What we're about
"NO PHILOSOPHY, NO RELIGION, NO CATCH - just peace, tranquillity and silence."
A SANCTUARY FROM ANOTHER AGE
It is recommended that we should give ourselves 30 minutes of silence per day. (http://omtimes.com/2012/10/the-health-benefits-of-silence-simple-yet-profound/) In 21st Century life, dominated by technology and deadlines, this can seem impossible. We provide a sanctuary every Friday evening, where you can drop in any time between 5.30 and 7.00, sit for as long as you want, and then leave whenever you like.
A SHARED SILENCE
The meeting room was purpose-built for silence. As soon as you enter, you will experience shared tranquillity and a momentary change in pace. Sitting down in an understated room, surrounded by those participating in the same activity, will make it easier to appreciate the rare quality of pure quiet.
THE NOT SO SILENT BENEFITS
There can be several benefits to making time for silence. It can lower blood pressure, make you feel happier, boost your immune system, reduce stress, increase productivity and reduce loneliness. All absolutely necessary for London city living.
MORE THAN AN AFTER THOUGHT
When you come away, you may feel refreshed, inspired, with a peaceful mind. What you take away from it is up to you. The only guarantee is that you will be able to retreat, relax, recharge & return every Friday.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
There will always be a volunteer from Drop-in Silence to greet you in the entrance gallery by the front door.
The volunteer will be able to answer any questions you may have, and will show you how to get to the Meeting Room where Drop-in Silence is held.
GUIDELINES to help you gain the most out of your experience
Please switch all your devices OFF or to SILENT before entering the Meeting Room. (Please do not set devices to vibrate, since this is still very loud in the silence.)
Please make any noisy adjustments (e.g. removing outer clothing, unzipping pockets) before entering.
Please enter quietly and sit down.
Please remain as silent as possible and do nothing to disturb others.
You may read or write, so long as this does not disturb those around you.
Please do not consume any food or drink (but there is usually a jug of water on the centre table for anyone with a tickly throat).
Please leave quietly and do not start talking until you are back in the entrance gallery by the front door.
Finally and most importantly:
We are all human - please try to remain serene if other people overlook any of these guidelines and, above all, please do not allow anything to spoil your enjoyment of Drop-in Silence!
AT THE END OF DROP-IN SILENCE
At about 7.00pm, one of the volunteers will indicate that Drop-in Silence is over by shaking hands. When you become aware of this, if you are comfortable doing so, you are invited to simply shake hands with the people around you.
Some people leave straight away; others remain to break the silence in the library.
There is step-free access from St Martins Lane to Drop-in Silence and to the accessible toilet.
LEGAL NOTICES, ETC.
There are never any 'surprise' fire drills: if you hear the alarm, please gather your immediate belongings and leave the building straight away.
There is a first aid kit in the kitchen, but Drop-in Silence volunteers are not trained to give first aid.
Sadly, thieves are known to operate in the West End on Friday evenings. Please take good care of your belongings.
Drop-in Silence cannot accept responsibility for any loss.
Drop-in Silence is only available to adults (i.e. over 18 years old).
Drop-in Silence reserves the right to refuse admission.
Westminster Quakers have agreed to open the Meeting House from 5.30pm till 7.00pm on Friday evenings as a way to reach out and share their unique silence in the heart of the West End with the wider community.
There has been a Quaker meeting in Westminster for over 350 years. During that time, members of the meeting have not only managed to purchase land and build a succession of Meeting Houses; they have also evolved a way of living that is centred on silence and peace. The present building was designed specifically for peace and silence when it was opened in 1956 after the old Meeting House had been destroyed by war-time bombing.
Drop-in Silence is being staffed by volunteers from Westminster Quakers and all the running costs and publicity are being paid for by donations from individual members.
Silence and peace are at the heart of Quaker life, and they want to share the benefits with others. There is no philosophy, no religion and no catch - just the chance to sit with others in shared silence.
For full details, please see: http://www.dropinsilence.org
Here is a video about the venue: