First time visiting Friends Meeting at Cambridge?

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!

Currently, all of our activities take place via Zoom. You can find links via our calendar at https://fmcquaker.org/calendar/.

When we are able to meet in person again, the Meeting is located at 5 Longfellow Park, off of Brattle Street, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, five blocks from Harvard Square. Click here for directions and map.

Meetings for Worship are held Sunday mornings at 10:30am. Sunday evenings at 5pm, and Wednesday mornings (Mid-Week Meeting) from 8:30am to 10am.

When we are in person, childcare is available for both Sunday 10:30am and 5:00pm meetings and by request for other worship times.

Other times for worship include:

  • The first Sunday of the month from September to June at 10:30am we hold Family Worship in the Friends Center’s Friends Room, concurrent with meeting for worship in the meetinghouse.
  • On Alternate Sundays, Teen-aged children hold worship at 10:30am in the Friends Center’s Committee Room.
  • The third Sunday of every month, a group of Friends holds a meeting for worship, praying for peace in front of the Raytheon Technologies building in Cambridge.

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.

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.

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 Friday. After 6pm, on any day, 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.

People usually dress in casual clothing. Feel free to wear whatever you feel most comfortable.

To help you know what to expect spiritually, you can visit the Worship section of our website for words and videos.

On a practical level, you may want to know:

Friends Meeting at Cambridge is a large community—we typically have about 100-120 attendees at our Sunday morning meeting each week. Our other meetings for worship (5pm Sunday and 8:30am Wednesday) are smaller, with a handful of attendees. Some newcomers like to attend the large Sunday morning meeting to blend in to a large crowd, while others prefer a small group for their first time attending.

– Newcomers and guests will be invited to introduce yourself at the rise of meeting so that we can welcome you. That said, it’s your choice and no one will call on you if you choose not to—some people like to introduce themselves right away, while others prefer to attend a few times before making an introduction.

You are welcome here! Our community is a mix of newcomers and longtime attendees & members.

Some of us grew up Quaker, while others are new to Quakerism when they arrive at our meeting.

We are theist and non-theist, Christian and non-Christian, and grew up many different faith and cultural backgrounds.

We are based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but since started hosting worship online in March 2020, we now have regular attendees from across the U.S. and several other countries—you’re welcome regardless of location.

We have many newcomers to Quakerism among our community, so you won’t be the only one! Whether you stop briefly with us, or stay and become part of our community, you are welcome wherever you are on your spiritual journey.

You are welcome here. Quakers have no unified creed or statement of belief, and we use many words to describe the Divine. Some of them include: God, the Light Within, Christ, Spirit, Seed, and Inward Teacher. More on this >

At Friends Meeting at Cambridge, our community holds many diverse backgrounds and theologies. The Quaker way has deep Christian roots that form our understanding of God, our faith, and our practices. Many Quakers consider themselves Christian, and many do not. Many Quakers today draw spiritual nourishment from our Christian roots and strive to follow the example of Jesus. Many other Quakers draw spiritual sustenance from various religious traditions, such as Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and the nature religions.

For more on this, we encourage you to check out this brief video, peruse these FAQs, or ask fellow attendees at our meeting! Our monthly Newcomer Q&As and weekly Afterthoughts are good times to ask questions about Quaker faith and practice.

First Day (Sunday) School is from 10:45 to 11:45am, from September through June except for the 1st Sunday of the month. On this Sunday we celebrate semi-programmed family worship from 10:30 to 11:30am.

Otherwise at 10:30 am, 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 in the nursery room on the lower level of the Friends Center.
  • Ages 3–4: Children attend class in a lower level classroom
  • Grades K-2 and grades 3–5: Children from kindergarten to fourth grade attend class in a lower level classroom
  • Junior High, grades 5–8: Class is in the Committee Room, second floor
  • Senior High, grades 9–12: Class is in the Parlor, first floor

Please fill out our newcomer welcome form and tell us about your interests. 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.

Email Updates

  • 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 10am to 3pm Monday through Friday. Or email us with your questions: office@fmcquaker.org.