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First Word


From week to week, we enjoy different music leaders. As leaders change, so does the style of music.


Someone reads a passage of Scripture and a prepared message.

Open Worship

In the silence, we open ourselves to God's guidance. As we listen together, the Spirit may direct one of us to sing, speak or pray aloud.

Joys & Concerns

We believe God has called us to live in authentic community. Each week, we take time to share our lives with one another.

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What to Expect from First Word

Those who bring First Word allow us to glimpse what moves them -- what blesses, comforts, troubles, inspires, challenges, or puzzles them. This brief reflection sets the tone for worship: We're here to disclose where the Truth is touching our hearts, not to lecture one another about truth in the abstract.

If You Are Bringing First Word

We expect First Word to last 3-5 minutes. Those who need more time are urged to bring a message; A short message is preferable to a long First Word. Since most of us can read faster than we speak, please read your written remarks aloud for a more accurate sense of timing.

Please remember that children will be present when you speak. If you plan on addressing a sensitive topic, please let Mike know. Together, we can strategize about how to create the proper context for your First Word.

On Sunday morning, worship leaders gather at 9:50am, in the "ready room" behind our worship area. If you are bringing First Word on any given Sunday, please plan to join us!

view painting

Some prepared messages and "first words" are available as audio files. To see what's available, please visit our SoundCloud page.

Please see Mike if you'd like to schedule a date for bringing First Word.

If you enjoy reading these stories, you'll love our collective journal. Please visit Minding the Light.

First Word Archives

The Process (Alyss; 2014)
The experience of being called to speak.

A Year of Changes (Kevin; 2012)
Observing one year at WHF.

Immigration (Rachel; 2011)
Immigration and the family.

Relationships (Wilbur; 2011)
The example of a jigsaw puzzle.

The New Mom (Kara; 2009)
God's presence in the chaos of parenthood.

Kusa Trilogy (Charles; 2008)
A clever story about stories

Calculating Hunger (Summer; 2007)
Shopping with a limited budget.

The Precious Stone (Laurie S.; 2006)
Finding something of great worth.

Teaching Hunger (Anne Marie; 2006)
Teaching children about hunger.

The Faith of a Child (Shari; 2006)
Faith and curiosity in our children.

Quaker DNA (Tyra; 2006)
The Quaker ancestry of Tyra & Betty Lou.

Boxes and Community (Mitch; 2005)
Reappraising old assumptions.

Losing My Mom (Eric; 2005)
The "long slow demise of Alzheimer's."

Jesus in Palestine (Lorie W.; 2005)
A meaningful experience in Palestine.

A Short Story (Julie; 2004)
A story about miracles and risks.

Life of Prayer (Claire; 2003)
How life becomes a prayer.

The Tipping Point (KD; 2003)
Historical context for LGBTQ rights.

Speaking in Meeting (Mark G.; 2003)
Both speakers & listeners can benefit.

Exercise (Barbara; 2003)
Celebrating the gift of exercise.

Rollercoaster (Rich; 2003)
Acknowledging the limits of control.