The Ministry of the Stove: Silent Worship in a Quaker Meeting House

Silent worship in a Quaker meeting house where only the fire in the stove is heard. Directed by Finn and Katherine Yarbrough (

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The Quakers have historically worshipped outdoors or in public buildings and meeting houses, believing that God is in all people and places. Their meeting houses, also known as friends houses – simple structures that sprung up across the eastern United States as Quakers grew in numbers during the 18th and 19th centuries – are granted no special religious significance, and no sacred rituals are performed within them. They simply provide a sanctuary where Quakers can meet and worship in silence, speaking only occasionally when they believe the Holy Spirit has moved them to do so. Bringing us into the South Starksboro Friends Meeting House in Vermont, which has been used for worship since it was built in 1828, The Ministry of the Stove immerses us in this experience of silence punctuated only by the sounds of a crackling fire.

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