prepare for meeting for worship. All are welcome. Forums provide good opportunities for new members, attenders, and visitors to learn more about our Meeting and what issues are of concern to the Meeting, and to get to know other individuals in the Meeting. Childcare is provided beginning at 9:15.