Friendly Glossary

Bible Study

A group discussion about specific aspects of or passages in the Bible. Bible studies are separate from the Sunday worship service. There is typically a discussion facilitator and all are encouraged to participate to deepen their faith, understand the Bible, and ask questions in a supportive environment.


See “Meeting

Conscientious Objector

An individual who is morally or religiously prohibited from acting as a combatant in a military service. As Friends, a core belief is that each of us is personally and individually guided by Christ. This and our desire to be agents of peace has lead many of us over the years take a stand as conscientious objectors, even prior to the American Revolution.


Discernment is based on the beliefs that God’s will can be perceived by humans and each of us is personally and individually guided by Christ. Discernment is the process by which one determines God’s will for oneself or a group. In the Quaker practice, this may include open worship to specifically allow for God’s will to be clearly communicated to the individual or group.


The Elders act as the spiritual leaders of the church. They provide pastoral oversight for the spiritual and moral welfare of the church. This team is generally comprised of individuals who are well acquainted with members of the congregation and who exhibit spiritual maturity, compassion, and Christ-like behavior. This allows them to better sense the movement of the Holy Spirit through the church.

Evangelical Quaker (or evangelical Friends church)

Quakers who are inspired to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Evangelical Quaker worship meetings are usually led by a pastor and tend to be programmed meetings. Cherry Grove is an Evangelical Quaker church.


Friends, or members of the Religious Society of Friends, are a religious denomination begun in the 1600s in England by individuals (most notably George Fox) dissatisfied with the hierarchical Protestant Christian denominations then in existence. Friends recognized that in addition to the Gospel teachings of Jesus, He shows his continuous presence in the world to this day through the movement of the Holy Spirit. Friends are now a very broad denomination whose differences mostly revolve around the relative importance of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to daily life. Friends comes from John 15:14 where Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do what I command.”

Friends and Quakers refer to the same group of people. The term Quaker was originally a nickname used as an insulting, derisive term to describe how some Friends trembled when overcome with emotion, spirit, and awe by the direct experience of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit during worship. Over time, the term lost its negative connotation and now these words are basically synonyms, often used interchangeably.

George Fox

The most notable of the early Friends and generally identified as the founder of the Religious Society of Friends. For more information, see this article.

Holy Spirit

The third part of the Christian Holy Trinity, with the other two parts being God the Father and Christ the Son. The Holy Spirit was given to humanity by Jesus, as promised in John 14:16-17 (“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”). This promise was fulfilled at Pentecost (“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…” Acts 2:4). Friends emphasize the importance of the Holy Spirit in daily life. We believe in individual, personal communication with God through the Holy Spirit.


The term Friends use to describe a church. In the early days, Friends used the word “church” to refer to the people of God, not the building in which they met. “Meetinghouse” or “meeting” became the word Friends used to describe the building in which the church gathered to worship. Today, “church” and “meeting” are often – but not always – used interchangeably. Also see Yearly Meeting.


A member of a church is someone who has formed a spiritual bond with a community of believers and shares a mutual accountability and trust for living a faith-based life. From an administrative standpoint, a member has signed a form expressing his or her commitment to the church and its beliefs.


These are activities that are carried out by the church and its members to further God’s work in the world. Many people think of ministries as a narrowly defined word, such as holding or performing Sunday services, or caring for the sick. We have a broader definition and view all our activities in conjunction with the church as ministries, whether it is the business of the church, communicating our beliefs with non-believers, or just sharing the good word with each other. When we gather during Sunday services, we come and minister together instead of sitting and waiting to be ministered to.


Money that one gives – or offers – to a church for God’s use. A church service often includes a time during which an offering can be made.

Open Worship

Also known as silent worship, this is a specific and important part of Friends worship. During this time, the congregation sits in silence and personally communes with God through the Holy Spirit. If moved by the Spirit, individuals within the church body will speak to share their thoughts or questions with those gathered. In unprogrammed meetings, the meeting is conducted entirely as an open worship and therefore the silence may last about an hour. In programmed meetings, the open worship typically lasts up to ten minutes. For more details, see More Info about Open Worship.


The pastor of a Friends church is not considered to be the leader of the church (we consider the church to be lead by the entire congregation). Instead, the pastor is a church elder who is paid to perform his or her responsibilities as an elder on a full-time basis. The pastor is responsible for shepherding the congregation and individuals in their Christian worship, spiritual growth, and religious education. See Elders
for more information.

Programmed Quaker/Programmed Meeting

Friends meetings can be programmed or unprogrammed. Programmed meetings are usually led by a pastor and are more like a traditional church service than unprogrammed meetings. Programmed meetings often include music, a sermon, readings from the Bible, and a period of silent or open worship.


See “Friends” .


A series of 20 questions that Friends routinely ask themselves to be reminded of the moral and spiritual values they seek to uphold. Asking oneself these questions often helps a Friend discern God’s will for his or her life. For a complete list of the twenty Queries, click here.

Silent worship

See “Open worship

Simple meeting

A name for a specific type of unprogrammed meeting of Friends. A simple meeting is much like what most people traditionally think of when they hear “Quaker.” It is a meeting of Friends who wear simple grey clothes and speak using “thee” and “thou.” There is no pastor during the service. There are very few, if any, simple meetings in the Pacific Northwest.


The Stewards act as the operations department of the church. They are responsible for the oversight and maintenance of the church building, its contents, and the grounds. They also care for the financial budgeting, accounting, and reporting of all facets of the church’s operation.


A term used to describe somebody who is not connected with any church at all. Often, people who are un-churched do not believe in God or the Bible and have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Many churches encourage un-churched people to attend their services and ask questions.

Unprogrammed Quaker/Unprogrammed Meeting

Unprogrammed Quakers tend to emphasize the Holy Spirit more than Jesus Christ. Unprogrammed meetings are based on the idea of “expectant waiting.” During unprogrammed worship services, Friends gather in a room — perhaps a living room or a conference room – and sit in silence. There is no pastor, no sermon, no music, and no announcements. People speak if they feel moved by divine guidance and inspiration, if they feel lead by the Holy Spirit to speak and share their thoughts with those gathered. Sometimes, many people will speak during the course of the service. Other times, nobody will feel moved to speak. The service may last for an hour or so. The service ends when an elder shakes hands with those who are seated nearby.


Friends worship in a variety of ways, stemming from our belief that we each have a personal relationship with God and that Jesus is always present. We don’t just worship at church on Sundays. We also consider meetings to discuss the business of the church and our faith-based lives outside the church building as forms of worship.

Worship Team

At Cherry Grove Friends Church, this is what we call our band. It is usually comprised of three to six members of the congregation who sing and play musical instruments at various times during the worship service.

Yearly Meeting

Friends churches of similar worship style and religious temperament organize themselves into a larger regional group referred to as a Yearly Meeting. Cherry Grove Friends Church is part of the Northwest Yearly Meeting, a group of Evangelical Friends churches throughout the Northwest. Yearly Meeting can also refer to the annual week-long conference held each summer of all the members of the larger regional group.