Patricia Newkirk

Service Length

30 minutes

Service Attendance


Sample Worshipper Dress

red pajamas, blanket

Throw Pillows

at least 7

Congregational Fervor

Conducted daily at 7:30 a.m., Capitol Hill Worship Group meetings take place in a cozy common room on the second floor of the William Penn House. Since the building functions primarily as a Quaker retreat center and crash pad for visiting peace activists, attendance fluctuates greatly depending on who’s in town. “Sometimes meetings have 40 people, sometimes only one or two,” says Newkirk.

Food for the Soul

In keeping with Quaker practices, morning meetings with the Capitol Hill Worship Group are largely silent. Attendants are welcome to speak their minds if so moved, but they otherwise maintain a state of silent contemplation. At a recent and particularly tranquil meeting, the group remained mum throughout the entire 30-minute duration. The proceedings wound down when one individual produced a book and began to read silently.

Food for the Body

Coffee was available for houseguests and worship participants.

Overall Worship Power

Newkirk admits that due to the unprogrammed nature of Quaker meetings, services can be hit-or-miss, but she attests that persistence yields great rewards. “I’ve been a Quaker for 12 years, and I don’t think I fully understood meeting for the first three or four,” she says. —Aaron Leitko