History of Raleigh Friends Meeting
625 Tower Street, Raleigh, NC 27607, (919) 821-4414

MEETING HISTORY

The Raleigh Monthly Meeting of Friends was formed by a small number of Friends in March 1926. The first meeting clerk was Charles G. Doak. In October, 1927, Meeting joined with the United Church of Raleigh. Many individual Friends maintained membership in both the Meeting and United Church. The two organizations, meantime, maintained separate identities and their own denominational ties. The Monthly Meeting became a member of the North Carolina Yearly Meeting.

For more than 40 years Raleigh Friends enjoyed joint fellowship and social action activities with the United Church. During this time, meetings for worship and business were held at varying times and places. The United Church today is known as Community United Church of Christ, a sister community of faith for Raleigh Friends.

Beginning in 1967, a renewed interest in an independent Meeting for Worship was felt among Friends. Sunday’s Meetings for Worship and discussion began to be held at the King Religious Center, at North Carolina State University, in January 1968. A program of worship and education developed for young Friends.

During this time of growth, Raleigh Friends initiated a number of social action causes including Raleigh Women’s Center, The Rape Crisis Center of Wake County, and Quaker House in Fayetteville. Friends participated in civil Rights marches, soup kitchen volunteers, and quiet neighborhood support and encouragement.

In the fall of 1969, the residence of the Charles Doak family at 120 Woodburn Road became available for use as a meeting center. Worship and discussion activities continued to grow in this setting--leading Friends to clarity about their next step—a new Meeting House.

Land was secured on Tower Street in the Oberlin Village community. Guidelines given to the architect included: to blend with this historic African American neighborhood; to serve as a place of worship, hospitality; and to offer learning and service from this new Meeting House.”

Spring of 1990 saw the new Meeting House dedicated in a Service of Worship for commitment and gratitude.

Today, active participation in Outreach and Community within Raleigh Meeting leads us to honor George Fox’s belief, “meeting that of God within one another.” (From an early Raleigh Friends Meeting publications, author unknown.)

EARLY CAROLINA QUAKERS

“In the fall of 1672 George Fox and William Edmondson made the trek through Dismal Swamp in southern eastern Virginia and came out at the site of the present town of Hertford, N.C., along the Perquimans River. The settlers were called together in what became the first service of Christian worship in Carolina Colony. So warm was the reception that Fox and Edmondson traveled about the region which is now the Albemarle County of N.C. for several days by canoe, visiting and sharing Truth as perceived by Friends.

The seeds of the Quaker faith were sown and how they took root and flourished! By the 1690’s John Archdale was the Quaker Governor of N.C. and a large percentage of the members of the Colonial Legislature were Friends. For all intents and purposes Carolina at this time could be called a Quaker colony.” (From NC Yearly Meeting, Friendly Newsletter, Vol.55, 1998)

RUFUS JONES SPEECH (MP3 format, 12 mbytes)

On February 9, 1942 Rufus Jones, a well-known Friend, came to Raleigh and spoke at United Church's Institute of Religion. Friends in Raleigh were at that time an integral part of United Church. Rufus Jones spoke mainly about the relief efforts led by American Quakers during and after World Wars I and II. An introduction is provided by Josephus Daniels. The recording is scratchy, but the humor and spirit of the talk are eternal. The original recording was made by Tartt Bell of the High Point office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Cassette copies were made in 1963. A cassette recording was converted to MP3 format in 2013.

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