In Bethel homes throughout the world, Morning Worship starts at 7 am sharp. In New York, there are closed-circuit televisions with a large digital clock display, including the seconds. Morning Worship takes place in the big dining rooms so you are given breakfast after, everyone has an assigned seat. Exactly at 7:00:00 AM, the Table Head begins morning worship. You are expected to be in your seat, not walking to your seat. If you wake up late, don't bother going downstairs, they don't want anyone interrupting Morning Worship.
You are also expected to be wearing a tie or at least a nice shirt if you are male, there are only a few that don't wear a tie, and many often wear a suit jacket. The sisters all wear dresses, no pants allowed. You are not supposed to rest your hands on your chin, I got counseled for that. I guess it was in a nice way, but I was told to look more awake.
Morning Worship is tied in to several dining rooms with about 300 in each one. The closed-circuit TV's are also tied into Wallkill, Patterson, and Canada I think three times per week now.
Morning Worship is a consideration of the Daily Text, with brothers selected beforehand to give a one-minute comment. Then the conductor gives his comments. It lasts till about 7:15. After a prayer, the food comes. All the tables are set for 10 people, with a Table Head, and a Table Foot, seniority makes the call. It is family style, with everyone taking a portion from the serving dishes. The Table Head decides which way the serving dishes go around the table. Everyone takes a little. If it is all eaten, the Table Head gives the plate back to the waiter, who refills it. No one can speak to the waiter except the Table Head.
The eating lasts about 15 minutes, then everyone quickly stands for the prayer, then rush off to work.
That's the arrangement.
The reality is that you are scared to death at Morning Worship. I have seen grown men who are new to Bethel struggle with napkins, basic table talk, and their food. It is nerve-wracking since there are rules (I mean provisions) about everything. How much you should take onto your plate, how much you should eat, how loud you should talk, how affectionate to your husband or wife you should be, how you should dress, what you should talk about and not talk about. The stress is incredible, although the weird thing is, I viewed it as a great privliege to be there, as only Bethelites and overnight guests can be present at Morning Worship.
Sometimes there are reports from different countries, or from the Publishing Department about the number of magazines or books made. Sometimes there is a disfellowshipping from Bethel, that is shocking.
But usually its pretty hard to listen to. I learned to sleep with my eyes open. (That's an old Bethel joke: "What do you learn at Morning Worship? To sleep with your eyes open.")