Worship bulletin: silence before service

I’m looking for texts used in church orders of service, so feel free to add variations.

Grace Reformed Church, UCC, Washington has printed in its worship bulletin a familiar injunction: “Kindly maintain a reverent silence prior to Worship Service. Thank you.” Some Unitarian Universalist churches make a oblique request by quoting Emerson, how he loved the quiet in church. I’ve been to others that say in so many words “We talk to God in worship and with each other afterwards.”

Have you seen other formulations? Does anyone have the Emerson quotation and its source?

6 Replies to “Worship bulletin: silence before service”

  1. Emerson said,”I like the quiet church best, before any preaching starts.”
    It was NOT meant as a thumbs-up for reverent quiet. He wrote the remark within the context of a scathing diatribe against Barzillai Frost’s Dullsville preaching. So it had a bit of the ole sarcasm to it.

    I’ll find the exact citation later.

  2. That’s terrible, but thanks for the context. Was it our friend Hank — perhaps someone else — who noted that Frost was a dull preacher but an excellent pastor? All which makes me want to slap (figuratively) Ralph the more. The chutzpah!

  3. You might want to go with the old Quaker saying, “Worship begins when the first person enters the Meeting Room.” Or you could just say, “shut the heck up!” 🙂

  4. in Methodist churches, ive seen the quote (and heard the refrain): “the Lord is in His Holy temple, let all the earth keep silence, before Him”

  5. According to the “Cambridge Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson” of Joel Porte and Saundra Morris (1999), Emerson’s 1837 critique of Barzillai Frost is published in the 16-volume “Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks” ed. William Gillman, HUP (1960-1982), in volume 5, pp.323-325. Parts of it were later used in the Divinity School Address of 1838. I expect that what PB has in mind can be found in one of these sources, but only she may know which.

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